Summer Academies

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Click for GESA brochure

The Global Environments Summer Academy (GESA) is the cornerstone of the Global Environments Network. GESA provides emerging environmental leaders who are concerned about human dimensions of environmental challenges with networking opportunities, communication skills and a venue for cutting-edge, multidisciplinary reflection. The Academy was held in Munich in 2011 and 2012, with the collaboration of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, and in Bern between 2013 and 2015, in partnership with the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE). The Geneva-based Rolex Institute and The Salvia Foundation have provided generous support.

Over the five years, we hosted 96 emerging changemakers from 79 countries, selected from almost 1,500 applicants from 131 different countries. We have close to 2000 followers of our GEN Facebook page and over 15,000 unique visitors to our website in 2014. These summary statistics reveal the intense demand around the world for multidisciplinary peer-to-peer learning, networking and communication.

Every year the Academy focuses on different themes within the broad concern of human dimensions of global environmental change (see GESA Schedules & Sessions). 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, course convenors select 18-21 activists, professionals or students from around the world who have the capacity to become environmental leaders who impact academia, civil society, the private sector or government. Applications are invited from from 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.

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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 their creativity and its importance for their work with artists.

Read an overview for prospective participants, and about past and upcoming GEN events, including our summer academies.


Directed and produced by: 
Eda Elif Tibet, Inanç Tekgüç
Camera by: Inanç Tekgüç, Eda Elif Tibet, Ruth Krause, Silvia Forno
Music by: Nick Wilde, Caravan

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