Two new courses for Fall 2011

The United Nations University Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP) and the UNU Media Centre are inviting applications for two certificate courses on (1) Disaster Management and Humanitarian Affairs (DMHA) and (2) Climate Energy and Food Security (CEFS). See the course announcement here.


A total of 14/15 “once-a-week” class sessions will be conducted from September 2011 to  December 2011/January-2012.


Course participants should commit themselves to visit UNU Media Centre once a week (from 13:00 to 15:00 hrs) to receive the lectures and participate in interactions offered during the entire Course period. The certificate will be awarded to those who successfully complete the coursework assignments and maintain an 80% attendance rate.


Send the following required documents via email to:  (for DMHA Course)  OR  (for CEFS Course).

1.       Your CV (maximum 3-4 pages) with a recent passport photo.

2.       One-page cover letter justifying your interest in the course and its relevance in your present work and future endeavors.

3.      One relevant publication (if any).


Applications should reach us latest by 1 September 2011 (for DMHA Course)    OR  16 September 2011 (for CEFS Course).


Upon acceptance, successful candidates will be required to pay a tuition fee of 20,000 JPY for the course.


At the moment, these courses are only offered to students or professionals who can commute to the UNU campus in Tokyo. There are no fellowships, travel support, or assistance available for attending this course.

You are kindly requested to share this announcement with your colleagues, networks, staff members, interns, academic associates, and disseminate through mailing lists, newsletters, etc.

by Brendan Barrett on August 29, 2011 - Comments (00)  

Our World 2.0 wins another award

interactive_silver_17-1Our World 2.0, the UN’s leading environmental web magazine, won the Award of Distinction in the Green/Eco-Friendly category of the 2011 Communicator Awards.

There were a total of 6,000 entries to the awards this year, organized by the International Academy of Visual Arts, making it one of the largest programme of its kind.

This is the fourth award for Our World 2.0, following on the 2008 Weblog award for the best designed blog, the 2009 Society for New Communications Research Excellence Award in the category of new media creation in the academic division and the 2009 Earth Journalism Awards (Honorary Mention).

by Brendan Barrett on June 2, 2011 - Comments (00)  

Take it or Teach it: OpenED Course on Business and Management Competencies

The openED course from the United Nations University on “Business and Management Competencies in a Web 2.0 world” will start on April 26th 2011 in its 2nd edition!

openED is a FREE/OPEN course targeting business students and practitioners alike. The course consists of 10 modules allowing participants to choose the individual modules they are interested in. This is to say that you can either take all of the 10 modules, or just those ones that you are interested at.

openED offers something to all: You can either take it or teach it.

The 2nd edition of the openED course comes with updated course contents and improved guidance & navigation! Based upon the comprehensive feedback we received from 1st edition course participants all of the course contents, guides and navigation have been carefully reviewed and improved!

The  openED course now provides educators around the globe with the opportunity to offer individual / extra services to course participants, such as In-class lessons, private virtual support or marked assessment and accreditation / certification. Educators can choose to offer such extra services against “fee” of for “free”.

For more information please see the attached flyers or visit the course website at

by Brendan Barrett on March 31, 2011 - Comments (00)  

A sustainable future for the Mekong Delta region?

The UNU Media Studio was invited to attend the ProSPER.Net (Promotion of Sustainability in Postgraduate Education and Research) Young Researchers’ School in Ho Chi Minh City recently. ProSPER.Net is a network of higher education institutes in Asia and the Pacific, convened by the UNU Institute of Advanced Studies in Yokohama, working to integrate Sustainable Development into postgraduate courses and curricula.

Hosted by the RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) Vietnam campus, the purposes of the workshop were to “enhance the understandings of all participants in a range of key imperatives for sustainable development” and  “build research capacity in sustainable development within and across universities of the Asia- Pacific region.” The 15 or so emerging scholars received training on how to communicate their sustainability-related research to academic and wider audiences including through articles for Our World 2.0.

Sustainability, whatever that means

‘Sustainability’ and the phrase ’sustainable development’ would have to be two of the least defined, and most over-used terms in the English language. And although sharing local experiences about sustainability can be fruitful, discussions rarely give us a sense of the true costs and benefits of economic development models.

To their credit, the RMIT organisers arranged a bus tour of the burgeoning South Saigon Urban Development.The multi-million dollar partnership between Vietnamese authorities and construction companies from countries like Taiwan, Japan and China is a reflection of HCMC’s growing wealth and internationalisation. Office towers and high-rise apartments, new roads and utilities are being built on what was previously paddy fields and swamp land.

