GESA 2018


Global Environments Summer Academy (GESA) 2018


GESA 2018 will be held in Oxford (UK), in collaboration with the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute (ECI) and Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science (ICCS), between 25 July and 11 August 2018. Under the leadership of Dr. Gary J. Martin, the Founder of Global Diversity Foundation and Director of the Global Environments Network, academic and community professionals from diverse backgrounds will be invited to share their current perspectives and practical work, and to learn from one another. Different resource people will join us throughout the academy to share their expertise and interact with participants.

Academy convenors will select 18-21 activists, professionals or students from around the world whom they believe have the capacity to become environmental leaders who impact academia, civil society, the private sector and government. We invite applications from 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. Applicants should be fluent in English and have at least a Master’s degree, although we make exceptions for individuals with undergraduate degrees who have significant experience in relevant fields.

The call for applications can also be downloaded as a PDF document.


What is being planned for GESA 2018?

GESA evolves every year, and in keeping with this tradition the 2018 edition will retain some elements of previous academies while introducing innovations, including:

  • A three-stage academy: As usual, the academy kicks off with a 3-day ‘Dynamic Engagement’ retreat in a countryside location. As of 2018, it will be followed by a 10-day intensive academy at University of Oxford. The novelty is that GESA is now concluded with a 5-day Practical Retreat during which participants will be given space, tools and mentorship to realise projects or launch initiatives that inspire them. Potential project ideas will be discussed with mentors in advance of and during GESA to ensure the best possible support for project ‘incubation’ during the retreat.
  • A focus on OptimismInspired by the recent Conservation Optimism Conference held in London in April 2017, and in collaboration with conference co-organisers the ICCS, GESA 2018 will hold sessions that help build the movement that inspires transformation through hope, optimism and opportunity.

Although the programme is still being developed, here are a few elements currently under consideration:

  • Courageous Conversations workshop where participants build their capacity to reflect on their workplace relationships and invite them to initiate transformative conversations with leaders, figures of authority and team members in their daily working lives.
  • How to survive the future: green-growth, transition and alternative economics, a dialogue and learning session led by leading scholars in the sustainability sciences, will explore cutting-edge research, providing a venue for debate about how to achieve sustainability.
  • Theatre of Transformation is a catalytic artform weaving real-life testimonies, poetry, music, dance and visual art, to activate our human potential and creative capacity to reshape our shared future.
  • Video-making for beginners is a tried-and-tested 1.5 day workshop led by a dynamic young team of videographers that turns everyone into a video-maker, no matter their background.
  • Harnessing the power of society for change will explore, with the help of Oxford University academics and field science projects, how citizen science initiatives can harness the intellectual energy of society at large to generate change.
  • How to build a communications campaign is a communications workshop that will use participants’ own projects as case studies to develop skills and strategies for building a sustainable and wide-reaching environmental communications campaign.
  • Spiritual Activism dialogue between eminent elders who have spent their lives balancing spiritual wellbeing with activism and advocacy for a better world. GESA’s emerging changemakers, who are learning how to tread that path, will witness and participate.
  • The Work that Reconnects is an active 4-step empowerment process – of Coming from Gratitude, Honoring our Pain for the World, Seeing with New Eyes, and Going Forth – that builds motivation, creativity, courage and solidarity for transition to a sustainable world.
  • Rewilding and making peace with the Anthropocene in which we explore the sometimes controversial concept of rewilding, not only as a process of bringing ecosystems back to life, but also bringing humans and their societies back to life through a renewed connection with nature.
  • Food Sovereignty and Agro-ecology roundtable and field visits to some exciting new initiatives in the City of Oxford. Moving beyond the ideological debates, we will explore the complex trade-offs between the environmental, social and economic outcomes of potential “solutions” to the food and agriculture crisis.
  • And much more…

A detailed schedule for the academy will be shared a few months prior to the event.

And for some insight into how GESA might impact participants’ lives, see our new impact page!



The course fee for the summer academy is €2500 inclusive of registration, accommodation, tuition, field trips, insurance and materials, but excluding local and international travel, meals and other living costs. We estimate that participants will need a minimum of €30 a day for local living costs. Participants are expected to independently secure funding to cover all expenses through academic scholarships, crowdsourcing, personal funds, employer support, government grants or travel grants. A few partial fee waivers may be available, based on demonstrated need.


Important dates

There is a two-stage application process for GESA 2018. All applicants who filled in the online form by the deadline of 31 March 2018 were notified of the results of the first stage of the process by 5 April 2018. Finalists were invited to the second stage during which they were asked for additional information, including any demonstrated need for a partial fee waiver. A final selection of 18-21 participants was completed by 1 June 2018.

  • 10 January 2018 – 31 March 2018: GESA 2018 stage 1 application period
  • 5 April 2018: All applicants informed of the results of the stage 1 application, including finalists who proceeded to stage 2
  • 20 May 2018: End of stage 2 of the application process, including fee waiver requests
  • 1 June 2018: Final selection of participants
  • 15 June 2018: Participants informed of any fee waiver
  • 30 June 2018: Deadline for payment of the academy fee
  • 25 July – 11 August 2018: Global Environments Summer Academy 2018

You can support this initiative by liking the Global Environments Network Facebook page, contributing to our GlobalGiving fundraising campaign or donating directly to the Global Diversity Foundation.

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