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The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award was founded in 1956 by HRH Prince PhilipKurt Hahn, a German educationalist, and Lord Hunt, leader of the first successful ascent of Everest. The idea was born in response to their concerns about the development of boys post World War II, due to the gap between leaving school at 15 and entering National Service at 18.

Although initially only available to boys aged between 14 and 18, there was great demand for a similar scheme for girls, and this was launched in September 1958. The Award continued to evolve over subsequent decades until 1980 when the upper age limit was extended to 25, and the Award took on its current four-Section format of: Service, Adventurous Journey, Skills and Physical Recreation.

Today, the Award is delivered in more than 130 countries worldwide, reaching over one million young people annually. It has expanded to target those who have not previously had opportunities to develop themselves, including young offenders, refugees and those with disabilities. The impact of the Award on many of these young people continues to be extraordinary.

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