Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Networking Higher Education around Environmental Issues

March 13, 2011

Over several years, the Luce Foundation supported a major initiative to engage higher education in extending experiential learning, management approaches, and international and interdisciplinary capacities to address local and global environmental issues. The Watson Institute was one of an original set of grant recipients, but it was also home to their final assembly in November 2010.
 
Viewed individually, each project was exceptional. One can appreciate the full array by going to www.luceenvironment.org to see not only brief descriptions, but to hear accounts of each project delivered at the Watson gathering using the latest Pecha Kucha presentation format.
 
The Institute's own past work with the Watson International Scholars of the Environment is presented by Africana Studies Associate Professor Nancy J. Jacobs, who now co-leads Watson's related research project on Assessing Environmental Knowledge Flows and their Media along with Institute Director Michael Kennedy and J. Timmons Roberts, director of Brown's Center for Environmental Studies.

In the November conference organization and its subsequent virtual life, Watson delivered one of its major distinctions: a commitment to understand how knowledge networks and new media combine most effectively to address critical global issues in policy and practice.
 
The network produced by the Luce Foundation awards and represented in this website extends learning on some of the most critical issues facing higher education in addressing its planetary responsibilities. How can knowledge institutions put sustainability at the heart of both their curriculum and their practice? How can these institutions forge collaborations that not only produce critical scholarship but innovations in environmental policy that travel across global contexts? And how might, through these scholarly interventions, new publics be forged around ecosystems that connect life across cultural, institutional, and political divides?
 
“One can find many other powerful questions in the rich set of issues addressed by this assembly’s grant recipients,” said Kennedy. “And I see not only innovative scholars at work, but a larger challenge produced: we need to understand far better how philanthropic organizations and knowledge institutions can combine to move scholarship across disciplines, institutions, and interests to engage the most important issues of our time. The network made by Luce is one critical place to start.”