The Award was founded in 1956 by Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth of the UK and Duke of Edinburgh, together with Kurt Hahn, a German educationalist and renowned promoter of experiential education, and Lord Hunt, leader of the first successful ascent of Mount Everest. In the Czech Republic it started spreading in the year 1995.
After the Second World War there was a growing concern about the development of boys, due to the gap between leaving school at 15 and entering National Service at 18. That is when HRH the Duke of Edinburgh got the idea of informal education programme that would empower the youth and motivate young people to actively use their leisure time.
He designed the programme together with Kurt Huhn on the basis of experiential education and introduced it in 1956 under the name "The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award". Sir (later Lord) John Hunt was appointed the first programme's Director.
The word "international" was added to the programme's name in 1980 due to the fact that the programme had quickly spread throughout the world. Already in 1975 the number of participants reached one million, and in 1989 the limit of two million participants was exceeded. This year, the statistics show that more than eight million young people in more than 140 countries worldwide participated in the program.
In the Czech Republic The Award started to grow in te year 1995. It was brought to our country by Lady Abrahams, a golf champion of Czechoslovakia between the two world wars. So naturally there are thousands of successful participants of the programme in the Czech Republic.