On Tuesday, June 28, 2022, Franklin graduate students of the Master of Science in International Management (MSIM) with an emphasis in Responsible Management and Climate Action had the opportunity to pitch their final presentations from the FUS UNITAR Summer Experience directly at the United Nations Organizations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

This venue was the result of a component of their program, six weeks of practical and hands-on experience, along with United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) representatives in the areas of renewable energy, social justice, and the education for the SDGs. These themes were explored by the students in detail between December 2021 and the end of the Spring ’22 semester.

The student later broke out into two groups and concentrated on two distinct real-world projects, applying systemic thinking to business and organizational solutions:

  • “One UNITAR Gender”, supported by Afroditi Anastasaki, One UNITAR Gender Coordinator and Partnerships, at Office of Executive Director at UNITAR. The project specifically explored women's leadership and gender empowerment in the specific piloting countries of Malawi, Rwanda, and South Africa. Students Ann Jackson Edwards, Carina Souza and Kristen Abberley defined a curriculum to develop a course design to foster SDG5 education, that of gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls. The course design included the topics of leadership, communicating as a woman, fostering productive relationships, gender and negotiation, and mentorship.
  • “Clean Energy Project, Spectrum Uganda School”, led by Thomas Fohgrub, Team Leader of the Coordination Unit for the Global Action Plan for Energy in Displacement. Spectrum is a refugee secondary school located in the Kagoma village, part of the Kyangwali Refugee Settlement in Uganda. Sadly, it was recently destroyed by a large storm. Students Rachel Dottino, Marlene Hüther, Carmen Brodnax and Marco Permunian targeted a working solution to provide access to sustainable energy for the school, with long-term community benefits through education and training. Their action plan included creating a feasible financial plan, basic training for maintenance and installation, and the establishment of industry partnerships.

“Congratulations to the graduates of this year’s MSIM in Responsible Management and Climate Action. The student teams developed concrete recommendations for two ongoing projects at UNITAR, focusing on gender equality and sustainable energy, respectively. I thank the UNITAR colleagues who were involved in advising the students and look forward to seeing the graduates put their ideas and recommendations into practice” commented Jonas Haertle, Chief, Office of the Executive Director, United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), who was thrilled to welcome the Franklin delegation of students and staff to the UNITAR headquarters.

One of Franklin’s honorary degree recipients during the recent 2022 Commencement ceremony, Nikhil Seth, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director, United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), added “this master’s program at Franklin University Switzerland in collaboration with UNITAR provides students the opportunity to apply what they have learned into practice. I wish the graduates successful careers and encourage them to keep the curiosity going to pursue lifelong learning.”

The Geneva experience is yet another proof of the importance of the relationship between Franklin University Switzerland and UNITAR, which is of great enrichment for both parties.