Tag Archives: Right Livelihood Campus

RLC research exchange: Professor Fuders from the RLC Campus Valdivia, Chile, works at the RLC Campus Bonn

Professor Dr. Felix Fuders, Director of the Economic Institute of the Universidad Austral de Chile, will spend a research term at the RLC Campus in Bonn. His research will focus on the privatisation and exploitation of natural resources, and its effects on economic efficiency, natural environment and on sustainable development.

The RLC Campus Bonn welcomes Felix Fuders to the team. Further information on past and current research projects can be found in his CV here. 

Further articles published by Felix Fuders can be perceived here.


Second Chula Right Livelihood Summer School successfully took place in Thailand and in Bhutan

Between July 10th and August 7th 2016 the second Chula Right Livelihood Summer School was held in Thailand and Bhutan. Divided into two parts, the first part took place in Bangkok,Thailand, on July 10th  to 23rd , while the second part of the Summer School took place in Bhutan July 24th to August 7th. The Summer School was organised by the Chulalongkorn University, the Sathirakoses Nagapradipa Foundation (SNF), the Royal University of Bhutan (RUB) and by Dr. Timmi Tillmann (RLC), based on a MoU between these institutions.

The focus of the first part of the workshop was put on the conceptual and experiential exploration, field work on Right Livelihood as well as on land rights and land grabbing in the Mekong region and Asia. Several resource persons such as Walden Bello (RLA 2003) and Kartini Samon from GRAIN (RLA 2011) accompanied the Summer School and gave insights into their work and visions. Walden Bello, for instance, emphasized the importance of a more direct democratic system based on equity, justice and ecological balance while Kartini Samon stressed the need of an alternative food system promoting food sovereignty.

During the second part of the Summer School, taking place in Bhutan, the participants learned and practiced Participatory Action Research (PAR) with local farm households in the Punakha and Wangdue Districts of Bhutan, thus giving the local community a voice to express their knowledge, values and ideas about their livelihoods and to develop a vision of the future for their own wellbeing. The students were given an introduction to the situation of Agri-Culture and rural livelihoods in Bhutan where the government is seeking a full organic agriculture by 2020. After a methodical preparation of the fieldwork, the participants worked on 4 field sites in Punakha and Wangdue. The aim was to generate ideas together on Right Livelihood using visual PAR Tools about the future of food and Agri-Culture for small-scale farmers in different regions of Bhutan as well as to strengthen self-reliance on healthy food. The Summer School was supported by the expertise of several RLA Laureates including Dr. Anwar Fazal (RLA 1982).

Click here to view the video summary of CURLS.

RLC Lund PhD course: Theories of Nature – Anthropocenic Views

On April 11th to 13th 2016, the RLC Lund and the LUCSUS (Centre for Sustainability Studies) held a PhD course revolving around the various theories of nature, focusing on the areas of evolution, ecology, geomorphology and soils as well as agriculture.

Following themes were covered:

  • Evolutionary theories: From Darwin to Synthetic biology.
  • Ecological theories: From ”balance of nature” to resilience and ”coupled social ecological systems”.
  • Theories of the geosphere: From Davis’ and Penck’s theories of geomorphology to “Humanity as a geological force”
  • Theoretical challenges of agriculture: From annual monocultures to perennial polycultures

During the three-day workshop, the participants had the opportunity to discuss the concept of the Anthropocene, the proposed epoch marked by humanity’s impact on the earth starting around 1950, as well as seminal papers with several senior scholars. Contributions in form of lectures and presentations came from, for instance, Dr. Tim Crews of The Land Institute in the USA and Prof. Johannes Persson of the Lund University.

2nd India-Sweden exchange seminar took place in Lund, Sweden

A report on the PhD course “Critical Urban Theory in Practice”  Module II, Sweden Lund 4-8 April 2016
by Dr. Maryam Nastar: Course Organizer, Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies

The second module of the PhD course, Critical Urban Theory in Practice started off on 4 April 2016 with 8 students from India, UK and Sweden. This module was organized and funded by Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS), one of the Right Livelihood College (RLC) campuses. The initiative was also co-funded by the Robert Bosch Foundation through the Global Secretariat of RLC in Bonn, Germany. Further information on the first module can be found in the section Campus-News of RLC Mumbai.

After an introduction to the course by Dr. Maryam Nastar, Dr. Turaj Faran presented elements of social movements and contributing factors to their success and failure. This was followed by Prof. Eric Clark’s lecture on political, historical and economic forces that social movements are up against, within the urban context. On the second day of the course, Dr. Anders Lund Hansen and Emmerik Warburg, from Christiania Researchers In Residence (CRIR.net), led a fieldtrip to Freetown Christiania, in Copenhagen, Denmark. During the excursion, students got to know about the history of the community struggles and the challenges that community activists have faced over the last decades in relation to public spaces and property in Christiania.

