ISG Class of 2014: Getting Started

Since we are tackling in these three days a topic of such complexity and overarching importance that it is eluding the world’s best and brightest statesmen, scholars, scientists, governments, international organizations, great corporations, NGOs, the media, civil society, and caring citizens, the least we can do is to make sure that we get our basic organization in shape so as to take best advantage of our short time together.


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Why are all these people in all these places reading SDED?

SD reader map 30jun14

Recent SDED Visitors Map – as per 3 July 2014

What you have here is a modest shared public educational platform being run with close to zero resources, all while looking at  a very arcane and generally muddy area of public policy and practice.  As it happens it is being consulted more often than we would have guessed at first (since our goal was in fact to provide supporting information and guidance for the SDED Master Classes). Yet on any given day anywhere from a dozen to well more than 100 people may check into the site.  Ten leading countries s in order: France, USA, UK. India, Poland, Taiwan, Israel, Sweden, Uganda and Iceland.

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Term Paper Topic Ideas

combined-search-engineThe term paper is the heart of the course and the learning process behind it. We ask you to start organizing your thinking on this even before you come into the seminar the first time on Thursday morning. The present website is content rich and sets out a number of clues and ideas for this that you may find useful.

And to the extent that this is agreeable to you, we would like to ask you at the very least to consider having at least some of the report dealing with ideas concerning the relationship between sustainable development and the problems, attitudes and opportunities within your own country. This however is your choice, so now let us get on with this short list, which in point of fact represent the curiosity of your professor who is curious to have the benefit of your thoughts on these topics

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Student Profile: Elene Dundua, Georgia

Elene Dundua - ISG 2014 I was born in Tbilisi at 5 of January 1992. Currently I am an exchange student at International Business School (ISG) from International Black Sea University (IBSU) in Tbilisi, Georgia, where I’m studding business Administration. This is my first year of studies. I’m in Paris since February , I came here for one semester.

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Previous Term Paper Topics

ISG class 2013 - 2One of the strongest points of these ISG Master classes is that each year the students come from such a wide range of backgrounds and places. This gives us an opportunity to share ideas and views that reflect these often considerable personal and cultural  differences and as a result, greatly enrich the learning process. Here by way of example are a selection of titles and countries of author origin of some of the previous term papers submitted in past seminars.

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Wikipedia: First references

Bearing in mind that this is a course without a textbook or two to feed your wikipedia logoreading and guide the discussions, we have turned instead to the web and more specifically in this section to the Wikipedia for a certain number of introductory pieces, as sources of useful first information on concepts, terms, phenomena and forces, many of which have a role in shaping the environment of the next decade (the scope of this seminar) and beyond (the scope of someone else’s).

Uses and limits of Wikipedia and other Wikis

The entries need to be treated with caution of course, but in many cases they make a good first-stop shop when you are looking into a topic area for the first time. You can think of them as a first-stop shop for journalist, students and the generally curious. First -top, but not last-stop. OK?

A number of them are exceptionally good as introductions and provide references and links for those who wish to go further. But Caveat Emptor is always a good idea.

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Toward Sustainable Development: Defining Figures

Sustainable development, the topic of our seminar, is pure concept.  It is not a “fact” as such; it is rather an ongoing and ever shifting interpretation of an planet sustainability esl-educationimperfectly understood complex system. And as such it is defined by human minds.  To get the ball rolling on this important aspect of the sustainability phenomenon here you have a very personal and very incomplete  list of a number of the people who in my view are collectively defining the field.  With  all the necessary contradictions that entails.  The one-click references are in each case to Wikipedia, and are presented as only a starting point to understand  the contributions that these splendid people are making to our more than challenging topic.

Any such listing will ultimately be very personal, even if it has been carried out by a committee, which was definitely not the case here. I have developed this particular personal pantheon of independent  thinkers, writers and doers who in my view have been among the leading influences in the move over the last half century from (a) a world not giving much attention to the broader implications of our collective choices and actions, to (b) the one that we live in today where we are at long last starting to become more aware that much of what we do, or make done, actually does impact on the future our small planet and others in many and often drastic ways.

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Source Materials

 [Short intro to follow here]

Sustainia: A World of Sustainable Solutions

sustainia world solutions coverA study released today profiles 100 leading sustainability innovations. We showcase the top 10, featuring carbon-neutral plastic, e-waste recycling kiosks and an ethical smartphone

Our Ecological Footprints

global footprint logoSustainability starts with each of us.  So in that spirit each member of the class is asked to calculate their own ecological footprint, and then in a round table presentation report it and comment in less than five minutes. A reasonable starting point for background is the WP entry at, which you are invited to read and eventually comment.

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2014 Session Reports and Rapporteurs

rapporteur - 2013For each of our six sessions, we nominate one of our number to serve as rapporteur: their task being to follow closely the discussions and presentations during their assigned four-hour session, and to prepare a short report of activities, presentation, discussions, findings, conclusion and, if any, recommendations. The reports will be of course spell-checked and submitted by email to (with a copy to me at They should run from two to four (max.) pages each.


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Student Profile: Alessando Tomasino, Italy

My name is Alessandro Tomasino and I am 24 years old. Alessandro tomasinoI was born and raised in Rome; however, today I have little left of my Italian roots.  “travel” really means. In fact, during my high school studies I had the chance to travel abroad for one year to a little town in the middle of the country side in Washington State, USA. After I have lived in Spain, France, travelled to Japan, South Korea, and Latin America for several months each, I feel the huge gap is there between my friends that grew up in my city and myself.

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Quick Reports

As part of the course credit each member of the class is required to prepare and a  Quick Report  on some aspect of our topic in which you tackle a topic, author, event,  institution or school of thought, which you then summarize, analyze and present with your comments to the others for their attention and critical reactions.

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ISG 2013 Master Class – Final reports

Authors, countries, titles of final reports for ISG 2013

Note: All these reports have been placed in the SDES course library at writing on computer - fair use, however since they are the private property of the student you will not be able to access them directly there. If on the other hand you would like to see their report, please get in touch via and your request will be transferred to the author.

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It’s a very different century. Have you understood?

And just in case that has not yet entirely sunk in, let’s have a look at what Luis Louis von Ahnvon Ahn of Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science has to say about Massive-scale online collaboration. And here, as we think about your futures, is maybe a good time and place as any to get it in our heads that there is a massive tectonic shift between our new century and the one in which people of my generation and younger learned most of their skill sets. How is the triad of sustainable development, economic and society going to fit in this new environment? One thing we can say for sure: it will be very different and would have been well beyond the imaginations of anyone pondering all this back in, say, 1999. Are you ready for that?

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Selected Videos

ws-movie-projectorTime to stretch our minds a bit before getting back to work.

  1. This is an awareness test – – 1:08 minutes
  2. It’s a very different century. Have you understood?  – 16 minutes -
  3. The Fun Theory: -   – 1:47
  4. Averting the climate crisis – Al Gore – – 06:00 – 16:00
  5. Robin Chase: the Collaborative Economy & Climate Change:
  6. Sharing as a sustainability strategy – – 0:35
  7. Green Economy/Sustainable Development: Bring Back the Social – – 10:00
  8. Honey, You gotta slow down -  - 1:31
  9. Re-thinking Progress: The Circular Economy – – 3:48
  10. Finding the exact right moment – – 2:38