Description of Courses
The experiential three-week-long Service Learning, Human Rights and Sustainable Development experiential learning module provides the conditions for students to learn about human rights and sustainable development through service, while demonstrating and cultivating collaboration, initiative, an understanding of the local imprint of global issues through involvement in in-depth investigation, preparation for field-work, action, reflection and documentation.
The module unfolds as an intensive, coherent, experiential learning course, comprising a series of guest lectures by prominent subject matter experts and practitioners. The course’s structure incorporates CAS (Creativity, Activity, Service), IBDP and service learning methodology for the purpose of equipping young leaders with the tools necessary to act as conscious field-workers, community members and global citizens able to respond to authentic needs. Through this work, students collaboratively explore original ideas and create action plans triggered by own investigation and exchange with subject matter experts, participate in experiences involving physical exertion that contributes to a healthy lifestyle, and lead meaningful, reciprocal engagement experiences within their community. Throughout the three weeks, students observe, reflect on and document how service experiences contribute to their understanding of and commitment to human rights and sustainable development as part of interlaced collaborative projects with distinct focus areas related to issues of global significance discussed in the module. Each collaborative project aspires to result in personal and, ideally, collective goals, commitments and plans for consistent action following the Pierce Leadership Academy.
Students in the Service Learning, Human Rights and Sustainable Development module are given the required space, knowledge and tools to reflect on service learning as the path to becoming aware, experiencing, understanding and engaging in defending human rights and pursuing sustainable development goals.
In the course of the three weeks, students take initiative to Investigate, Act, Prepare, Reflect and Demonstrate their experiences; this is reflected clearly in the weekly schedule.
In Week 1 students are introduced to service learning and are invited to reflect on its definition, purpose and methodology. Then, they delve into core human rights law concepts, and, in groups, are guided to trace and reproduce the legal reasoning in seminal constitutional and international human rights case law. Following this exercise, students debate motions relevant to the human rights issues in the discussed case law, and are given philosophically grounded tools to visualize human rights practice as a relational, empathetic and mindful of the “other” human being enterprise. Through personal and group reflection sessions students identify strengths and areas for personal growth requiring development, and are invited to explore their own servant leadership traits.
Exposure to the module’s key learning objectives and global sustainable development issues such as water security and energy aims at instigating the association of global challenges with action at a local level. Week 1 places greater emphasis on investigation, preparation of field-work taking place in Week 2, and reflection on theoretical premises, and introduces students to needs-assessment and action in the field as a team. Week 1 also involves a training on getting ready to act in the field. Week 2 is devoted to field-work and direct service in Athens and the two-day Service Learning Roadtrip to the Greek Provinces. Students get to interact and experience reciprocal and meaningful engagement with local communities and individuals. Students are accompanied by the instructor, one more field coordinator and undergraduate university students who facilitate the experiences and provide on-site guidance. Week 3 is devoted to reflection and demonstration through collaborative projects. Drawing on original work, their investigation and demonstrated experiences, for instance through literary pieces, short films, photography, songs and poems, students lead reflection sessions and create common ground for exchange of thoughts and feelings within the group. Thank You cards are designed, handcrafted and mailed to all service learning partners and guest speakers, inviting them to the module’s exhibition, curated by students.