UNU adopts Moodle

The UNU is delighted to announce that it has adopted Moodle as the online learning management system (LMS) to support the 2009 International Course. Moodle is one of the most popular open source LMSs with other 56,000 sites in 211 countries.

moodle11To access the UNU’s Moodle installation visit: learn.unu.edu

Currently four courses are being supported online with direct involvement from faculty at the UNU-Institute for Sustainability and Peace. It is hoped that other UNU institutes will utilize this resource to run their courses online.

The initial reaction to the use of Moodle has been very positive from the students and lecturers involved. The UNU International Course runs from 11 May to 19 June 2009.

The experience for the adoption of Moodle to support the IC2009 will provide useful insights for the implementation of the planned graduate degrees from 2010 onwards.

by Brendan Barrett on June 2, 2009 - Comments (00)  

Need to know about biodiversity

” We cannot think of having a stable society on this planet, if the biological matrix that sustains us is broken.”

Last week, we had a visit from distinguished Mexican Professor José Sarukhán Kermez from the Institute of Ecology, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and also the Co-ordinator of the National Committee on the Study and Conservation of Biodiversity [Mexico].

In a down-to-earth manner, the professor helped us understand the incredible importance of biodiversity regarding sustenance, climate change, current agricultural systems and the future. After our interview, Professor Sarukhan visited GEIC where he met with several of our specialist researchers and then later delivered a lecture at the UNU entitled “Mexico: The Privileges and Challenges of a Megadiverse Country.”

For more information, please visit UNU’s biodiversity page.

by Citt Williams on May 26, 2009 - Comments (00)  

State of the UNU in 2008

UNU_ar2008_coverWithout doubt 2008 was a year that will be remembered for a very long time. It is the year that the financial crisis erupted on the global stage, triggered perhaps by high energy prices and decades of misguided financial practices. At the same time, leaders across the globe were proposing emergency measures to cope with a major food crisis.

At the end of 2008, we did not seem as rich as we once were. This is at a time when we need huge resources to cope with a growing list of global concerns related to freshwater scarcity, over fishing, shrinking biodiversity, compounded by climate change. Meanwhile wars and conflicts continue.

Everyone is affected by these changes and every institution needs to respond. It is in this context that a major re-thinking is on-going at the UNU and the initial results are presented in the UNU 2008 Annual Report.

With new vice Rectors Takeuchi and Parayil taking their posts in 2008, we have begun to see the research programmes shift in response to the new challenges facing the globe. Under Takeuchi’s leadership the new Institute for Sustainability and Peace has been established in Tokyo, while Vice Rector Parayil is now heading the Institute of Advanced Studies in Yokohama.

Download the UNU 2008 Annual Report to find out more.

by Brendan Barrett on April 28, 2009 - Comments (00)  

Results available from Wikipedia user survey

wikipediaThe Collaborative Creativity Group (CCG), based at UNU-MERIT, together with the Wikimedia Foundation have just published the results of the first multilingual survey on the global use of Wikipedia.

More than 170,000 Wikipedia readers and contributors completed the extensive survey questionnaire, a figure that exceeded all expectations.

Since the questionnaire had been available in 20 languages and respondents came from over 200 countries, the survey had a true global character that gives the researchers a comprehensive and valuable insight in the Wikipedia community.

You can find a summary of the results at the Wikimedia Foundation Blog. Or download the online workbook.

by Brendan Barrett on April 23, 2009 - Comments (00)  
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Discovering our Bubu: Indigenous perspectives of Climate Change

Attending a summit with over 300 Indigenous peoples is an incredible experience. Glancing around the room your eyes are bombarded by a sea of traditional costumes: Amazonian feather headdresses, Mongolian Dels, Saami hats, Maasi head jewllery. Its easy to feel the buzz and excitement of such a collective who against many odds have managed to come together. Waved off by loved ones, from the remote corners of the world they journeyed here to Anchorage. Each having been chosen to carry and intimately share their community’s story and concerns. And with each hour that passes, we hear yet another heartfelt statement from the  frontlines of Climate Change. Stories from traditional peoples whose life is land, whose way of survival and knowing is ancient and whose concerns run spiritually deep.

I write from Anchorage where I am a part of the small UNU delegation attending the Indigenous Peoples Summit on Climate Change. The summit has brought to together over 300 Indigenous spokespeople to discuss and strategize the best possible position for Indigenous rights within the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Coupling with the UNU-IAS Traditional Knowledge Initiative, the Media studio’s contribution has been the makings of a 5 part video portfolio of “Indigenous perspectives of Climate Change”. The five 6 minute videobriefs were made for Our World 2.0 in collaboration with communities and storytellers in Papua New Guinea, Australia and Borneo, Indonesia.

