Given the current sustainability challenges and the need to foster dialogue involving various stakeholders, including innovative ways of implementing adapted solutions for different problems in diverse contexts, some ProSPER.Net members, together with UNU-IAS, started thinking about a programme that highlighted specific competences for academics.
This new programme would create an inclusive platform for dialogue involving different stakeholders, informed policy- thinking and decision-making, new ways of managing knowledge, and implementing research solutions.
The idea was also to complement ProSPER.Net’s Young Researchers’ School (YRS) and Young Scientist Award (YSA), whose primary objectives are to build research capacity and to recognize relevant research for sustainable development. The new programme would also contribute to promoting a growing network of YRS graduates and YSA winners.
With these basic features in mind, Hosei University and the East West Center, with support from UNU-IAS, started working on the concept of an advanced programme that would involve the participation of not only academics but young public officials and business practitioners. The programme would provide an opportunity for developing and practicing skills to enable participants to become agents of change through a transformational and experiential learning process.
The programme, to be piloted in late 2013, will offer possibilities for reflection and enhance understanding of complex governance issues that arise from a multitude of frameworks and initiatives through interaction in a multicultural and multidisciplinary environment. During field trips, participants will connect with relevant stakeholders, especially the local community, endeavoring to work as a team, adding value to local initiatives making use of their strong scientific, policy-related and practical background.
Through this new programme, participants will also be provided an opportunity to reflect on and develop leadership skills, with an understanding of the context in which the exercise of leadership is needed, work at multiple levels and with a variety of stakeholders, privileging a participatory approach that fosters ownership and collective responsibility for the implementation of more sustainable practices.
Ultimately, the leadership programme will function as a platform to build a bridge between science and policy, generation of knowledge and its application, research and implementation. It will also promote networking amongst the various participants coming from academia, public and private sectors, bringing together distinct groups of future local leaders of a more sustainable Asia-Pacific.