Challenges of sustainable development summer academy

The flagship educational undertaking of the Sendzimir Foundation. The course has been held every year since 1998, we have completed a total of 18 editions!

Over 550 people took part in all the editions of the course, including about 50 participants from abroad. The training was very popular in Poland and abroad, with over 350 people applying to participate for 25 places offered each year. That is why we have introduced a two-stage recruitment process in the last few editions. We qualified the best graduates of the e-learning stage to participate in the stationary training. We completed the last training in this series in 2015.

Course participants

The course was addressed to students and PhD students, researchers, business and administration representatives from the Baltic Sea region. Participants usually came from various fields and specialties, such as environmental protection and engineering, architecture, urban planning, management, economic sciences, agriculture, biology, ecology, fine arts, history, journalism, and social sciences. Everyone combined the desire to acquire theoretical and practical knowledge in the field of sustainable development and environmental protection.

What was the subject of the course?

Sustainability, ranging from a detailed explanation of the concept, through theoretical aspects in various fields of science and technology, to workshops, classes and practical projects. The course also had additional activities, such as field trips that integrate the group.

The program of the course included lectures, debates, workshops, simulation games, field activities and practical projects, covering issues related to sustainable development. Under the supervision of the experienced Sendzimir Foundation instructors, the students realised two large practical projects, within which they attempted to introduce the principles of sustainable development into the practice of specific companies and institutions in the first project, and municipalities and cities in the second.

The workshops included about 100 hours of regular classes, with less formal activities in addition, such as trips, meetings, reading articles and video projections.

The course was divided into three separate parts in terms of content.

  • Introduction in the form of e-learning training
  • Sustainable local development – theory and practice, combined with the implementation of a large practical project in partnership with a selected local community; in 2012 the project concerned the services of marine ecosystems and their importance for the development of Baltic tourism and was carried out in close cooperation with the Institute of Oceanology of the Polish Academy of Sciences and local NGOs; in 2013, the project was devoted to sustainable water management in Toruń and a year later in Kraków; in 2015, it concerned packaging waste management in Warsaw and Kraków.
  • Sustainable business – theory and practice, covering the second large practical project carried out in small groups of participants. The participants’ task was to analyze issues related to the introduction of sustainable development principles into the business world.

What does it mean that the course was a green event?

This means that we have tried to reduce the negative impact on the environment associated with the course, by, among others:

  • offsetting the emissions related to the course (we have planted appropriate number of trees each year);
  • all training materials, etc. were produced from recycled materials, carrying ecological certificates;
  • we did not use single use packaging and disposable products;
  • meals during the Academy were made as much as possible from local products, using a small amount of meat products;
  • during the projects we have used public transport wherever it was possible,  encouraging the participants to do the same.

Our partners:

For 18 years we invited one local community and several companies every year. During these years, we have worked, inter alia, with Warsaw (2015), Krakow (2015 and 2014), Poznań and Toruń (2013), municipalities of the Hel Peninsula (2012), Warsaw, Łódź (2011), Zawoja (2009, 2010), previously Alwernia and Czeladz.

Among our business partners, for which the participants under the supervision of the teachers carried out consulting projects were such companies as: IKEA, BP Poland, “Business Park Zawiła”, Philips Morris Poland, Sheraton Kraków Hotel, Bank Ochrony Środowiska, Danfoss, Dalkia Poland, Infosys, Cemex.

Participants of the 2011 edition in Lodz city hall after a workshop with stakeholders.

Listening to the introduction to the local project in Zawoja in 2010.

Final day of the course in 2015.

VISIS Pyramid workshop during the course in 2010.

Meeting with stakeholders in Gdansk during the local project in 2012.


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