Colin recording narrationMarilyn and Citt work on translations

I think its important to quickly mention the process…With each videobrief, we worked on telling the story the community wanted to tell about Climate Change. After a day or two developing a rough script with the community designated storyteller, a cameraman and producer shot the film. Afterwards, we stayed on to translate then edit the story with participation from the storytellers. We cared for the Indigenous Intellectual Property by developing a talent consent form that granted us a non-exclusive license to the storyteller’s story.  At the end of the process,  we screened the film to the community involved for translation and cultural consent. Then the community were given a small hard drive with all the raw materials and a non-exclusive licence to use the materials we had created. We took a copy of the materials back to Tokyo for polishing, uploading and eventually back-up archiving. Usually the process took 10-14 days. These films are now to be distributed widely through UN, community and broadcast/online media networks.

The first video in the series “Walking on country with spirits” was recorded in the wet tropics “Kuku Ngungkal” country (near the Daintree) with Traditional Owner, Marilyn Wallace. She shows Paul Bell (camera/editor) and I how Climate change is being experienced by her mob.

I needed to be very, very sensitive and respectful to what’s really going on.

Although not explicit, the learning I received came from a little word called “bubu”. Whilst doing the translations, Marilyn explained to me the word bubu means – my home country, the land, the soil beneath, the ecosystems (all plants/animals), the biosphere above and beyond, my identity and my responsibility.  This idea of bubu is a profound and spiritual paradigm shift and I urge you to also get in tune with your bubu’s needs!

And so without further a due, I present you with the UNU’s Indigenous Perspectives of Climate Change video brief series… screening tomorrow night at the global summit.

Local solutions on a sinking paradise, Carterets Islands, Papua New Guinea from UNUChannel on Vimeo.

by Citt Williams on April 21, 2009 - Comments (02)  

TEDxTokyo Volunteers

Screenshot from TEDx Introduction
Screenshot from TEDx Introduction

We in the Media Studio are long-time fans of TED. Consequently, we jumped on an opportunity to participate with a local group of dedicated volunteers who are putting together what will be Tokyo’s first TEDx event.

TEDx is a new experiment by TED to allow local communities to organize and host their own “unofficial TED-style events” of TEDTalks videos and live speakers.

TEDxTokyo is one such licensee and is gearing up for its first event on May 22nd. To make it happen, volunteers with a variety of backgrounds and interests have banded together, rolled up their sleeves, and taken on a range of roles and responsibilities. For us, this is a great chance to join another community, meet many interesting people, and contribute to promoting “Ideas Worth Spreading.”

by Jason Hall on April 8, 2009 - Comments (00)  

Stiglitz on the Global Economic Crisis

stiglitz-speakingThe problems facing our financial institutions and the global economy are far deeper than we have seen so far. That was the message on 24 February 2009, when Professor Joseph Stiglitz spoke as part of the UNU Emerging Thinking on Global Issues.

This lecture was organized by the UNU Office at the United Nations in New York (UNU-ONY).

If you would like to watch this lecture, then you can see it here (you need Realplayer). More information on the event is available at the UNY ONY.

This is a good example of a UNU team using the web to reach out to people across the globe.

by Brendan Barrett on April 7, 2009 - Comments (00)  

Wake up, freak out and then act….


Don’t think that we need to say much about this video, other than it is brilliant.


Wake Up, Freak Out – then Get a Grip from Leo Murray on Vimeo.

If you don’t like it, let us know why. If you want to know what you can do, starting reading Our World 2.0.

by Brendan Barrett on February 3, 2009 - Comments (01)  

Screenings at the Guadalajara International Film Festival

guadalajaraWe have just learnt that Saving the Ayuquila River and Voices of the Chichinatzin, produced by the United Nations University in collaboration with the University of Guadalajara and the Autonomous University of Morelos, have been accepted to be shown as part of the Guadalajara International Film Festival that will take place from 19 to 27 March 2009.

The presentation of the films will be on the 22-23 March at the Centro Cultural Cabañas, a World Heritage Site in the historic centre of Guadalajara.

The Guadalajara International Film Festival is considered one of the most important film festivals in Latin America. Last year it screened a total of 220 titles and nearly 70,000 people participated in the festival.

by Brendan Barrett on February 1, 2009 - Comments (00)  

Al Jazeera launches Creative Commons repository of free footage

The Al Jazeera news network today made a bold and innovative world first – a Creative Commons repository of free news footage.

Through their fresh repository site http://cc.aljazeera.net global media makers now have access to both Arabic and English news coverage from Al Jazeera’s correspondent network. The timely site launched with a library of exclusive and scarce material from within the Gaza Strip.

The footage is available under the ‘Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution’ license which allows for commercial and non-commercial use.

Mohamed Nanabhay who heads New Media at Al Jazeera and launched the project stated, “As one of the only international broadcasters in Gaza, our coverage of the war has been unsurpassed. The launch of Al Jazeera’s Creative Commons Repository means that our Gaza footage will be made available under the most permissive Creative Commons license (CC-BY). With the flexibility of the license we expect to introduce our outstanding coverage to an even wider audience across the world. This means that news outlets, filmmakers and bloggers will be able to easily share, remix and reuse our footage.”

by Citt Williams on January 13, 2009 - Comments (00)  

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