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    EARTH University and the Faculty of Health Sciences at the American University of Beirut, in partnership with The MasterCard Foundation, are currently in the feasibility and planning phase for a collaborative Global Master’s program in Health and Sustainable Development.
    The planning for the program is expected to be completed by early 2015.

    Why a program in Global Health and Sustainable Development?

    There are currently 7 billion people in the world and despite much progress and advances, almost one of every five still live on less than $1.25 per day and almost a billion go hungry. Inequities in education, health, and other critical factors for development remain and many are growing, both within and between countries. The Millennium Development Goals are partially met and future compliance seems an uphill battle.

    In order to address global problems, academia needs to produce ethical agents of change with the skills and ability to think across disciplines to find creative solutions for global challenges and to help those most in need. The foundation of this knowledge and experience requires the transformative acquisition of more dynamic competencies in global health, sustainable development, and social entrepreneurship.

    Why EARTH and AUB?

    EARTH University and the American University of Beirut (AUB) have a history of academic collaboration. EARTH was founded in Costa Rica in 1986 to promote sustainable rural development in Latin America and the Caribbean. It aims to address environmental and social challenges through cutting-edge, relevant education that fosters strong values, leadership and a lifelong commitment to social and environmental service. Today, students from more than thirty countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, and the Middle East attend EARTH. The University recruits young leaders from economically underprivileged communities in these regions to provide a unique learning opportunity to youth who otherwise might not have access to a college education.

    The Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) at AUB is the first independent school of public health in the Arab region. Its Graduate Public Health Program (GPHP) is guided by a set of core values that stem from its context and emphasize equity and social justice. The GPHP trains students in public health with a dedication to community service and improving the health and well-being of disadvantaged populations.

    About the Master’s program

    Currently, project coordinators at EARTH and AUB are working together to create an innovative, collaborative Master’s program model that addresses the global need for integrated training in global health and sustainable development, and which recognizes that human health and well-being are intrinsically linked to the health and well-being of the planet, and to social justice and human rights. By early 2015, the project team will have identified key collaborators and stakeholders of global repute to support the design and launch of the program.

    The Master’s program will bring students from all regions of the world and from diverse socio-economic backgrounds and work experience. The two-year curriculum will expose students to real world problems in Latin America, the Middle East, Asia and Africa and enable them to develop relevant competencies. Students will be encouraged to transform ideas into actions, significantly impacting governance and policy by mobilizing communities to influence development agendas, as well as empowering them to take action.

    Meet our project team

    Project coordinators:

    BK Singh, PhD
    Professor, Soils
    EARTH University

    Maha Damaj, PhD
    Assistant Professor of Public Health Practice
    Faculty of Health Sciences
    American University of Beirut

    Research Assistants:

    Elsy Maria Dumit, BS
    Faculty of Health Sciences, AUB

    Faculty Advisors at EARTH University:

    Rebeca García, MSc.
    Bert Kohlmann, PhD
    José Moro, PhD
    Luis Ernesto Pocasangre, PhD
    Marvin Weil, PhD

    Faculty Advisors at AUB:

    Rima Afifi, PhD
    Jocelyn DeJong, PhD
    Sawsan Abdulrahim, PhD
    Omar Dewachi, MD PhD
    Samer Jabbour, MD MPH
    Carla Makhlouf, PhD
    Judy Makhoul, PhD
    Nasser Yassin, PhD

    Steering Committee:

    José Zaglul, PhD
    EARTH University

    Iman Nuwayhid, MD, DrPH
    Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences
    American University of Beirut

    Project timeline

    March-August 2013: Develop work teams at each institution; conduct literature review and identification of best practices; review existing similar Master’s programs in terms of scope, mandate, and audience; explore models of collaborations and governance across countries in offering academic degrees; convene first meeting of EARTH/FHS-AUB teams.

    September 2013-February 2014:
    Develop competencies for the Master’s program and agree on program vision, mission, objectives, and competencies; define program’s theory of knowledge; define the concepts of transformative learning.  Undertake a market survey to assess demand for the program, and conduct employer and student surveys and focus groups.

    March 2014-February 2015:
    Convene an international conference on global health; convene the meeting of EARTH, FHS-AUB and potential partner institutions; conduct meetings to define degree criteria and program logistics; continue meetings between EARTH and FHS-AUB to fully develop program; develop course offerings, finish feasibility study and finalize the program proposal.

    How to get involved

    There are various opportunities for involvement for academic institutions, researchers and practitioners interested in global health or sustainable development or any of their key determinants. In addition to engaging a scientific advisory board, educational consultant, and an evaluation expert, the program will be convening a conference for thought leaders, and engaging in interviews/surveys with potential employers and students.  In addition, during the two years of the feasibility study, EARTH and FHS-AUB will be looking for at least three more academic institution to join the project. Institutions will be selected based on their passion and commitment to the vision of the program, expertise in the required key competencies, and geographic location across the globe.  Funding partners are being sought for the program’s implementation after the feasibility study and business plan have been completed.

    If you are interested in learning about this program, its vision, and its one-of-a-kind transformative educational approach to global health and sustainable development, we invite you to contact us.