Berivan Mine Ferhanoğlu from Turkey is the Stratleade grant recipient for 2014. You can now read her story here
MSLS has a very different methodology than I was used to, and has taught me, in this fast-paced world that we’re living, the value of taking time to look at things from different perspectives, breathing deeply, and focusing on the process. I have also learnt the value of cooperation, co-creation; working together to create a better world that we all want.
Understanding the dynamics and structure for these collaborations to happen, and the importance of collaborative leadership, are the some of key lessons that I brought from Karlskrona, for my work, and my life. I feel confident and empowered, and grateful, for being part of the MSLS family, this community of sharing and understanding. I know that, wherever I go, I can count on them to support me, and inspire me.
Writing the thesis, in groups, was the best way to practice everything we had been learning - and still are. Together with my thesis mates, Johanne Gallagher and Peter Orell, we have researched about communication and planning tools for ecovillages from a strategic sustainable development perspective. We were really fortunate to count on the help of prominent experts on the field and ecovillages from around the world.
Next for me: I will work with the social and environmental programs for a mining industry in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, almost 2000 km from my home in southern Brazil.
I want to once more express my gratitude for the MSLS staff, my wonderful classmates, my thesis mates and our advisors, and my landlord in Karksrona. Most importantly, I thank StratLeade and everyone that supports it, for making this wonderful experience possible.
And now, as this new life begins for me, once again, far from home, I know that my home is within me, in my heart, in all these teachings, memories, and my wonderful friends from around the world.
by Olivier Mazimpaka, MSLS '12
This past year was an incredible experience studying at the MSLS programme at BTH. My two colleagues and I focused our thesis on “The Contribution of Religious belief in Moving Society Towards Sustainability”, because we believe that “Religious communities have achieved remarkable behaviour change in situations where non-faith-based communication failed” (Palmer and Finlay 2003). We ended up finding that religious concepts such as stewardship and the Golden Rule are key motivations, which can give guidance on sustainability. However, these concepts are not consciously exploited.
Furthermore, our research found that both religious leaders and people lack a full understanding of sustainability and are not strategic about moving towards sustainability, and that religious communities could greatly benefit from adopting a strategic sustainable development (SSD) approach. It was a very good experience since it was the first time in our university to link religion to sustainability. We found that connecting religion and sustainability was powerful in engaging people and our colleagues. Our most interesting findings came when we started interviewing church leaders and religious experts.
Now I am back in my home country, and at my university, the National University of Rwanda. I have already talked to my rector and he encouraged me to continue on with my work in the sustainability field, and suggest a proper plan on e-waste management, and recycling. I am working on this already. I am also trying my best to get the university working with the MSLS program of BTH, in order to share knowledge and learn from their sustainability experience.
I believe our students and researchers could benefit from MSLS experience and improve the sustainability program in Rwanda on the academic side as well, especially by training many institutions and universities to use FSSD. I would also like to pursue my sustainability studies to PhD level so that I can better provide my contribution to the National University of Rwanda and to my country and region in general.