Global Environments Summer Academy 2015 concluded on 14 August 2015, successfully completing our fifth summer academy. 504 candidates applied from 94 countries. Following an intensive selection process, 21 participants joined GESA from all over the world: 5 from Africa, 3 from Asia, 5 from Europe, 5 from Latin America and the Caribbean, and 3 from Northern America. These individuals collectively speak some 31 languages and come from diverse disciplines with exceptional academic backgrounds and broad practical experiences. They clearly possess the potential to become future environmental leaders.
GESA 2015 once again opened with a 2-day Salvia Goethe Dynamic Engagement Retreat in the Swiss Alps. The learning community that emerged from the retreat was engaged, self-reflective and mutually supportive. It enabled considered and critical dialogue throughout the remaining GESA sessions, which included plenary lectures, roundtables, practical workshops, and field trips.
GESA evolves every year. In keeping with this tradition, the 2015 edition retained the strongest elements of previous academies while introducing innovations. As in previous years, the academy placed particular emphasis on honing communication of environmental solutions through the development and presentation of TED-style talks and the much-loved video communications workshop. Novel elements this year included plenary lectures from Alastair McIntosh, a Scottish writer, academic and activist who spoke on spiritual activism and Ashish Kothari, founder-member of the Indian environmental group Kalpavriksh, who spoke on environmental justice. They also joined forces for a dialogue on spiritual activism.
Read what participants had to say about their GESA 2015 experience in the full version of this article, as reported in our 21 at 2015 summer academy join growing global network on transformative action GlobalGiving update.