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UNESCO Accolade for Sustainability Initiatives

The Virtual Academy of Sustainability and the Hochschule an Nachhaltigkeit – HOCH-N (sustainability at higher education institutions – HOCH-N) network at the university have been recognized by the German Commission for UNESCO (DUK) and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

The Virtual Academy of Sustainability helps German-speaking higher education institutions to achieve the goal of the UNESCO Global Action Programme by providing free access to video-based courses and blended learning concepts with an innovative teaching concept. The online courses of the Virtual Academy of Sustainability are designed in such a way that they can be integrated into individual curricula as elective or compulsory courses in the area of open or general studies.

Worldwide Success with Online Courses

The DUK and the BMBF acknowledged the particularly strong integration of sustainability principles in the educational content and methods of the Virtual Academy. With around 12,000 examination registrations since its foundation, the learning environment has a strong appeal, and other higher education institutions also include Virtual Academy courses in their course catalogues, both in Germany and worldwide.

Teaching Concepts for Socio-Ecological Transformation

HOCH-N was awarded as a network for the promotion of sustainable development in all central structures and areas of activity of the participating higher education institutions. In the meantime, a quarter of all German higher education institutions have been networked with each other through the HOCH-N sustainability network. The networking work package at the University of Bremen is developing innovative workshop formats to promote the socio-ecological transformation of society. “Interactive methods such as system constellations and Lego Serious Play are intended to stimulate systematic thinking. This will allow new ideas and initiatives to emerge in the HOCH-N project that do justice to the complexity of the task,” explains Professor Georg Müller-Christ, coordinator of both initiatives at the University of Bremen. He adds: “We are very pleased with the accolade and, at the same time, are encouraged to continue contributing to making society as a whole more sustainable through our initiatives.”

The project was initiated by the network of the same name – the Hochschule an Nachhaltigkeit – HOCH-N. The University of Bremen is one of the eleven founding members. The aim of network is to anchor the topic of sustainability in six subareas of German higher education institutions. These subareas are research, enterprise, sustainability reporting, teaching, transfer, and governance in particular.

Background: Education for Sustainable Development

Since 2016, the German Commission for UNESCO and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research have been recognizing education initiatives once a year as part of the national implementation of the UNESCO Global Action Programme on Education for Sustainable Development. Sustainable development means achieving human dignity and equal opportunities for all in a sound environment. Education is central to sustainable development. It enables people to make decisions for the future and to assess how their own actions will affect future generations or life in other areas of the world.

Additional Information: (In german only)


Professor Georg Müller-Christ
University of Bremen
Faculty of Business Studies & Economics
in particular Sustainable Management
Tel.: +49 421 218-66780
E-mail: gmcprotect me ?!uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de

Virtual Academy of Sustainability
Katharina Lingenau
Tel.: +49 421 218-66788
E-mail: lingenauprotect me ?!uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de

HOCH-N – Hochschule an Nachhaltigkeit
Merle K. Tegeler
Tel.: +49 421 218-66789
E-mail: tegelerprotect me ?!uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de


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Anchoring sustainability principles in educational content and methods is playing an increasingly important role. Two initiatives of the University of Bremen have now been recognized for their exemplary work in this field.