State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Certificate Program to Focus on Environment and Security

Somali children play in a child-friendly space supported by UNICEF and run by Save the Children US in the Kobe refugee camp in Ethiopia, in 2012. Some 27,000 refugees from drought and conflict were residing in the camp. Photo: UNICEF
Somali children play in a child-friendly space supported by UNICEF and run by Save the Children US in the Kobe refugee camp in Ethiopia, in 2012. Some 27,000 refugees from drought and conflict were residing in the camp. Photo: UNICEF

For many people working in international affairs, the connections between environment and security are growing increasingly clear. The changing climate, drought, rising sea levels, deforestation and mineral extraction all have an impact on not just the environment, but on the people living in the regions most affected, and the social systems by which they are governed.

A new professional certificate program at Columbia University will address these issues. The Environment, Peace, and Security Certification of Professional Achievement, a joint program of the Earth Institute and the School of Continuing Education, is aimed at practitioners with responsibility for providing assessments and warnings regarding environment-security risks or for designing programs to manage such risks.

This program is designed for participants from multiple sectors and backgrounds and will directly benefit people working at the United Nations, diplomatic missions, global finance organizations, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, consulting companies, emerging market investment firms and public relations agencies.

Program faculty and guest speakers are well-known researchers in climate and environmental science, conflict, sustainable development, political science, and data analytics at Columbia University, The Earth Institute, the Center for International Earth Science Information Network, and the Master of Science in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Program.

With two terms of part-time study, participants can complete the program in one academic year on Columbia’s campus in New York City. As part of an intensive curriculum designed for working professionals, courses are offered one weekday evening each week and on two three-day weekends.

The course will teach how environment, peacebuilding and security are interlinked, the major trends shaping these linkages, and how these trends are affecting the worlds of business, development and peacebuilding.

Participants can learn a range of tools, such as:

  • Assessing how environmental problems can drive conflict.
  • Managing conflict and environmental variables and taking advantage of opportunities to build resilience.
  • Building effective communications strategies for these challenges.
  • Using data and visualization tools to improve decision making.
  • Developing project-planning approaches to mitigate risks.
  • Learning about new initiatives, innovative thinking and what other companies, governments and agencies are doing in this field.

For more about the program, visit the program’s web page. The next information session, to be held online, will be on Oct. 19. Register here.

Banner featuring a collage of extreme heat images.

Recent record-breaking heat waves have affected communities across the world. The Extreme Heat Workshop will bring together researchers and practitioners to advance the state of knowledge, identify community needs, and develop a framework for evaluating risks with a focus on climate justice. Register by June 15

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