Addressing the global challenges of the 21st century requires careful consideration, detailed analysis at the regional and local level, and an interdisciplinary lens. The course ‘Global Challenges, Local Action’ aims to increase awareness of the urgency to address these challenges at multiple scales. This year, students from the GCLA course presented their analysis and possible solutions during a YouTube live interview.
The course consists of two elements: a set of keynote lectures that introduced internationally recognized global challenges and project-based investigation where a global issue is analyzed more in-depth. There were almost one hundred students from different countries around the world. “The course provided an excellent platform for understanding the real-world problems and guided us towards finding a local action”, says student Abhishek Mishra.
“This year we wanted to share the achievements of our students”, says Sherif Amer. To do so we implemented a ‘best project challenge’ in which the most insightful project was selected in each topic. The selection was made by students and staff using the same evaluation criteria. The groups that performed best during the GCLA course presented their analysis and possible solution to a challenge related to one of these topics: Urbanization, Geo-health, Coastal zones, Food security, and Energy transitions. The project groups with the best presentation were asked to give a ten-minute interview which was live-streamed via YouTube. Karin Pfeffer and Carmen Anthonj were present to interview our students.
“We found the idea of a live YouTube interview to be exciting”, says Mishra. The interview was conducted according to the COVID regulations, only two members were allowed for the interview. "But we liked the idea of inclusion of all members through an introduction video. The questions asked during the interview were carefully crafted, which allowed us to self-reflecting on our work."
Abhishek Mishra further adds: "What is of more importance is that we could spread the word and reach a larger group of people. Live streaming also provides an opportunity to the students and others outside the Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation. This way more people get to see more of the different integrated programs and modules we follow, how we address real-world problems and challenges. I find it important to show others how these studies and group work helps to mitigate problems at a local level.” Within the GCLA course, Abhishek Mishra formed a Geo-Health group with Srikumar Sastry, Maliheh Ghorbanzadeh, Niloofar Layegh Nikravesh and Tanzim Tamanna Afroz. Their project is called “Designing Local Action Strategies to Mitigate Malaria Using Geo-Spatial Tools in Rwanda”.