Students during the fieldtrip to Freetown Christiania. Photo by
Dr. Maryam Nastar, LUCSUS.

The fieldtrip and earlier literature reviews formed the basis for seminar discussion on the day after. This was followed by Dr. Maja Essebo’s lecture on instances of struggles for urban spaces in the global North and the notion of the right to the city in practice. By taking off from the field observations and going back to critical urban theory, Dr. Andy Merrifield, the course guest lecturer, expanded on Lefebvre’s notion of the right to the city through an excellent lecture on the origin of the concept and how it is co-opted by different organizations in contemporary urban studies and research.

The public lecture by Dr. Andy Merrifield. Photo by Dr. Maryam Nastar, LUCSUS.
On the last day of the course, Dr. Merrifield gave an open lecture about Professional and Amateur Urbanism in our Urban Age, wherein he discussed the dominant camps of urban studies and how critical urban thinkers can contribute to challenging these perspectives. For more info about this public lecture, can be found here.
Finally, Dr. Mine Islar presented a lecture on new vocabulary of citizenship and the figure of activist citizen and the course was ended by the students’ presentations over two main themes:        1.The impact of the transformation of urban spaces on urban struggles and 2. Social movements and citizenship practices that can potentially address the urban issues. Students impressively used the course materials and concepts to apply these themes to the case study of Christiania and they well demonstrated how critical urban theory can be used in analyzing urban challenges and opportunities.
The course organizer would like to thank all the lecturers and students for their contributions to and participation in the course. Particularly, many thanks to Dr. Turaj Faran for his time and support in the planning phase and in participating the course activities which lifted up the level of teaching and learning to the fullest.

A collective picture of the course participants in Christiania, Copenhagen, Denmark. Photo by Dr. Maryam Nastar, LUCSUS.


1st India-Sweden exchange seminar took place in Mumbai with Laureate Medha Patkar

The first module of the PhD course, “Critical Urban Theory: Citizenship, Marginalities, Livelihood Struggles and Innovations in Practice” took place in Mumbai, India from 4 to 8 of January.

The joint Phd Course is organized by Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS) in collaboration with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and its Centre for Livelihoods and Social Innovation (CLSI).

A more detailed report on the first part of this seminar can be found
in the section Campus-News of RLC Mumbai.


1st seminar on ‘Critical Urban Theory in Practice’ took place in Mumbai

RLC-Campus very small

The first module of the PhD course, “Critical Urban Theory: Citizenship, Marginalities, Livelihood Struggles and Innovations in Practice” took place in Mumbai, India from 4 to 8 of January.
Report by Dr. Maryam Nastar, LUCSUS

The joint Phd Course is organized by Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS) in collaboration with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and its Centre for Livelihoods and Social Innovation (CLSI).

During the first module of the course, TISS (CLSI) hosted around 15 students from India and Sweden together with LUCSUS faculty. Over a week of lectures and heated seminar discussions, students discussed how critical urban theory on issues surrounding redevelopment of slums can potentially contribute to bringing housing and other urban spaces under democratic control.

The public lecture by Medha Patkar, the Right Livelihood Laurate. Photo by Prof. Eric Clark, LUCSUS
The public lecture by Medha Patkar, the Right Livelihood Laurate. Photo by Prof. Eric Clark,  LUCSUS

As a part of the course, the Right Livelihood Laureate, Medha Patkar held a public lecture in TISS. Participants listened to her inspiring and powerful voice and her extensive experience of mobilizing community and slum dwellers to access to shelter and basic services. Known as an influential icon for the struggles in India and beyond, Medha Patkar talked about various social and political actions led by her to oppose to slum rehabilitation projects that are poorly communicated to the residents of affected areas, and thus, have been instruments for evicting people with no alternative houses or right to land.

Organized by TISS modular course students and faculty and inspired by Medha Patkar’s public lecture, the participants visited her grass-roots initiatives and slum improvement projects in Mumbai, over a day of fieldtrip to East Vikhroli.

Informed by the course materials and insights gained from the field visit, the participants explored and discussed driving forces behind displacement as well as activities that can support the community struggle against constant fear of eviction and homelessness. This was performed during last day of the course and in the format of student group presentations.
The course was rounded off with the LUCSUS faculty’s panel discussion wherein teachers presented some of their ongoing research, and together with PhD and Master’s students, they discussed objectives and rationale of grass-root initiatives and social movements.

