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Summer Institute

2015 PIER Institute
July 6-10

Early admission: On-going. Tuition of $160 must be received by April 15th, 2015

Final Admission: April 24th, 2015.  Tuition of $160 must be received by May 29th, 2015.

Global Challenges: Climate Change and Food Security

Complete On-Line Application

Two of the most urgent issues facing the 21st century are the environmental effects of climate change and food security for a global population expected to exceed nine billion by 2050. Climate change will continue to lead to frequent and intense extreme weather events in the short term, and changing weather patterns and temperatures in the longer term. This, in turn, will affect all dimensions of food security -- availability, accessibility, utilization and stability -- resulting in a complex interaction of threats for human health, livelihood assets, food production and distribution channels. Populations already vulnerable and food insecure will have to confront the risk of increased crop failure, loss of livestock and new patterns of pests and diseases. While low-income communities tend to be most at risk, there is no question that climate change threats to food security will have wide-ranging global repercussions.  The 2015 PIER Summer Institute will empower educators to better understand and explain the basic science of climate change and the significant impact it can ultimately pose on global security to their students.

Historically, climate change has been a highly charged political debate. Events in North Africa in recent years bear witness to its increasing threat. Food price spikes due to food shortages fueled the social unrest that led to the Arab Spring, the effects of which will play out increasingly on the world stage. What is the relationship between climate change and food security? How are pressures from food insecurity influencing social unrest around the world? Does food insecurity affect rural and urban populations differently, and, if so, which are most vulnerable, and why? How can we most effectively teach students about these interrelated social and climatic processes? How does food insecurity in Africa, Asia and the Middle East affect us here in the United States? What are the potential global repercussions of socio-political unrest in these regions? What can we learn from the weather patterns and food insecurity affected by ancient civilizations? What preventive measures can be put in place both internationally and locally? What roles can academia, government, grassroots leaders, educators and students play? Is it possible to move past fatalistic perspectives on global warming and engage in a proactive and sustainable approach as responsible community members?

These are only some of the questions participants will discuss during this intensive, five-day institute. Although global in scope, Global Challenges will focus generally on Africa and the Middle East - regions already burdened by a high vulnerability to food insecurity. Educators will learn from recognized scholars, researchers and policy advisors about the latest findings pertaining to climate variability, and practitioners will explore the programs established to address these challenges. Participants will also meet with local grassroots leaders who will provide them with resources to address food security and adapting to climate change at a local level.

Potential activities include: learning about gaming as a technique to explain complex concepts to students; meeting with leading research and development organizations who work with vulnerable populations across the globe; and visiting the Yale Sustainable Food Program, an interdisciplinary learning center for study and practice in food, health and the environment.

A Teacher Advisor will form an integral part of the program to assist participants in authoring their own curricular units, which will then be published on PIER’s website as resources for outside educators.

Optional Field Trip to Morocco: A highlight to this institute includes an optional field trip to Morocco, where participants will be accompanied by Debbie Humphries, Clinical Instructor of Public Health at the Yale School of Public Health.  Together, they will witness first-hand the impacts of climate change, discuss food security in the region, and explore agricultural production across its widely diverse landscapes. Space is limited.  Applications must be received by the early admission deadline to guarantee participation. Participation in this field trip is not a requirement of the institute.

For more information on the trip and how to register, contact the tour organizer, GEEO, at:

Early admission: March 9th, 2015. Tuition of $160 must be received by April 15th, 2015

Final Admission: April 24th, 2015.  Tuition of $160 must be received by May 29th, 2015.

For more information, please contact us at PIER@yale.edu.

Complete On-Line Application

Sponsored by PIER and the Councils on African Studies and Middle East Studies at Yale University with generous support from the Title VI National Resource Center Grants from the United States Department of Education.  Additional funding also provided by the Councils on East Asian Studies, European Studies and Southeast Asia Studies at Yale University.



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