Become a Leader in Sustainable Development
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Become a Leader in Sustainable Development

Learn how to use powerful tools and processes that prepare you to be an Innovative Change Maker.
0.0 (0 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
74 students enrolled
Last updated 9/2016
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  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 16 Articles
  • 3 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Identify their own blockages to accessing creative states
  • Understand the meaning and significance of “sustainable development”
  • Understand our Holistic Action Planning for Innovation methodology as a sustainable development tool
  • Understand the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
  • Participate in a local/global dialogue about the Campaign for the People's Goals.
  • Understand how Holistic Action Planning for Innovation (HAPI) can bring diverse stakeholders together to create solutions for sustainability
  • Participate in building sustainable development goals and an accountability framework for post-2015
  • Use existing tools and create their own tools to inspire sustainable solutions
View Curriculum
  • Adequate internet access to allow for downloading videos and accessing other resources online

WELCOME TO OUR ONLINE PUBLIC COURSE!  This is for you if you want to explore and become a pioneering leader in the sustainable development movement. We clarify the objectives, purpose, and goals of the sustainability movement in preparation of your becoming a CHANGE MAKER. This course aims to help you to not only realize your potential as a catalyst for change and but also thrive in the complexities of today's world. 

You will learn how to define "sustainable development", what policies and agendas currently influence sustainability worldwide, how you can engage locally and globally in aiding in the sustainable development movement, in what ways communities/organizations/individuals achieve sustainability, and with which methods and systems one might implement change. Through sharing our relationships with local NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organizations), we hope to provide the tools and resources for an emerging generation of leaders to engage in sustainability and social justice at the grassroots level.

The course is taught by Zach Towne-Smith, a cum laude Harvard graduate and co-founder of numerous Central American organizations, and Annie Goeke, Earth Rights Institute co-founder, UN NGO delegate, and leader in sustainable community building worldwide for over 30 years. The course includes creative exercises, information on existing campaigns (UN Millennium Development Goals and The Campaign for People’s Goals for Sustainable Development), and informative and virtual observations demonstrating our engagement with local Mayan communities using our Holistic Action Planning for Innovation methodology. This is designed by Imagitlan, a Guatemalan Non-Profit association, to research multiple perspectives, create collaborative solutions to shared needs, and develop a robust action plan including prototyping and evaluation. We use collaborative methodologies that help facilitate intercultural exchanges in the design of solutions for the specific needs of these communities. 

The course includes: comprehensive information on UN Global Goals and Together 2030 Campaign, creative workshops, virtual observation of our Holistic Action Planning for Innovation (HAPI) methodology being implemented in Mayan communities, and the opportunity to follow the solutions implemented over 6 months.

The course is structured to be taken over a period of seven weeks, with a commitment of 2-3 hours/week.  You can take the course at your own pace!

Taking this course will give you tools, resources and skills to be independently proficient in advancing the sustainability movements on local and global levels. Become a CHANGE MAKER dedicated to instituting a movement of inspiration and leadership.

Who is the target audience?
  • Experienced leaders in sustainable development looking for more tools on a global and local scale.
  • Individuals interested in fostering commitment to place, promoting vitality, acting as stewards, and forging peaceful connections beyond their community
  • Newcomers to the term "sustainable development" who would like to learn ways to build innovative solutions
  • International relations experts seeking new tools to implement sustainable development.
  • University professors interested in giving their students a participative experience in sustainable development
  • Students seeking alternative travel options that will allow them to interact deeply with local leaders and participate in creating innovative solutions that will sustainably improve quality of life.
  • Businesses interested in solutions for holistic sustainability and in implementing more meaningful social responsibility.
  • Organizations seeking to improve their own sustainability and improve quality of life in their communities and beyond
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Curriculum For This Course
30 Lectures
Pre-Course Information and Quiz
1 Lecture 01:02

Information on discussion etiquette and copyright to review before you begin the course.

