Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society

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Global Environments Summer Academy (GESA) (2011–2012)

The Global Environments Summer Academy (GESA) was a collaboration between the RCC and the Global Diversity Foundation that began in 2011; the summer academies in 2011 and 2012 were hosted in Munich. Between 2013 and 2015, the academies were hosted in partnership with the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) in Bern, Switzerland. GESA was designed to broaden and deepen the knowledge, networking, and communication skills of postgraduate students and professionals who are concerned about human dimensions of environmental challenges.

GESA focused on human dimensions of global environmental change, ranging from community management practices and institutions to planetary processes. It spanned local to global scales in exploring the most critical contemporary environmental issues from the perspectives of biocultural diversity studies, environmental history and sustainability science. 

In promoting a transdisciplinary approach, the course combined a variety of learning modes such as lectures, round-table discussions, small group work, student presentations and hands-on exercises. Participants gained literacy in policy matters and acquired skills in research design, fieldwork methods and data analysis related to documenting local environmental knowledge and community institutions.

Designed for advanced Masters and PhD students, the Academy was highly collaborative and interactive, allowing the international and multidisciplinary group of participants to work closely with faculty and each other.