Annual Report: 2013
The UPEACE Centre for Executive Education (Centre) works with leaders from around the world to offer transformational educational experiences that are dynamic and engaging while inspiring our participants to have a positive impact in our interconnected world. The Centre offers three primary types of educational programs: online professional development courses, onsite professional development courses, and customized group experiences in Costa Rica.
2013 saw the launch of an important new initiative for the Centre, the ‘Diploma in Social Innovation,’ which consists in taking 5 of our established online or onsite courses during an 18-month period. The Diploma equips participants with the skills, tools and knowledge to either launch and grow a new social enterprise, or to be a social intra-preneur within an existing organization. To date, thirty participants from twenty different countries have enrolled in the Diploma,
As part of the Diploma and the Centre’s online efforts, in 2013 we expanded our portfolio online courses, to include the following six:
- Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Social Change
- Designing Your Life: Innovating from the Inside Out
- Mission Impossible? Measuring Impact & Outcomes
- Skills for Effective Negotiations
- Educating in Changing Times: Reflect, Rethink, Rebuild
- Social Media for Social Innovation
The online program receives strong reviews from participants, and we’re looking forward to its continued growth in 2013.
The Centre offered two open-enrollment onsite professional development courses in 2013. ‘Educating for the 21st Century’, which ran in July, explored the central question, “What should learners know, value and be able to do in a future that is hard to visualize?” In December 2013, we launched a newly developed course, ‘Positive Leadership,’ which draws on recent research in the field of positive psychology. Both courses, which brought a combination of local and international participants together to experience the UPEACE campus, were highly reviewed. These onsite workshops provide an ideal setting for hands-on learning and include a mix of lectures, guest speakers, activities and projects to allow for a dynamic classroom experience. They are a great way to get an “appetizer” of the UPEACE experience and community!
In 2013 the Centre for Executive Education also continued to expand its customized international programs for University groups and short-term study abroad programs. We hosted six groups for the following courses:
- Adelphi University’s Levermore Global Scholars Program: Sustainable Society: Peace, Human Rights & Development in Costa Rica
- San Jose State University’s Department of Counselor Education: Advanced Seminar in Counseling
- University of Wisconsin – Stout: Organizational Leadership in Costa Rica
- Saint Leo University, Master’s in Business Administration – Int’l Business Experience
- Outward Bound: Practicum on Experiential Peacebuilding
- University of Connecticut: Empowering Women through Social Entrepreneurship (this hybrid program, with both an online and a face-to-face component, built on a 2012 program funded by the U.S. Department of State and jointly run by UPEACE and the University of Connecticut.
In addition to our core projects, in 2013 the Centre entered into a partnership project entitled Erasmus Mundus Intercultural Competence (EMIC), funded by the European Union. In conjunction with the University of Glasgow (Scotland), University of Porto (Portugal) and University of Deusto (Spain), the Centre will help in the creation of an EMIC Toolkit that provides materials and guidance on customizing and implementing contextualized learning activities for developing intercultural competence. This will be an open educational resource used to help institutions better serve study abroad students (starting with Erasmus Mundus scholarship winners). In 2013, the Centre attended a kick-off meeting in Bilbao, Spain, to establish research methods and project goals for the next year and a half. Check out the project website to learn more – http://www.emic-project.org/.
Finally, 2013 was a year of big staff transitions for the Centre. We said a sad ‘farewell but not goodbye’ to Program Manager Alonso Muñoz as well as Centre Coordinator Karen Visoná. Karen’s year with the Centre allowed us to take our administrative systems to a new level, and Alonso’s five years with the Centre has been instrumental in building it to its current level – he continues to be stay involved as a ‘Strategic Advisor’. In 2013, the Centre created the new position of Associate Director and recruited Julia Delafield to fill this role. Julia, a UPEACE graduate herself, come with extensive experience both in the nonprofit as well as the business world, besides being bilingual in English and Spanish.
And just what will the future hold? In the coming year we will be further expanding the Diploma program by launching at least one more online course. We’ll also be launching our first-ever onsite workshop in Spanish in March titled, ‘Liderazgo Positivo’
Whether you’d like to build your skills in sunny Costa Rica, have us handle all the logistics for the group program you’ve been dreaming of running, or need a push in setting up your own social organization, we hope to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.