Appropriate Discussion Behavior

This is a quiz to measure how much you know before you take the course. Disregard the score of the course, because it does not mean anything (we had to choose a "correct" answer in order to follow quiz formatting)

Pre-Course Quiz (No Wrong Answers)
11 questions
Week 1: Welcome!
3 Lectures 06:49

Hi leaders! Welcome to Leadership for Sustainable Development - Online. Good luck going through all the documents and videos in this course. Please give us any feedback at as you go through the course. We're looking forward to you joining together with this amazing group of leaders in sustainable development to save our world. Thanks for your ideas and support.

Please look over the text document in this lecture for information on the assignments for this week.

Week 1 Assignments

The Welcome Video - An introduction given by both instructors, Annie and Zach. They will give you an overview of the entire course, what to expect, how long and how you customize your time in taking the course. Each instructor talks about their background, what area of the course they will be focusing on and what the objectives to this course are to help you become a leader in sustainable development.

Preview 04:31

Please read and explore the questions in the Creative Diary. Then share on the forums your responses to the following questions:

  • What is creativity for you?
  • Why do we talk about developing access to creative states instead of developing creativity?
  • What blocks your access to creative states?
  • What can you do to transcend those blockages?
  • How can you help others identify and transcend their own blockages?
  • How are creativity and innovation related?
  • What role does innovation play in sustainable development?
  • Why are creative and informed leaders important for sustainable development?
Creative States
19 pages
Week 2: Sustainable Development Definition
3 Lectures 19:48

What is Sustainable Development? Who defines it and how do we describe so that it can be better understood?This presentation is about the literal definitions of sustainability and sustainable development as well as a discussion of those definitions.

Please read the text document in this lecture for a detailed list of this weeks assignments.

Week 2 Assignments

In this lecture, Annie will share our definition of Sustainable Development, explain the 3 spheres of Sustainability, and describe the 4 System Conditions of Sustainable Societies. You will learn about the basics of sustainable development and be able to compare what you thought it meant before watching this lecture and other suggested videos defining it.

Preview 08:25

In this lecture, Marta Benavides, Earth Rights Institute's Central American Consultant and UN delegate, defines her view of what 'Sustainability' means. She will give you a better understanding of a cross-cultural outlook on sustainability and what her perspective is as a global expert representing the people of the south.

What is Sustainability for Marta Benavides
Week 3: United Nations Global Goals and Sustainable Development
2 Lectures 01:00

Details on your assignments for Week 3. Learning about the global perspective of sustainable development. Getting a general outline of the United Nations MDGs and what next is evolving into the 2016 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Week 3 Assignments

Please look at the presentation below to learn about Together 2030. This will give you the current and most updated focus of the campaign. Additional information and resources on Together 2030 are available at the end of the presentation.

Together 2030 Presentation
Week 4: How to Achieve Sustainable Development
4 Lectures 21:58

Please follow the instructions in the text document to complete the assignments for week 4. These tasks will give you a better understanding of how The Global Goals are being implemented or addressed by either an organization, community or individual. The purpose is to give examples on how you can apply or engage yourself into the global sustainable development community.

Week 4 Assignments

In this lecture, Annie will describe how an organization, like Earth Rights Institute, works towards achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals. How sustainability comes about through integrating and interconnecting the issues and what are the building blocks to implement sustainable development. Do you think that it is necessary that non-profits and/or organizations should think through how they are creating sustainability within their own objectives?

Earth Rights Institute Works to Help Achieve the MDGs

In this lecture, Annie will explain step by step all the elements to build a sustainable community. The content and images are from Earth Rights Institute's work in building eco-villages in Africa. This lecture is about how a community addresses sustainable development. What building blocks are necessary to enable the community to move towards sustainability. You will learn the importance of communications and building a social base before a community can engage in sustainable development. And see how integrating and interconnecting the needs and issues of the community is the base for sustainability. The question is when do you know that a community is ready to learn to be self-reliant? What methods can help a community begin to develop a master plan to become sustainable.

Preview 10:32

In this lecture, Annie will explain how you as an individual can engage into becoming more sustainable. She will give you the 10 basic steps towards building sustainability in your life. You will learn how these steps are integrated and interconnected as well as why you need to look at yourselves and what your impact is on the world today.

You will learn that engaging in these 10 keys will make you more conscious and pro-active in becoming more sustainable in your lifestyle.

Preview 05:26
Week 5: The Importance of Context for Development
5 Lectures 16:35

Please follow the instructions in the text document to complete the assignments for week 5.

