Thursday, 19 July 2012

News from the Change Lab - Sustainable Development and Local Society

After 14 years, the development education summer school closes its doors. It is not a farewell, rather a goodbye!

A last successful summer school, gathered for 7 days some 100 participants, from 40 different countries, in Zvánovice, Czech Republic. The success is not only due to the participants, who made the discussions and the exchange actually possible, but also to the great organization managed by FoRS with the support of DEEEP, and all the people who got involved in this summer school (volunteers, rapporteurs, facilitators, experts, photograph, newsletter team…)

From 24 to 30 June 2012, the participants exchanged on how to engage local societies in sustainable development. Before the action there must be understanding, which is why participants could enjoy several presentations and talks by experts on various topics concerning sustainable development.

Susan George, provided the ground for reflection by giving the keynote speech, stressing the importance of local solutions to global problems in times of multiple crises. Jan Pokorný drew everybody’s attention to ways in which we can influence climate by beneficial water and land management. Petr Lebeda of Glopolis and Tobias Troll from DEEEP presented their views on the Rio+20 Summit that finished just before DESS 2012 and which they both attended.

This year the summer school organisers decided to introduce a series of new elements. Aside from the more traditional presentations and working groups asset, field visits to Czech NGOs and open space session allowed the participants to think out of the box, to sit together and discuss on specific issues. Participants created themselves a big centre of expertise and came up with topics such as „What is Southern Perspective?“, “Self-transforming – Changing the person in the Mirror” or more practical “Investing in Renewable Energy” or “How to make DE financially sustainable”. Two graphic harvesters translated in drawing the main discussions of the week, and presented the final drawing during the closing session.

Participants left the summer school with some food for thoughts, new friends, new potential partners to develop joint projects and reflections around sustainable development. Though they all live in different parts of the world, far from each other, the online platform prepared for them, as well as the facebook group created shall ease the communication and exchange between them.

DEEEP is now finalizing the evaluation of the summer school, and will prepare a set of recommendations to be considered when planning further capacity building events.
It may have been the last summer school under this format, but the future holds new projects, new trainings and further peer learning. It is not the end, just the beginning of a new era!

Reports of the working group, final evaluation and further documents will be available on the DEEEP website soon.

Maurice, one participant of the summer school, prepared an interesting podcast, on sustainable development. Listen the podcast here.

In the photo: participants of the DESS 2012

Information provided by Chiara Tripepi (, DEEEP and Tereza Rejšková, FoRS – Czech Forum for Development Cooperation

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