Global Challenges - Sustainable Futures

Freie Universität Berlin

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Global Challenges - Sustainable Futures

  • Host University

    Freie Universität Berlin

  • Location

    Berlin, Germany

  • Area of Study

    Environmental Sustainability, International Studies, Political Science

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Contact Hours

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    The course introduces students to the politics, ethics, and governance of sustainability. The key challenges of our time are global by nature. However, the current system of global governance based on sovereign states (often in competition with each other) is ill-equipped to meet challenges such as poverty, climate change, environmental degradation and availability of resources. As states cannot on their own provide for a sustainable future of their citizens, they are increasingly forced into a logic of sustainability for all people and responsibility for the global commons. This new logic is grounded on the scientific truth of planetary boundaries, but equally on ethical requirements (e.g. caring for the Earth).
    The course examines major current global challenges divided into economic, political and environmental issues. In the second part of the course the main existing and potential solutions to these problems will be discussed. During the discussions in class and field trips we will try to find out why these solutions have not been implemented so far and what is needed to make our global society more sustainable, especially in economic and environmental terms. Thus, we will also analyze the current system of international treaties with their normative principles (sovereignty, equality, human rights) and institutions (governments, international organizations, civil society). Special focus will be put on the role of the United Nations as an organization whose goal has been to prevent and solve major global issues. We will try to find out to what degree the UN was effective and successful in fulfilling this mission. We will also take a look at the Earth Charter and analyze to what degree it shows the direction in which our global community should develop.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) credits are converted to semester credits/quarter units differently among U.S. universities. Students should confirm the conversion scale used at their home university when determining credit transfer.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations


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