Collective photo on last day of the course. LUCSUS and TISS faculty together with some of students. Photo by Dr. Maryam Nastar, LUCSUS
Collective photo on last day of the course. LUCSUS and TISS faculty together with some of students. Photo by Dr. Maryam Nastar, LUCSUS

The second module of the course will be held in Lund, Sweden from 4 to 8 of April, 2016.

LUCUS invites all the eligible PhD candidates to register for the second module by 15 February. More information about the course content can be found here:


List of organizers and teachers:

Dr. Maryam Nastar, LUCSUS, Course coordinator/Lecturer

Dr. Banerjee Swati, TISS, Co-organizer/Lecturer

Dr. Santha Sunil, TISS, Co-organizer/Lecturer

Prof. Eric Clark, LUCSUS/Human Geography, Lecturer

Dr. Mine Islar, LUCSUS, Lecturer

Dr. Turaj Faran, LUCSUS, Lecturer


Helen Mack Chang visits the Campus Austral in Valdivia, Chile

From the 8th to 12th November 2015 the RLC CAMPUS VALDIVIA had the pleasure to host the 1992-RLA-Laureate from Guatemala, Helen Mack, with whom we realized a lot of activities that we would like to share with you.
Helen Mack is an activist, famous for her ongoing fight to defend human rights. She was given the RLA for her perseverance in the search of Justice after the brutal killing of her sister Myrna Mack in 1990 who was a social anthropologist and conducting a research on the displacement due to the war in Guatemala. Results of this investigation where, as we can imagine, not in the interests of the dictatorship, which led to the brutal killing of Myrna Mack as a direct consequence.

1) Talk with pre- and post-grad studentsIMG_0186

On Monday afternoon, in an ambiance of closeness and trust, Helen shared her experience what it was and still is like to be an activist in Guatemala, her ongoing struggles to fight for human IMG_0253rights, her winnings and failings, her motivation and her fears and her role in the Foundation Myrna Mack, founded by Helen Mack.

Next to students from the Master’s Program in Development on a Human Scale and Ecological Economics and “SPRING” (Urban and Rural Planning), there were also numerous law students and professors attending the talk with Helen Mack, being interested in the history and the lessons from someone who’s activism successfully change the juridical system of a country.








2) Open Conference


At full house, Helen presented her story to university authorities, teachers, students and people from the civil society and organizations of human rights of Valdivia. In this instance, she shared her experience of 25 years of struggle against the impunity following the murder of her sister, showing the savagery which involved policies taken by the State and which devastated more than 23 indigenous communities in Guatemala, over 85% of those affected in their human rights. Therefore, Helen has been known for being the only Guatemalan to denounce it publicly without fear, despite death threats and strategies of intimidation that she has received during her fight. Helen called on us young people to be irreverent, rebels and to fight so that we as a society can overcome once and for all the culture of impunity, which have been lived by our precursor generations with so much pain and suffering.

3) Visiting the House of Memory (La casa de la Memoria) in Valdivia

During this activity, Helen was received by social leaders of human rights organizations; the Association of detainees, disappeared people and former political prisoners of Valdivia. She was given a tour of the House and listened to those who are witnesses and survivors of the atrocities that occurred during the time of the dictatorship in Chile.


“We share our experience of life during the oppression, as a way to keep alive the unofficial stories which not have been told so that in the future these atrocities will never be repeated.”


4) Dinner with the Rector of the Universidad Austral of Chile


The authorities of the University Austral de Chile hosted a dinner where they thanked Helen for her presence Valdivia and projected potential joint action to strengthen closer networks and strategies between the winners of the “Alternative Nobel Prize”, the Academy, the local community, the students in order to development and facilitate future research with multidisciplinary approaches.

5) Getting to know the city of Valdivia and the Region and getting to know us on a personal level

20151111_164338The opportunity to have Helen at the UACh was not “wasted” and we took some time to show Helen our reality, our city, the market, museums, IMG_0167the river and the Pacific Ocean… We made sure that she now knows Valdivia and its culinary flavors. A group of students also accompanied her to the lake Llanquihue, to see the Puyehue, Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes in Puerto Varas.

All this time we shared, we talked about our lives and realities, about the studies and the thesis, our research
and we were happy to receive her advice and vision. Helen left us with one impression humanity and closeness. We could share ideas on the different perspectives of rural areas in Guatemala, in Colombia, and Chile, we could also discuss the controversial topic of GMOs from a systemic and critical perspective, the joint in geopolitical terms and the territorialization hiding Gigantism through the trans-nationalization and privatization in the use of this type of technologies that threaten the socio-cultural heritage in rural southern Chile agriculture.



