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Global Study

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    A typical street scene in Manshiyat Naser, or “Garbage City,” an informal settlement on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt. Local residents, known as the Zabaleen, are organized in the collecting, sorting, and recycling of millions of tons of Cairo’s refuse, providing an essential service to the megacity where municipal services are often lacking. Photo: Michael Mortimer
    Consider your culture: MNR students learn to reflect on social norms in environmental decision-making , article

    How culturally competent are you? Recognizing the importance of cultural context in sustainability issues, the Center for Leadership in Global Sustainability (CLiGS) administers a standardized cultural competence assessment to all graduate students in degree programs to help them recognize and improve blind spots.

    Date: Aug 24, 2021
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    Kariega Game Reserve, Eastern Cape, South Africa; Photo by Dr. Michael Mortimer*
    Climate change solutions from the other side of the world: Neil Dampier to lead a Global Study to South Africa , article

    CLiGS faculty and OMNR alum Neil Dampier grew up in apartheid-era South Africa. Now, he is teaching OMNR students about the connection between social inequality and natural resources disparity through the “Global Issues in Natural Resources” course, which includes a 10-Day Global Study in South Africa.

    Date: May 18, 2021
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    Caitlin Callahan in Longsheng rice terraces outside of Guilin, China, during a Global Study trip; Photo: Caitlin Callahan
    OMNR alumna gains new perspectives on international development and humanitarian relief work , article

    Understanding global natural resources is a key component of successful international development work. Online MNR alumna Caitlin Callahan shares her experience in our graduate program, including three Global Study trips.

    Date: May 11, 2021
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    Seeing the bigger picture: urban planner and OMNR alum Marshall Distel on social sustainability of cities
    Seeing the bigger picture: urban planner and OMNR alum Marshall Distel on social sustainability of cities , article

    “The MNR program helped me see that my role in sustainability is about way more than transportation,” says Marshall Distel, an Online MNR alum and Transportation Planner at the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission in the greater Burlington, Vermont region. “I learned to see the bigger picture. Communities can shape streets, but streets can also shape communities.”

    Date: Apr 06, 2021
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    Climate resilience of island nations and coastal cities: Cuba, Iceland, Amsterdam, Venice
    Climate resilience of island nations and coastal cities: Cuba, Iceland, Amsterdam, Venice , article

    If your dreams of island getaways or beach vacations immediately bring up concerns about rising sea levels and sinking cities, you are not alone! Different countries around the world are developing adaptation approaches to survive and thrive in the Anthropocene, and we have designed Global Study experiences for our sustainability students to explore some of these approaches first-hand in locations as geographically, economically, and culturally diverse as Iceland, Cuba, Venice, and Amsterdam.

    Date: Dec 15, 2020
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    A famous neon sign with an iconic image of Eva Peron in downtown Buenos Aires.
    Buenos Aires and Mendoza: exploring environmental sustainability in Argentina , article

    This October, students in Virginia Tech’s Online Master of Natural Resources (OMNR) program would have embarked on a 10-day Global Study trip to Argentina, where they would have immersed themselves in new landscapes and studied sustainability issues firsthand. While all overseas trips have been postponed in compliance with the university’s travel policies, we look forward to going back to Argentina as soon as it is safe to travel again.

    Date: Sep 10, 2020
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    The fenced border crossing to the Moroccan city of Ceuta. Photo: Michael Mortimer
    Sovereignty vs. Sanctuary: Perils of Climate Migration , article

    The story of seeking a better life in another place is not new. Today we see it all across the world, as people are leaving the countryside for the cities in search of jobs, opportunity, sanctuary, and security. But it seems that the journey to a better life is most often littered with national borders, fences, and other obstacles. In this post, Center Director Dr. Michael Mortimer discusses the impact of climate change on global migration.

    Date: Mar 05, 2020
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    Pyramids of Giza
    Global Study, Part 3: How Egypt Changed My Sustainability Perspective , article

    In November 2019, Executive Master of Natural Resources Jerry Headley traveled to Egypt with his XMNR cohort to take an in-depth look at environmental sustainability issues in the Cairo and greater Nile River Valley regions. Egypt is an especially relevant country to study as it faces many sustainability challenges, including: overpopulation of urban areas, water scarcity, pollution, and an underdeveloped infrastructure, just to name a few. Students have been studying sustainability issues for months in their classrooms in Arlington, VA. Like the rest of his classmates, Jerry was excited to be in the country and attempt to couple a sense of experience with his newfound knowledge. Little did he know just how important this would prove to be.

    Date: Feb 19, 2020
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    An Egyptian temple; Photo Credit: @Michael Mortimer
    Global Study Series, Part 3: The Old System Must Die! (Or Not): Drawing on the Past to Ensure a Future , article

    The idea that a new political philosophy, a new governing regime, or even just a new leader need undermine and delegitimize its predecessor is not a particularly new one. Walking through ancient Egyptian ruins, we can witness everywhere vandalism from thousands of years ago intended to erase the past.

    Date: Dec 17, 2019
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    A felucca boat on the Nile River in Cairo city center; Photo credit: @Michael Mortimer
    Global Study Series, Part 1: Egyptian Environmental Security: Old Wine in a New Bottle , article

    CLiGS faculty Bruce Hull and Michael Mortimer have recently spent three weeks in Egypt exploring Cairo and traveling upstream along the Nile River to the Aswan High Dam. Sharing experiences and reflections on the past and future of a country astride some of the most pressing environmental challenges of the 21st Century. This series of posts distills some of their thoughts on those challenges.

    Date: Dec 10, 2019

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