HCMC is predicted to experience significant sea-level rises as a result of climate change and also house an expanded population of 25 million by 2050. Therefore serious road, public transport, housing and disaster mitigation infrastructure will need to be developed to alleviate the problems of an already overcrowded and polluted city. But is a South Saigon development model catering to Vietnam’s elite and international investors sustainable? With no major accompanying public transport initiative underway, inhabitants will be living the high-octane automobile-dependent lifestyles of people in developed countries and increasingly, developing world megacities.

Good morning Starbucks

Beyond sustainability, what really struck me about these developments was how much of a Vietnamese character they lacked, especially in comparison to the uniquely Vietnamese hustle and bustle of HCMC.  Like growth-hubs in many Asian megacities, there is a predictable replication of western-style gated unit blocks, sterile thoroughfares, McStarbucks food joints and high-end fashion and shopping facilities. That is what attracts the developers and grows an economy, they tell us.

Japan resident Pico Iyer writing about Tokyo recently said that:

“Now that Shanghai looks in parts like Beverly Hills, and Delhi is lighting up with Thai restaurants, there are few cities on the planet that are less Western than Tokyo…”

Perhaps Tokyo’s uniquely Japanese feel is an exception? Or perhaps the underlying Vietnamese character of modern HCMC will shine through as time goes by? Overall, I get the feeling that such economic developments dependent on international contractors have little incentive to reflect both local culture and sustainability, however you define the them.

by Mark Notaras on November 14, 2010 - Comments (00)  

The Minature Earth

We just need to keep sharing this video with as many people as possible.

by Brendan Barrett on September 12, 2010 - Comments (01)  

Apply for two short courses at the UNU

UNU Short CoursesTwo courses on (1) Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance (DMHA) and (2) Climate Change, Energy and Food Security (CEFS) will be offered by the United Nations University in the 2010 Fall Semester.  These are electives to the Masters in Sustainability Science, Peace and Development and can be taken by non-degree students (i.e. students not enrolled in the masters programme). The courses are taught in English, and bring together teaching faculty from a network of universities in the Asia Pacific region via video-conference and online learning.

The DMHA classes will commence on 21 September 2010 and will continue every Tuesday until 28 December 2010 for 15 sessions. The CEFS classes will begin on 1 October 2010 and continue every Friday for 15 sessions.

Each session is one and a half hours in length from 13:00-14.30. In the Tokyo, the classes are hosted in the UNU Media Studio located on the ground floor of the United Nations University.

How to apply: The deadline for applications is 17 September 2010. Please send your CV (maximum 3-4 pages), one-page write-up justifying your interest in the courses and their relevance in your future endeavor, and one relevant publication (if any). Please indicate which course you would like to apply for as either DMHA or CEFS (or both).

Please note that we receive high number of applications from highly qualified candidates every year. The review and selection process may involve short telephone interview (please provide a direct telephone and/or mobile number on the cover letter).  Following this, only the selected candidates will be informed individually.

For further information about the courses, please write to Dr. Akhilesh Surjan (DMHA Course Coordinator) or Dr. Brendan Barrett (CEFS Course Coordinator) at:

by Brendan Barrett on August 30, 2010 - Comments (01)  

Our World 2.0 Trailer in Akihabara

For the month of August, our catchy new video trailer is up on the big Yodobashi Camera screen in Akihabara – the Tokyo electronics district. It runs through August every few minutes during the morning commute: 7:30-8:30am.

This is our second run on the big outdoor screen. Our very first video brief also ran on this same screen every morning for a few months back in late 2008.


by Jason Hall on August 20, 2010 - Comments (00)  

OurWorld 2.0 at Global Media Forum in Bonn 2010

Find out about the insightful trip of OurWorld 2.0 to Bonn attend the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum. Here is the slide presentation we delivered to the session on the influence of social media which focused on how to present solutions rather than problems when it comes to report climate change issues.

Listen to the full workshop session and get to know more about Ideas for a cooler World from Deutsche Welle as well as the German Ministry of Environment.

by Stephan Schmidt on July 9, 2010 - Comments (03)  

Coalition Of The Willing – MUST SEE

A must watch for all leaders of the future! A very well articulated vision for change.
Well done to the Knife Party and the 24 artists from around the world who came together on this one. Please share widely!

by Citt Williams on June 29, 2010 - Comments (00)  

Our World 2.0 trailer

At the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum on Wednesday, we will be screening this 1 minute Our World 2.0 trailer, together with some stories from Our World 2.0. This year’s forum is focusing on the role of the media towards climate change issues.

by Citt Williams on June 19, 2010 - Comments (01)  

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