On the morning of 20 February 2012, the UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP) held an Opening Ceremony of the Postgraduate Courses on Building Resilience to Climate Change at UNU headquarters in Tokyo. The ceremony was attended by students enrolled in the courses, teaching and support staff, and invited guests (including representatives from a number of embassies and UN bodies).
The courses, which will run for five weeks, cover issues on sustainability and adaptation to climate and ecosystems change. The courses have been developed under the framework of the University Network for Climate and Ecosystems Change Adaptation Research (UN-CECAR), a joint initiative of more than 20 leading universities across Asia. UN-CECAR is committed to developing postgraduate educational and research programmes on climate and ecosystems change, adaptation and sustainability science.
To open the ceremony, Johanna Paula Diwa, a UNU-ISP Programme Associate, delivered a message on behalf of Vice-Rector Kazuhiko Takeuchi. Ms. Diwa provided the audience with the historical background to UNU’s academic programmes, including a brief outline of the postgraduate courses and the UN-CECAR framework. She noted that the courses are targeted towards young professionals, postgraduate students, NGO workers and staff of other agencies, and that the students of these courses “have demonstrated a strong potential to contribute to solving pressing global issues in their future careers”.
Dr. Srikantha Herath, Academic Director of UNU-ISP’s postgraduate programme, then provided further orientation on UNU-ISP’s activities and introduced the curriculum of the courses. Dr. Herath emphasized the need to develop “a holistic approach to problem solving by integrating knowledge and methods from different disciplines”, as this is the basis of sustainability science.
The final speaker was Dr. Janette Lindsay, the Committee Chair of UN-CECAR and a key player in the course development. Dr. Lindsay commented that much had been accomplished since the first UN-CECAR meeting in 2009, in which the grouping’s visions were first outlined. Seeing the students here attending the course, she said, “is enough of a concrete outcome for anyone to demonstrate the success of our initial ideas”.
Find more information about the courses here.