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Message from the Academic Director

Welcome to Global Sustainable DevelopmentProfessor Cathia Jenainati
Professor Cathia Jenainati

We study, research and teach Global Sustainable Development because it is an urgent priority for our social, economic and environmental wellbeing. In spite of the multiplicity of definitions that the term has generated, everyone who is involved in addressing the impact of development, the possibilities for a sustainable life and the complex moral and ethical debates around globalisation agrees that humanity has reached a point where passivity is no longer an option.

Our BASc Global Sustainable Development degrees are the first undergraduate programmes of this kind in the United Kingdom, offering a theorisation and a critical pedagogy that enables you to “envision a moral economy of social justice, citizenship and sustainability, based in social democracy”. These degree courses require you to deploy a range of theoretical approaches drawn from science, social sciences and humanities in order to critique the various approaches to development, and to examine the possibilities for bringing together sustainability efforts and development policies in a politically sound, economically fair and socially democratic setting.

These courses deal with current problems that have local and global impact. Each degree course is challenging and ambitious; Each is bold and audacious, taking on a series of contemporary problems that governments, scientists, philosophers, educationalists and charities are grappling with.

We want you to join us on this intellectual journey, as we question and challenge current views and theories on development. Beginning with the assumption that development is not only about economic growth, we examine opportunities for the promotion of redistribution and the reduction of inequalities. Then we examine the value choices involved in those opportunities and the ensuing ethical issues.

We take a critical stance against early conceptions of development which assumed that Western ways of thinking and doing were the best and most efficacious, and we consider the ways in which science has responded to this simplistic and deterministic view. We take a holistic and systemic approach to understanding Economic, Social and Environmental factors that impact political and humanitarian interventions.

Our vision for these courses is grounded in critical and innovative thinking, promoting the transformation and construction of society. We believe in the importance of every nation’s right to self-determination and in the importance of delivering education that is values-based and conducive to creating an open climate of cultural interchange. We have created courses that treat global issues, their causes and interrelationships, systematically and within their economic, environmental, social and historical contexts. To this end we consider fundamental issues in relation to development and the environment, such as health, ageing, food security, hunger, energy, labour, climate change, production and consumption patterns, through multiple perspectives.

We are confident that your chosen degree course will prove positively challenging and intellectually enriching. You will find it a course that leads to action and aspires to enact change. As you embark on this unique journey, take note of the Nobel Laureate, Amartya Sen’s argument that “development should be conceptualised as the expansion of the real freedoms that people desire and value” and remember that this is your opportunity to contest longstanding inequalities and to actively promote change.


Education is critical for promoting sustainable development and improving the capacity of the people to address environment and development issues….it is critical for achieving environmental and ethical awareness, values and attitudes, skills and behaviour consistent with sustainable development and for effective public participation in decision-making"

(UNCED 1992)