Food waste, the 'main course' of the World Challenges Programme expands to South Africa
Institutional Communication Service
Launched in 2017 as an elective course for Master's students of all Faculties at USI, the World Challenges Programme (WCP) now offers a new opportunity for students enrolled at USI to study internationally: Tackling World Challenges South Africa. The interest in the proposed topics, especially how food can be produced (and consumed) more sustainably, and the teaching approach based on interdisciplinary group projects have led to a further development of the programme: studying Food System Transitions. In addition to the Stockholm School of Economics (Sweden) and the Hanken School of Economics (Finland), there is now a new academic partner, the Sustainability Institute (SI) in Lynedoch, Western Cape, South Africa, where students can spend 10 days during July, before applying their acquired knowledge back in Ticino – a true application of South-North Learning.
"We are typically oversubscribed by 300-400%. The success of the program is due, on the one hand, to the relevance of the topics proposed - the global challenges for sustainable development - and, on the other hand, to the opportunity we offer to students to integrate an international experience on the level of their courses (rather than spending the usual exchange semester abroad)," explains Michael Gibbert, professor of Marketing at the USI Institute of Marketing and Communication Management (IMCA, Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society) and scientific director of the WCP. "The training approach is that of the interdisciplinary (and inter-university) group project, which enables interaction and exchange of ideas and leads to new thinking and developing different ways to approach these challenges, and therefore create opportunities for knowledge transfer between practitioners, academics, students, and the public through a variety of actions".
True to the spirit of inter-disciplinary approaches to tackling the world’s major problems, the elective course is being developed at USI across its Faculties, from the perspective, for instance, of economists, architects, communication experts and more [see the selection of news items is available in the Quicklinks section of this page]. As for the WCP, with the addition of the Sustainability Institute, the elective course "Tackling World Challenges" now offers the possibility to study and work on these issues in four different countries - and two continents: Switzerland, South Africa, Sweden and Finland. "Tackling World Challenges is an elective course for Master and PhD students at USI, Stockholm School of Economics (Sweden) and Hanken School of Economics (Finland)," explains Lisa Märcz, PhD student and teaching assistant at the USI Faculty of Communication, Culture and Society. "During a full academic semester, students will address the so-called "wicked problems" of today’s societies and acquire skills and knowledge about the sustainability goals of the United Nations, through field projects, interdisciplinary research, intercultural relations and marketing applications on global problems".
Tackling World Challenges Scandinavia and South Africa
At WCP's academic partners, students will address the increasingly current issue of food sustainability, which is currently the main topic of the program. For spring 2021 students from Helsinki and Lugano will work on food waste and in particular on the consumption of meat and its substitutes. In South Africa, on the other hand, course participants will collaborate with the Sustainability Institute during July 2021 on the subject of Food System Transitions.
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