What is the Communiversity?
Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO states: “Today’s interconnected global challenges demand responses that are rooted in the spirit of our collective humanity…The risks and opportunities that we face call for a paradigm shift that can only be embedded in our societies through education and learning.” The Communiversity concept emerged from this urgent global need – providing a sustainability leadership and learning campus which facilitates understanding the interconnected nature of all living things and that helps students to rethink how we relate to one another and interact with the ecosystems that support our lives.
As it emerges, the SERES Communiversity will also come to provide a physical space that bridges the world of scholars and communities, bringing together leaders from diverse backgrounds to lead the sustainability shift.
The Communiversity campus is designed around 5 key pillars that define all activities, programs and life that take place on campus. These pillars are:
YOUTH: Young people, with their instinct to push boundaries, ask hard questions and challenge the status quo, are needed now more than ever. Their ideas, creativity and passion will be the driving force that grows the movements that are creating a more socially and environmentally equitable world. The SERES Communiversity places youth at the front center of our work: engaging with them as they become innovators, thinkers, change agents, problem-solvers and future makers; providing them with the opportunity to connect their passion with society’s needs; and aiding them in the development of skills to start creating positive social change wherever they are.
LEADERSHIP: A new type of leadership is required that is able to shape new systems in the midst great change; a leadership that is deeply rooted in the spirit of our collective humanity and that invites new ways of relating with each other and with the Earth. The SERES Centre uses a transformative, integrated leadership approach to develop highly influential and impactful leaders that can move with wisdom, interpersonal agility and insight, inspiring and mobilizing others – particularly other youth – with the philosophy of “we go together.”
LEARNING: Our learning seeks to answer the question: what does it take to build healthy, vibrant communities for everyone, everywhere, with no one left behind? Our programs teach in an interactive way that enables exploratory, action-oriented and transformative learning, drawing upon many modalities that engage trainees at the levels of hearts and minds, behaviour and systems. As a learning institute, the Centre pioneers new methods and approaches to learning and education for sustainable development, providing an active, holistic learning environment wherein all aspects of the built environment and surrounding campus are opportunities for discovery and creativity.
SUSTAINABILITY: The SERES Communiversity is a regenerative, positive-impact, “living” campus that integrates the built environment harmoniously into the surrounding ecosystem. The construction of the Communiversity makes the most of locally available materials and provides a model of cost-effective sustainable design that can be replicated locally. The Communiversity has over 10 acres of land dedicated to sustainable demonstrable food productions systems including permaculture, aquaponics and native food forests, as well as areas set aside for sustainable timber harvesting and protected areas for native plants and wildlife.
COLLABORATIVE COMMUNITIES: The SERES Communiversity actively promotes positive, symbiotic relationships between the Communiversity, our visitors and the community. This “community” starts with the surrounding villages and reaches all the way out to the global community with whom we are deeply interconnected. The Communiversity’s campus includes a “Permeable Farm” that is shared between SERES and the local community, where we provide opportunities for community members to learn new, resilient agricultural and farming practices, have access to SERES nursery and seed bank, and be a part of the SERES community garden. Our next circle of community extends out to the region, with a focus on young “unlikely” leaders, primarily from underprivileged and marginalized communities. The Communiversity provides scholarships for these leaders to attend and participate in a variety of different Transformative Sustainability Leadership programs. Our next circle of community – the global community – is interwoven into the Communiversity’s work through our Communiversity Programs, which provide empowering opportunities for young people both here and abroad to engage as leaders in tackling today’s sustainability crisis.
Design of the inaugural Communiversity in Guatemala