Germany, Berlin

Global Challenges - Sustainable Futures

when 23 July 2016 - 20 August 2016
duration 4 weeks
credits 4 ECTS
fee EUR 900

The course introduces students to the politics, ethics, and governance of sustainability. The key challenges of our time are global by nature. However, the current system of global governance based on sovereign states (often in competition with each other) is ill-equipped to meet challenges such as poverty, climate change, environmental degradation and availability of resources. As states cannot on their own provide for a sustainable future of their citizens, they are increasingly forced into a logic of sustainability for all people and responsibility for the global commons. This new logic is grounded on the scientific truth of planetary boundaries, but equally on ethical requirements (e.g. caring for the Earth).

The course examines major current global challenges divided into economic, political and environmental issues. In the second part of the course the main existing and potential solutions to these problems will be discussed. During the discussions in class and field trips we will try to find out why these solutions have not been implemented so far and what is needed to make our global society more sustainable, especially in economic and environmental terms. Thus, we will also analyze the current system of international treaties with their normative principles (sovereignty, equality, human rights) and institutions (governments, international organizations, civil society). Special focus will be put on the role of the United Nations as an organization whose goal has been to prevent and solve major global issues. We will try to find out to what degree the UN was effective and successful in fulfilling this mission. We will also take a look at the Earth Charter and analyze to what degree it shows the direction in which our global community should develop.

Course leader

Dr. Andrzej Ancygier

Target group

The course is designed for students with different academic backgrounds and a general interest in sustainability and sustainable development. There are no special prerequisites for the course.

Credits info

Attendance and class participation: 40%
Test: 30%
Presentation: 30%

Fee info

EUR 900: Tuition
EUR 250: Program fee