The winter school of the Europaeum university network brings together the world’s leading authorities on planetary wellbeing at UPF



The 2022 Europaeum Winter School on Planetary Wellbeing will take place from 22 to 25 February on the Ciutadella campus and at the MACBA, organized by the University, to discuss the role and impact of higher education institutions in the transition to sustainability. It will include a session on art and two open papers by two eminence in the field of sustainability: Will Steffen, Professor Emeritus at the National University of Australia, from which the concept of "planetary boundaries" arose, and John Elkington, founder de Volans and writer, creator of the "triple bottom line".

The 2022 Europaeum Winter School on Planetary Wellbeing, organised by the University, will take place between 22 and 25 February on the Ciutadella campus and at the MACBA. It will focus on debating the role and impact of higher education institutions in the transition towards sustainability. It will include a session on art and two open talks, each given by a leading light in the field of sustainability: Will Steffen, emeritus professor at the Australian National University, where the -planetary boundaries- concept was first developed, and John Elkington, founder of Volans, author and creator of the "triple bottom line".

UPF is the host and organiser of the university network’s 2022 Europaeum Winter School , which will revolve around the theme of Planetary Wellbeing. The main aim of the meeting is to increase our knowledge and understanding of a series of complex, interrelated and systemic issues that affect the wellbeing of human beings, animals and the planet itself, and the role higher education institutions can play in this arena.

The 2022 European Winter School on Planetary Wellbeing , which will take place between 22 and 25 February and at the MACBA, will include talks, presentations and debates. The main target audience for the programme, which requires prior registration, are students from the Europaeum network universities, but it is also open to anyone interested in learning about the possibilities of integrating humans and the planet in a single concept: two of the main talks (at UPF) and the fifth panel (at the MACBA) will be open access and the different sessions will be recorded and therefore available to watch after the event.

Lela Mélon: "In this year’s edition of the winter school, Europaeum and UPF are highlighting the importance of transforming higher education in this complex and inevitable transition towards planetary wellbeing-

According to Lela Mélon , the executive director of the UPF Planetary Wellbeing institutional project, -As the challenges related with social and environmental sustainability become an increasingly central concern in our society, so too are the role and impact of higher education institutions growing in this transition towards sustainability. In this year’s edition of the winter school, Europaeum and UPF are highlighting the importance of transforming higher education in this complex and inevitable transition towards planetary wellbeing-.

Two talks open to the public given by two of the founding fathers of modern sustainability

The inauguration of the Europaeum Winter School will take place on 22 February, at 10:00, in the Multipurpose Hall of the Mercè Rodoreda building on the Ciutadella campus, with speeches from Oriol Amat , rector of UPF, and Dimitar Bechev , the (acting) programme director for Europaeum events.

Following on from a speech by Léla Mélon , in which she will introduce the programme and the structure of the winter school, is the inaugural speech (at 10:30): "The Anthropocene: Where on Earth are we going " , given by Will Steffen , emeritus professor at the Fenner School of Environment and Society (Australian National University, Canberra). Josep Maria Antó , professor of Medicine at UPF and director of the Planetary Wellbeing Winter School, will preside over the session, which is open to the public.

The second public talk, -The challenges of complexity and urgency of planetary wellbeing" , given by John Elkington , winner of the 2021 World Sustainability Award and founder of Volans (in the United Kingdom), will take place the following day, on 23 February at 10:00 am, also in the Multipurpose Hall of the Mercè Rodoreda building. Anyone interested in following these two talks, whether in-person or online, must register by completing this form.

Will Steffen , creator of the -planetary boundaries- concept, is an Earth System scientist whose research is largely focused on sustainability and climate change. He is a Councillor in the Australian Climate Council , which delivers information from independent experts on climate change, as well as a Senior Fellow at the Stockholm Resilience Centre in Sweden and member of the Anthropocene Working Group.

John Elkington, a world authority on corporate responsibility and sustainable capitalism and bestselling author, is the creator of the -triple bottom line- concept, which refers to an innovative accounting framework for companies, which consists of three parts: social, environmental and financial. Founder of Volans , an entity that works with leaders to make sense of an emerging future to unlock tomorrow’s markets, he has helped to create and incubate the global sustainability movement.

A programme that revolves around planetary wellbeing with world experts and experts from UPF, and in which art plays a leading role

The 2022 Europaeum Winter School on Planetary Wellbeing includes a programme structured into six panels of experts , interspersed with discussion and debate groups, presentations of papers by students from the Europaeum network and even an open session that will take place at the MACBA, to address the role of art in planetary wellbeing.

The titles given to the six panels , which are spread out across the four days, are: -Planetary Wellbeing: An Approach for Higher Education Institutions"; -Redefining Wellbeing: Conceptual Challenges-; -Understanding and Addressing the Challenges of Complexity and Urgency of Planetary Wellbeing-; -Challenges to Integrate Complex Interdisciplinary Knowledge to Inform Policies-; -The Agency of Art- and -Implementation Challenges: From Knowledge to Change-.

According to Lela Mélon , -The speakers at the Europaeum Winter School are today’s world authorities on planetary wellbeing, whether in the field of sustainability (environmental and social) or in the field of planetary health, and the intersection between these two areas, which would be the notion of -planetary wellbeing--.

Besides the two speakers whose sessions are open to the public, other prominent figures taking part include: Marc Fleurbay, Timothy Morton, Lydia Cole, Ortwin Renn, Andy Haines, Adrienne Cheasty, Pedro Conceição, Claudia Segura, TJ. Demos, John Dryzek, Phoebe Koundouri and Heidi Hatala.

Alongside these world experts, there will also be talks from the people leading the UPF Planetary Wellbeing institutional project, who feature in the first panel (22 February, 11:45, with Josep Maria Antó, Jaume Casals, Josep Lluís Martí and Lela Mélon). There will also be talks by UPF researchers working on issues related with planetary wellbeing, who will present their lines of research (Paula Casal, Ricard Solé, Santiago Zabala) and as chairs of the different sessions (Ester Oliveras, Cristina Pujades, Andrew Williams, Toni Luna, Isabel Valverde).

On 24 February, the MACBA will host an open session to reflect upon how art can help us to understand and respond to the challenges of the 21st century

The fifth panel , titled -The Agency of Art- , has been given a separate section. It will take place in the MACBA’s Meier Auditorium on 24 February, starting at 16:00, and is also open to the public and requires prior registration on the website. The purpose of the session, which will be live streamed, is to reflect upon how art can help us to understand and respond to the challenges of the 21st century. Participants will include: an art theorist (T.J. Demos), a philosopher (Santiago Zabala, ICREA research professor in UPF’s Department of Humanities) and a curator (Claudia Segura, curator at the MACBA)

Europaeum is a network of eighteen leading European universities, which UPF has been a part of since 2012. Created as a university -without walls-, it connects students from a diverse range of disciplines, cultures and countries, organising meetings to discuss European issues of interest. Its winter schools comprise workshops that follow initiatives of the member institutions, based on a local strength or specific academic approach and with a focus on cross-cutting and interdisciplinary issues.


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