Education for a more sustainable world
Executive Education / 4 March, 2020
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Associate Dean Sustainable World Academy
Dr. Barbara Drexler is Head of Sustainable World Academy at Frankfurt School. She is also the programme director for Master of Leadership in Sustainable Finance – online. She is passionate on bringing a sustainable change and firmly believes that education can play an important role in bringing this change.

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Sustainable World Academy – Origins

SVGs? SDTs? What on earth do you mean? Back in January 2019, when the idea was born to launch the FS Sustainable World Academy, I was asked many times to explain the abbreviation Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – even by highly educated and well-read colleagues and friends.

Well, a lot has certainly changed since. 2019 will go down in history for Greta Thunberg and her Friday for Future movement, unprecedented climate events – heatwaves, storm, unbreathable air, dying corals, bushfires, locust swarms – and, finally, a growing sense of urgency.  (Literally) every schoolchild understands that climate action is urgently needed if the world is to be comfortably inhabitable beyond 2050. However, it is far less clear, how change will be brought about without hampering economic growth and growing prosperity in emerging and developing economies.

In other words, the timing for the launch of our FS Sustainable World Academy (SWA) was brilliant! Because at FS SWA we strongly believe that in fact it is possible to advance the UN SDGs in a pro-business kind of way, or as they say in English: it is possible to have your cake and eat it too.

What is Sustainable World Academy?

SWA offers professional and executive courses, which do not waste time with lofty phrases, but teach hands-on knowledge and skills on how to finance and manage a better future for all. Our value proposition is to educate bankers, microfinance professionals, policy makers, students and businesses dedicated to sustainability about concrete techniques, which can be put to use to achieve equitable and environmentally conscientious growth.

Over the past ten years, we have expanded our portfolio from a mere three to sixteen programmes. SWA offers courses either online or on campus and all are directly linked the advancement of SDGs. For example, our e-campus programme “Certified Expert in Agricultural Finance”  teaches participants the intellectual tools to promote the eradication of  poverty (SDG 1), zero hunger (SDG 2), responsible consumption (SDG 12) and better life on land (SDG 15) by providing small to medium agri-businesses with access to finance. These tools are tried and tested in field by our course developers.

In general, our courses are clustered in 6 rubrics – most importantly MSME Finance and Green Finance. The SDGs addressed in these courses are No Poverty (SDG 1), Decent Work and Economic Growth (SDG 8), Reduced Inequalities (SDG 10) as well as Affordable and Clean Energy (SDG 7), Climate Action (SDG 13), and Life on Land (SDG 15). Other clusters include Risk and Treasury, Agricultural Finance, Leadership & Management and Digital Transformation.  From September 2020, we will offer Master of Leadership in Sustainable Finance – online, which will build the leadership skills of an individual to bring sustainable change on national and global level.

For a business school, we are more than committed to deliver all 17 SDGs via Sustainable World Academy by 2022. Frankfurt School’s International Advisory Services has been a market leaders in consulting projects related to financial inclusion since 1990. Through these courses, we are bringing our field expertise into academics. Thus, bridging the gap between education and sustainability.

It has been my true pleasure to head the FS Sustainable World Academy this past year. Together with my colorful and ambitious team, we have shaped the knowledge and skills of more than 3.000 participants from more than 120 countries in 2019. It is quite a privilege to spend each working day promoting two of my great passions in life: education and sustainability.

I look forward to the adventures the new decade holds!