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The DofE in the UK is proud to be a member of the International Award Association.



News of the introduction of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in the UK soon spread abroad.  In response to their requests, a few Service and other English-language schools overseas were allowed to make a start on the programme.

As the DofE became more widely known, the trickle of enquiries from overseas became a steady stream.  In response to this demand, Major-General Dimoline, then Secretary to the British Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, was appointed as Secretary for Overseas Organisations on a part-time basis.

This worldwide development had depended almost entirely on the resources made available by the DofE’s Trustees in London from funds derived from within the UK.

By the end of the 1970s, the DofE was rapidly expanding under the guidance of the DofE’s Overseas Department. In the United States, the Congressional Award, based on the same principles as The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, was launched in 1980. 

Agreement was reached amongst participating countries on four principles as being essential to the philosophy and structure of any programme within the DofE network, anywhere in the world, to qualify as the same Award:

  • The voluntary nature of participation by young people.
  • The age range of participants.
  • The basic structure of the programme to comprise four mandatory sections and three levels of programme.
  • The time requirements laid down for completion of each DofE programme.

The first International Forum was held in 1982 in Edinburgh, attended by delegates from 19 different countries.  The International Award Office was re-designated the International Secretariat, to be headed up by David Newing, taking over from Loftus Peyton-Jones.  In 1988 the International Award Association was established to oversee programmes globally.


Today there are over 850,000 participants globally, doing their DofE in 132 countries.  The basic programme remains the same, even if it is known by many different names under the banner of the International Award Association.  There have been over 8 million participants since 1956 and 3,359,589 Awards achieved.

Find out more about the International Award Association and the programmes running in the different countries.

International forum

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Earl of Wessex with representatives from over 120 countries who run the DofE at the International Forum in Edinburgh, 2006.