Global Environments Summer Academy

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The Global Environments Summer Academy (GESA) takes place annually under the auspices of the Global Diversity Foundation (GDF) and the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE). The Academy is designed to broaden and deepen the knowledge, networking, and communication skills of postgraduate students, professionals, and activists who are concerned about human dimensions of environmental challenges.

Every year the Academy focuses on different themes within the broad concern of human dimensions of global environmental change. It spans local to global scales, diverse ecosystems, and all geographical regions, exploring the most critical contemporary environmental issues from multiple perspectives including biocultural diversity, environmental history, political ecology, sustainability studies, and personal activism.

From hundreds of applicants every year, the course convenors select 18–21 activists, professionals, or students from around the world who have the potential to become environmental leaders that will impact academia, civil society, the private sector, or government. Applicants are English-fluent candidates in the arts and humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences, as well as those working in advocacy, law, media, or policy, who focus on the relationship between environment and society.

Accompanied by international and multidisciplinary resource people, participants are mentored as they expand their understandings of policy, develop their academic insight and competence, transcend their disciplinary and place-based boundaries, and enhance their advocacy skills. Practical experience is a founding principle of GESA: participants gain expertise in policy matters as they engage with leading policy-makers; acquire skills in research design, fieldwork methods and data analysis with support from seasoned field researchers; develop their academic acumen in close collaboration with leading scholars; and explore the value of creativity with artists.

GESA resource persons include outstanding academics, professionals, artists, and activists who together represent an extraordinary diversity of backgrounds and experiences. To ensure continuity in mentoring and to allow personal relationships to develop organically, resource persons usually participate in GESA for at least one week, some even staying for the entire duration of the course.