Global Transformations

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How can systemic drivers of global challenges be identified? What are transformations and how do they come about? How can different forms of experimentation and adaptive learning be used to achieve transformation? This one-week module focuses on the development of competencies for contemporary global leaders working to tackle global challenges. It is designed for programme coordinators, project leaders, strategists, and other individuals seeking to facilitate transformative solutions in their work. It uses both interdisciplinary theories and insights from practice to equip participants with the skills to critically understand complex global challenges and confront them in practice.

The world is confronting a complex set of global challenges as expressed in the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. Addressing these challenges requires profound transformations. While these challenges are universal, they are experienced across the globe in many and different local contexts. Hence, solutions need to be rooted in local contexts, but also draw on and contribute to emerging global and more universal standards. The search for new solutions for addressing these challenges is ongoing. They have generated a thick and dense web of transnational communities of people and organizations, including a wide range of international organisations and a host of smaller and bigger formal and informal transnational networks, navigating and contesting the nature of and solutions for global challenges.

This one-week module is offered by Utrecht University’s Centre for Global Challenges, a joint initiative of the Faculty of Humanities and the Faculty of Law, Economics, and Governance. The Centre promotes interdisciplinary collaboration and experimentation between Utrecht University researchers, its students, and societal stakeholders from across the globe. Our aim is to critically understand and confront in transformative ways those global challenges that intersect human rights, conflict & security, sustainability, and equity.

It aims to generate a critical understanding of global challenges and the notion of transformations. It addresses questions such as: why are transformations necessary and helpful to address global challenges? How are these challenges related? It also develops an understanding of the different perspectives in which transformations are being approached, its commonalities, differences and best practices. It draws on a variety of disciplines such as global history, law, political science, sustainable transitions studies, science and technology studies and development economics. It begins by examining the notion of transformation in various discourses and connections with societal change and globalization, what do transformations imply from a systems perspective, and how transformations are understood and implemented in different disciplines and organisations. It ends with a discussion on possible new governance models for confronting global challenges, exploring the notion of experimental governance in more detail.

A limited number of need-based [partial] scholarships is available for this course. Please indicate if you would like to apply for this benefit in your motivation letter.

Those interested in this module may be interested in the two-week TRACK on Global Transformations and Ethical Judgement. The two-week Global Transformations Certificate Programme not only provides participants a broad vision that includes comparative and interdisciplinary education from global perspectives in order to achieve transformative solutions to today’s most pressing challenges, but it also focuses on cross-cultural leadership and interdisciplinary collaboration and decision making for real-world application. Fore more information you can contact Carla Alvial Palavicino.

Download the day-to-day programme (PDF)
Course director
Dr. Carla Alvial Palavicino


Prof. dr. Joost de Laat, Chair, Global Economic Challenges

Prof. dr. Johan Schot, Chair, Global Comparative History

Dr. Brianne McGonigle Leyh, Associate Professor, Human Rights and Global Justice

Dr. Lauren Gould, Assistant Professor, Conflict Studies

Dr. Carla Alvial Palavicino, Senior Research Fellow, History

Dr. Caetano Penna, Senior Research Fellow, History

Dr. Laura Henderson, Assistant Professor, Human Rights

Target audience

The course will be on an advanced master's level. It will be highly suitable for professionals wishing to expand their knowledge and skills in the subject of transformations. Advanced bachelor's students are also welcome to apply. They will need to include in their motivation letter why they believe they can successfully participate.


Course fee:
Fee covers
Course + course materials
Extra information about the fee

A limited number of need-based [partial] scholarships is available for this course. Please indicate if you would like to apply for this benefit in your motivation letter.


For this course you are required to upload the following documents when applying:

Motivation Letter

More information

Carla Alvial Palavicino | E:

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Application deadline: 
Registration deadline
15 June 2021