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Sustainable Development Practicum in Auroville, India

How does communication work as local government bodies, civil-society actors and NGOs put together sustainable development initiatives? How can communication be improved? Cutting across disciplines, this practicum will allow you to see individuals, groups and communities in collaboration (and sometimes conflict) in a South Asian context marked by the 2004 tsunami.

We’re not importing development. We’re studying, examining, and participating in the development that’s already happening there.

Prof. Charles Talcott

The Sustainable Development Practicum, located in the UNESCO-recognized township of Auroville, near the vibrant South Indian seaside town of Pondicherry, is a unique, intensive field course. Your classes in sustainable development and development communications will be combined with site visits and opportunities to pursue internship or volunteer experiences with non-governmental organizations, so that you will be able to work on media and communications projects for local NGOs committed to social, cultural, and economic development in urban and rural communities.

The Practicum’s annual trip to Auroville functions as a month-long practical exploration of the themes you’ll have discussed in class, revolving around how communication works and can be improved upon in the world of sustainable development. During that month, you will regularly update a class blog with thoughts on the trip and how your approach towards the region and the issues at hand are evolving. Past students have written about topics as varied as re-evaluations of life in the Western world, how democratic societies can thrive, and discussions of other organizations that are working towards sustainability within the region. Find out more on the blog!