Environmental research becomes more visible thanks to new database
Business and environmental education, non-voting “votes” for foreigners, teacher training in int’l education part of the action
Geneva and Bern, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) - Researchers worldwide will now be able to connect more easily with Swiss researchers in environmental studies thanks to a new database hosted by the Federal Office for the Environment. The database, officially online as of Monday 8 November, regroups more than 1,000 projects at 10 universities, the two EPFs (polytechnic institutes in Lausanne and Zurich), 7 specialized graduate schools and 30 private and public institutions involved in the field. The publicly available information can be searched by institution, canton or research area (or by key words) in English, French, German and Italian.
Geneva’s Graduate Institute opens new international environmental centre
One of the newcomers to the group is the Graduate Institute’s Centre for International Environmental Studies (CIES) in Geneva, launched 3 November with a packed house at the opening day lecture.
The new centre is under the direction of Timothy Swanson, who was previously on the faculties of economics at Cambridge University and University College London. His research focuses on environmental governance in China, European Union water management as well as intellectual property rights and biotechnology regulation.
The new centre will “will offer fresh energy to the Institute’s contribution to environmental studies by applying a social science based approach to the problems of global environmental governance and incorporating the Institute’s unique interdisciplinary combination of legal, economic and political perspectives,” the Graduate Institute says on its web site.
A series of public lectures will be part of the centre’s work, in addition to research. “The Geneva Dialogues” will focus on specific topics each year, with this year’s theme “The future of global climate change governance after Copenhagen”.
In other Swiss higher education news this week:
Bern and Fribourg universities give foreigners a non-voting chance to be heard
A new online programme to give foreigners in Switzerland a chance to voice their views, albeit without having a vote, is the brainchild of Bern University of Applied Sciences in partnership with Fribourg University and the Swiss E-Voting Competence Center, reports swissinfo. Baloti, in 11 languages, allows foreigners to vote on the site on the same issues that Swiss citizens will consider at the polls, and it provides straightforward basic information about the political system and voting.
IMD and WWF marry business education and environmental concern
IMD and WWF recently held a meeting for IMD faculty and other interested groups to explain how a new partnership will work that brings together one of Europe’s top-ranking business schools and what is arguably the world’s leading environmental organization. Michael Yaziji of IMD in Lausanne and Carolina Moeller of the WWF’s international head office in Gland introduced the programme that will run its first sessions in March 2011 under the title “One Planet Leaders”. Yaziji told the faculty group that for years he has fended questions about the unlikely marriage of business, which is designed to make profits, and increasingly tough environmental standards. He recently wrote that “failing to meet these standards can significantly damage the business’s brand. However, maintaining these high standards is expensive, which in turn makes it difficult to compete on price against businesses based in these lower-standard countries, which don’t face the same degree of social scrutiny as Western-brand multinationals.”
The new joint programme focuses on “developing a winning business case and robust strategy for change, leading to sustainable practices which also deliver more profit to the company” IMD explains on its web site. It is “designed for leaders who operate at a strategic level and can drive change, and is open to managers in business functions such as general management, R&D, procurement/supply, marketing and sales, and in sustainability functions.”
International education teacher training through joint Swiss-UK programme underway
The Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (International), a new project in Geneva and England to train primary and secondary teachers in international education, has completed its first year and applications are open to 22 November for new students. The programme is offered jointly by the International School of Geneva and Durham University in the UK.
Shireen Ali-Khan, who spotted information about the programme on GenevaLunch a year ago, was one of the first batch of students in the year-long programme. She told GenevaLunch, “Having seen the PGCE International course article on the Geneva Lunch website, I rushed to meet the application deadline in the 11 days that I had to submit all the documents. A first-of-its-kind programme, the course is proving to be an amazing opportunity for teaching practice in an international setting. Professors from one of the top universities in the UK are invited to lecture, and access to the finest libraries in the UK and Switzerland lay the backdrop for the kind of research and innovative teaching that the course demands.” Ali-Khan says that the first group was diverse, but “a strong bond has developed in the short time we have been together, a bond that will no doubt be there as we go through the programme and into our various experiences afterwards.”