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ASU-Leuphana Center for Global Sustainability and Cultural Transformation

ASU, German university partner on global sustainability center

By

Penny Walker

Arizona State University and Leuphana University of Lüneburg in Germany are blazing a path in international academic cooperation.

Longtime partners on research projects, the two universities have formalized their partnership with the new Center for Global Sustainability and Cultural Transformation.

The center will focus on inter- and transdisciplinary projects in both teaching and research that strongly align with ASU’s mission as the New American University, with an emphasis on transforming society, fusing intellectual disciplines and engaging globally. Similar to ASU, Leuphana is a young, innovative university that has embraced sustainability and health solutions with a similar mission to help change the world.

Robert Page, then-provost of ASU, and Leuphana President Sascha Spoun signed the agreement establishing the center June 24 in Luneburg.

ASU and Leuphana have already worked together in the “Global Classroom” project taught by professors from both institutions. Using streaming video technologies and face-to-face group work, students worked collaboratively on urban sustainability solutions.  And the two universities recently signed an agreement to offer a dual master’s degree – the first of its kind at ASU with a foreign university – in Global Sustainability Science. Students will spend time at both universities and receive a degree from both.

The two universities have also worked together successfully on research projects. One example is the research into current perceptions of sustainability and sustainable development conducted by three Leuphana faculty and ASU professor Manfred Laubichler. That project in 2014 won substantial funding from the subsidy program "Science for Sustainable Development," of the Volkswagen Foundation and the State of Lower Saxony.

March 2015 saw the partners initiating the International Network for Programs in Transformation Sustainability (NEPS) enabling the cooperation of nine universities across the globe that offer master’s or PhD programs in the field of sustainability science – in that field, Leuphana and ASU rank among the leading universities. NEPS offers capacity-building training, joint research projects and learning opportunities.

The Center for Global Sustainability and Cultural Transformation’s founding members are ASU professors Laubichler, Christopher Boone, Sander van der Leeuw, and Arnim Wiek; and Leuphana professors Erich Hörl Daniel Lang, Ulli Vilsmaier, and Henrik von Wehrden. The researchers will have the designation of permanent visiting scholar at the partner university.