Our Global Environments Summer Academies (GESA), the cornerstone of our Network, provide 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.

Each Summer Academy focuses on different themes within the broad concern of human dimensions of global environmental change (see GESA 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.

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.

GESA was held in Munich in 2011 and 2012, in collaboration with the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, and in Bern between 2013 and 2015, in partnership with the Centre for Development and Environment. The most recent summer academy was held in Oxford in 2018, in collaboration with the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute and Interdisciplinary Centre for Conservation Science.

Due to the global pandemic, we were forced to postpone GESA 2020 and will shortly begin GESA 2022.

See GESAs over the yearsCheck out the programme for GESA 2022

Where have all our environmental leaders gone?

Gary Martin, GEN Founder and Advisor, poses this question, sharing the vision he had for GESA when it first launched in 2011. What happens when you bring together activists, professionals and students from diverse academic and professional backgrounds who have the capacity to impact academia, civil society, the private sector and government?

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