Using the Ecological Footprint calculation at school to achieve Education for Sustainable Development

This is the title of the thesis Kruna Krstic, our former intern, finalized and presented very successfully on 4 December 2013 to complete her Master’s degree in Local Development at the University of Padua. The thesis was based on the work she had developed during her internship with the Science unit of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy). We have asked Kruna to tell us about her experience at UNESCO.

During my studies, I developed an interest in the work of international organizations, in particular their role in the field of environment and sustainable development. Being from Belgrade (Serbia), I found that the important role of the UNESCO Venice Office in South East Europe suited my purpose of applying for an internship at an international organization while at the same time dealing with those territories I was particularly interested in.

The internship was indeed a remarkable experience for many reasons, from the excellent collaboration with my supervisor to the quality team work within the unit and the inspiration drawn for the topic of my Master’s thesis. 

In particular, we worked on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). UNESCO is the lead institution for the implementation of the UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development. The UNESCO Venice Office is contributing to ESD with the specific project EF@School, the Ecological Footprint at School. In some countries, local authorities are using the Ecological Footprint analysis to inform their policies and practices with the aim of reducing the environmental impact of their activities in their territory. The same approach is used for schools/institutions where these analyses offer important food for thought in view of developing more environmental friendly practices for students, teachers, and managers.

I would like to eventually work as a Local Developer, possibly for the Balkan region so to develop a sound knowledge in this field. Particularly, I am very interested in the further sustainable development of this area for which, somehow, I feel the need to give my contribution. I am a very open and positive person and I feel that the right occasions are coming in my life.

After this chief experience at UNESCO I realized even better where I’m standing in this world from a professional point of view. I started to be more conscious about my qualities but also about my weaknesses.

The internship at UNESCO was a fantastic learning process which gave me the opportunity to increase my knowledge and professional skills. I am thankful to my colleagues in Venice for this experience which was a very pleasant and most rewarding one. I am also very grateful for all the opportunities that I had under the UNESCO roof!