Published On: Wed, Feb 10th, 2010

TERI University part of global Masters in Development Practice

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TERI University has been selected as a partner in the Masters in Development Practice (MDP) program being set up by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The  foundation announced it would help establish MDP programmes through a global network of more than 20 universities worldwide over the next three years. It has committed $16 million over three years to provide seed funding to the universities, creating a critical mass of MDP programmes to help launch this new field. Over $16 million has been committed to support the training of leaders in the field of sustainable development. The first MDP Program was launched by Columbia University’s Earth Institute and the School of International and Public Affairs in 2009.

“Increasingly, the concurrent crises of the environment, global health and the economy fully tax our abilities to absorb recent shocks and leave many countries in a downward spiral,” said Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute. “The recovery effort in Haiti makes clear the complexity of the challenge of sustainable development and the need for a new generation of global leaders who take a multi-sectoral approach to problem-solving. The Masters in Development Practice programs will train leaders to meet these challenges and will foster a global network of universities united in this effort.”

The MDP is a two-year cross-disciplinary degree program that provides graduate-level students with the skills and knowledge required to better identify and address the global challenges of sustainable development. MDP programs are designed to provide graduate students with the core competencies to become sustainable development leaders and practitioners.

During the two-year MDP program, students undertake rigorous, cross-disciplinary, practical training, supplemented by two field experiences. The programme’s core curriculum emphasizes systems-thinking through classroom study and practice that combines a range of disciplines, including health sciences, natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, policy, and management. Students will also take the “Global Classroom: Integrated Approaches to Sustainable Development Practice,” an interactive course blending on-line and off-line learning led by some of the top experts in the field. This course fosters cross-border and cross-disciplinary collaboration, and allows students and teachers to participate in collective assignments and learning experiences.

Universities were selected based on five criteria, including support from top university leadership, excellent infrastructure and academic programs, and the ability to serve as regional hub; geographic representation among students and exceptional faculty across the four core competencies of the natural, health, and social sciences and management; and a timeline and business plan for financial sustainability when funding ends in three years.

The creation of the Master’s in Development Practice Program was a key recommendation of the International Commission on Education for Sustainable Development Practice, whose report was released in October 2008. Established in 2007, the year-long Commission was co-chaired by John McArthur, Chief Executive Officer of Millennium Promise, and Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and comprised of 20 top thinkers in the field of sustainable development from around the world. More information about MDP can be found at www.mdp.ei.columbia.edu.

A Global Master’s in Development Practice Secretariat, supported by MacArthur and based at the Earth Institute, manages the MDP network of universities, an open-source repository for MDP curricular resources, and offers an online, global classroom on sustainable development. More information about MDP Secretariat and the global network of universities is available at: http://mdp.ei.columbia.edu.