Víctor Bonilla, one of the first scholars of the Right Livelihood College and compatriot of Helen, mentioned during the talk: “… Helen, without a doubt, having you here to present, to dedicate your time patiently, to learn from your courage and bravery, reminded me of my land, our accent and lead me to share with my classmates symbols and meanings of the Mayan culture and ideas about different discipline. Talking a common language between a German ecologist, a Colombian industrial engineer, a Peruvian journalist, two anthropologists; a Chilean and an Argentine, a Chilean lawyer and two Colombian economists, learning along with fellows of law in undergraduate studies, was for me with my training in agricultural sciences, an excitingly beautiful experience that I simply ran out of words to express it…”

We thank the Robert Bosch Foundation, which financed the trip to Valdivia, UACh and made it possible for Helen to visit us. Special thanks to Helen, who dedicated us these days, thank you for your simplicity human quality, its strength and courage that has been for us an example and inspiration! Helen encouraged us and challenged to build a better future, to look critically and alternative world in which we live… It was without a doubt an enriching experience. Thank you Helen!



Juan Pablo Orrego visits the Right Livelihood College in Valdivia

Juan Pablo Orrego / Grupo de Acción por el Biobío (Chile)

“…for his personal courage, self-sacrifice and perseverance in working for sustainable development in Chile.”

This Monday, the 2nd of November 2015, we, the Right Livelihood College the the University Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile, were happy to receive Juan Pablo Orrego. During two extensive sessions, one in the morning exclusive for the students and one open to the public in the afternoon, we learned about his life, his goals in life and about his important and influencing pro activism in Chile.

Juan Pablo Orrego, laureate in 1998,  was born in 1949, and has a Master in Environmental Studies (1986). At a younger age he was a composer and singer in a popular urban folklore group. In 1991 he helped to establish and was also elected to be general coordinator of the Grupo de Acción por el Biobío (GABB) to attempt to stop the construction of six dams in the Biobío River in southern Chile, one of South America’s most spectacular rivers and one of great ecological significance. Its watershed is also home to the Pehuenche indigenous people, numbering about 10,000.  In Chile the Biobío has become a symbol of the environmental and social struggle, which is still going on in the country. According to authorities and analysts the Biobío campaign has had a significant influence on the story of hydro development in Chile … for the better.

Today,  Juan Pablo Orrego is known for his ongoing activism with his ONG “Ecosistema” in Santiago, aimed at the protection of rivers and indigenous communities from hydro power plant schemes and their effects.


During a 3 hour session in the morning with 26 students from 7 countries and 3 Masters Programs (Urban and Regional Planning, Development on a human scale and ecological economics and Rural Development),  Juan Pablo Orrego allowed us a deep insight in his earlier life, his spirituality and his reasons and motivations that led him to be the activist he is  today.

DSC_5798In the afternoon, in a presentation open to the public, he talked about the current and recent situation in Chile regarding the politics of water, energy and indigenous right. He emphasized in the lessons we, as a community, have to take from the current estate of arts, the ecological crisis and the loss of empathy between humans, and between humans and nature. “I am sure, that we as a human community, can solve the ecological crisis if we work together. The problem is, that we have to start today, because I am not sure, how much time we have left!”


Thank you, Juan Pablo Orrego, for this amazing and insightful day!
The Right Livelihood College from Valdivia!


Environmental Author and Activist Bill McKibben Speaks at UCSC Feb 26th

Common Ground Center at the University of California is honored to host Right Livelihood Award Laureate Bill McKibben on Thursday, February 26, 2015 in the Kresge Town Hall. Bill will present via Skype (in honor of greenhouse gas reduction) beginning at 2pm with Q&A to follow until 3pm. Following his talk will be a series of interactive exercises, inspired by Joanna Macy’s Work That Reconnects, World Café conversations and a free dinner prepared by India Joze, with an anticipated end time of 6:00pm. Continue reading Environmental Author and Activist Bill McKibben Speaks at UCSC Feb 26th

RLC Valdivia offering scholarships

RLA vice president Dr Monika  Griefahn and UACh rector Dr. Victor Cubillos at the opening ceremony of RLC Campus Valdivia, Photo: RLC Valdivia
Opening ceremony of RLC Campus Valdivia, Photo: RLC Valdivia

2014 marked an important milestone in the history of the RLC, with Valdivia becoming the first campus in South America. The new campus in Valdivia is now offering two full college scholarships for an MA in Human Scale Development and Ecological Economics. Information on the fellowship is available in Spanish and application materials are ready for download. Continue reading RLC Valdivia offering scholarships