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Focus on environmental risks and human security

University of Bonn and United Nations University launching a joint Master's program

Recognizing and tackling the consequences of climate change, environ¬mental risks and global social change are key challenges for the future. Experts who have been trained for handling such challenges will start to come from Bonn, where the joint "Geography of Environmental Risks and Human Security" Master's course of studies has just been launched officially. The first class comprises about 30 students from around the world.

In a festive ceremony held in the Alfred Philippson Auditorium of the Department of Geography, the Rector of the University of Bonn, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Fohrmann, and the Vice Rector of the United Nations University (UNU) in Europe, Prof. Dr. Jakob Rhyner, in the presence of the Science Minister of NRW, Svenja Schulze, gave the green light for the first joint Master's course of study organized by a state university in cooperation with the UN institution.

 

UNU-UniBonn-257-2013-engl.jpg Prof. Dr. Chinwe Ifejika Speranza (from left), Prof. Dr. Jürgen Fohrmann, Rector oft he University of Bonn, Northrhine-Westfalia’s Minister of Science Svenja Schulze and UNU-Vice-Rector Prof. Dr. Jakob Rhyner. (c) Photo: Barbara Frommann



In order for this joint project to come to fruition, a lot of heavy lifting had to be done in the areas of post-secondary education policy and inter¬national law. After all, this was the first time that a university grounded in national university law and a UN institution based on international law joined forces as institutions. This is the first time this has been done successfully. "This joint program will serve as a model for academic partnerships with UNU. Consequently, as a prototype for additional courses of study, the eyes of the world will be on us. And Bonn as a Federal city will become even more visible as the German location of United Nations," explained the Rector, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Fohrmann.

According to Minister Schulze, by being involved in this initiative, Bonn is writing a chapter of "international post-secondary education history"; and she emphasized the program's significance for handling risks such as natural forces, climate change, and environmental destruction by adding, "Consequently,  this new course of study will focus on humans, linking the great global challenges in environmental and climate protection to security issues. I hope that this Bonn Master's program will serve as a model globally". 

Professor Rhyner, who chairs the Institute for Environment and Human Security at the United Nations University (UNU-EHS) in Bonn, hopes that this course of study will send a signal, "There is a great global need for innovative courses of study that represent a bridge between research and application. With this new Master's program, we are taking an important first step here in Bonn. We will teach students both the scientific basis as well as its application in the context of international organizations. We hope that this innovative model can also be adopted by other universities and partner organizations".

This joint, English-language course of study will end with a "Master of Science" (M.Sc.). In four semesters, participants will, in addition to teaching modules, also go through an internship at a UN or other international organization, as well as writing a master's thesis. In its first year, the program accepted about 30 students from 14 different countries, with half of all students coming from Germany. For the University of Bonn, the Department of Geography (Geographisches Institut; GIUB) has assumed teaching duties in the program, and for the United Nations University, program support will come from the Institute for Environment and Human Security.
Teaching activities will build on the proven research cooperation between the UNU and the University of Bonn.


For additional information, see:
http://ehs.unu.edu/article/read/msc


Contacts:
Prof. Dr. Klaus Greve
Geographisches Institut der Universität Bonn
Ph.: +49 228/73-5596
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Janine Kandel
United Nations University, Communication
Ph.: +49 228/815-0219
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