Preview 00:28

HAPI Process in San Marcos, Guatemala
Week 6: How to Create Sustainable Development
5 Lectures 16:14

Hi Everyone,

After watching lecture 21, please check our supplementary materials to learn more about Guatemala, the website of Earth Rights Institute Living Lab, and our partner Imagitlan to understand better what we do in Guatemala.

Week 6 Assignments

HAPI Process 2 in San Marcos, Guatemala

How successful were you at making a useful recommendation last week? It's time to evaluate!

Evaluate your Recommendation

A simple game that aims to have students reflect on their own ability to make decisions and then act on them, and how that ability relates to sustainable development.

Decide to do something, now DO IT!
Week 7: Where to go from here?
7 Lectures 14:41

Please read the attached text document for indications on how to complete the assignments for this final week. This Section also has extra resources to provide you with examples of what organizations are doing to be become active leaders for sustainable development and the Global Goals. Thanks for accompanying us on this journey! We hope to see you again soon.

Week 7 Assignments

Examination of the results of the HAPI implementation.

Preview 05:23

Concluding this exploration of Sustainable Development.

Wrap Up

A compilation of organizations doing sustainable development work in Guatemala.

Organizations in Guatemala

Some examples of macro sustainable development achievements.

International success stories

Final Assessment Essays

This is the final assignment. We would like to have your feedback. Please send your answers to The questionnaire can be downloaded in the resources for your convenience.

Final Assignment - Share your feedback
About the Instructor
Zachary Towne-Smith
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74 Students
1 Course
Social entrepreneur working in Guatemala since 2000

Zachary Towne-Smith is the Co-Executive Director of ERI Living Lab. He is an empathic and multi-faceted creative leader. After graduating Cum Laude from the Afro-American Studies department at Harvard in 1999, he moved to Guatemala City. He’s made a life in there for the past 14 years, co-founding a wide array of ventures, including a non-profit dedicated to awakening creativity and facilitating social innovation. He co-founded a business dedicated to creativity workshops and innovation consultancies. Zachary created an internationally successful Latin folk band, his own freelance photography business and the first capoeira group of Guatemala. He has also collaborated on a number of public health and educational projects.

Zachary is an extraordinary team player, working well with others in a wide variety of contexts and roles. He practices yoga and meditation, and travels as often as possible, constantly seeking out and pushing against his own paradigms. His participation on the ERI team brings a wealth of experience and many relationships throughout diverse sectors of Guatemala including public, private, and non-profit.

Annie Goeke
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74 Students
1 Course
Leader in sustainable community building for over 30 years

Annie de la Bouillerie Goeke, Co-Executive Director ERI Living Lab has 25 years of leadership and experience in planning, developing, and maintaining programs using sustainable, holistic approaches for social enterprises and community building worldwide. She is a current UN NGO delegate through Earth Rights Institute, (ERI) a non-profit she co-founded. ERI assists communities and local stakeholders to empower themselves, providing programs and education that promote, create, and teach economic sustainable development. As a global development expert, she has worked on a wide range of initiatives and programs worldwide. Some of the programs she has designed include: ecological community development, socio-economic capacity building projects, fair trade, eco-tourism, potable water solutions, waste management/recycling, appropriate energy, urban youth programs, peace building education, economic policy reform, local organic farming collectives and emerging new markets. She has presented at international conferences and forums on climate change, sustainable development and women in leadership roles, including the UN for the World Summit, World Social Forum, European Union, Australian Congress, and more. With ERI, she initiated in partnership with UCLA a Sustainable Community Development study abroad program in Dakar, Senegal. Her experience uniquely combines a wide breadth of knowledge about ‘green’ practices in the marketplace and the implementation process for sustainable development. She has developed an unmatched range of contacts and experts involved in climate change, sustainability, socially responsible businesses, green energy, good governance and economic policies that address poverty and land use. She has developed strong relationships with many Ministers, MPs, Executive Directors of relevant organizations and other prominent stakeholders worldwide who work on solution based models addressing today’s global challenges. She has been recognized by the well-known PR firm Brown Lloyd James as a leader in innovative thinking.