The World Challenges Programme (WCP)
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used to create them. We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if mankind is to survive.”
– Albert Einstein
The WCP at Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) aligns education, research, and engagement agendas with key global development issues. We access new thinking to develop different ways to approach these challenges and therefore create opportunities for knowledge transfer between practitioners, academics, students, and the public through a variety of actions.
World Challenges are “wicked problems” – messy, ambiguous issues with no clear solution. Wicked problems involve food waste, biodiversity, ecology, climate change, migration, social inclusion and gender equality.
The theme of world challenges is an accelerator for programs within the university and outreach to the community and the territory.
The WCP includes:
- Integrated Educational programs
- Community Engagement initiatives (in progress)
The WCP is managed by an executive committee with representatives from the collection of emerging WCP initiatives and supported by the Rectorate.
Prof. Michael Gibbert
Academic Director of WCP Integrated Education
Michael Gibbert is a Professor of Marketing at USI’s Institute of Marketing and Communication Management (IMCA). He earned his PhD from the University of St. Gallen, holds an MSc from the University of Stellenbosch (South Africa) and did his post-doctoral fellowship at Yale University. He also worked as a research assistant at INSEAD, Fontainebleau and as associate professor at Bocconi University (2003-2010) in Milan and is the author or co-author of numerous journal articles and books on innovation, strategic marketing, organizational theory and research methodology.
Managing Director of WCP
Carol Switzer has worked for over 20 years in management consulting, systems planning, sales and marketing, market research, and project management, managing people with varied professional and cultural backgrounds. She has worked in Switzerland, Italy, the UK and the United States across a wide range of business sectors including academia, health care, entertainment, and social development. Carol holds an MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles and she completed her Bachelor's at the University of San Diego in Mathematics.
Monika Maślikowska is a PhD student at the Institute of Marketing and Communication Management (IMCA) at USI. She holds a Swiss Government Excellence Scholarship and is committed to teaching, research and academic activities, including the management of ICE and TWC within the WCP. She has a Master’s in Management, a Bachelor’s in Business Management and Engineering (Architecture and Urban Planning) from Wroclaw University of Science and Technology in Poland. She has also worked for global organizations in Luxembourg and studied in Australia, Italy and Spain.
Dr. Stefano Giacomelli
Post Doctoral Researcher
Stefano Giacomelli holds a Ph.D. in Communication Sciences from USI (‘summa cum laude’), and a Master of Law from Catholic University, in Milan, Italy (103/110).
Stefano research examines the connection between humans and nature from an interdisciplinary perspective, at the interface of the social and natural sciences. His current research interests are Environmental science, Environmental policy and governance, Rural studies. In his research, he mainly uses qualitative methodologies, especially case-study, ethnography and comparative approaches.
Business Development Manager
Roberto Manzi has an established and recognised expertise in startup programs with a high innovative content. His job is to translate research programs into a business, and generate a competitive business through innovation and research. His humanistic education (he studied Philosophy and Theology, and currently is a researcher in Communication Sciences), combined with specialized skills acquired in various professional experiences allow him to have an open mind and a strategic vision in the business. He has experience both in the industrial, commercial and service industries; he works in top management of Multinational Corporations, Family Companies, start-ups, and sits on different boards of directors.
Bareerah Hafeez Hoorani
Bareerah Hafeez Hoorani is a PhD student at the Institute of Marketing and Communication Management at USI. She completed her MSc in Economics with a specialization in econometrics at the University of Geneva. Her current research interests revolve around research methods, with special focus on the role of case selection, the usage of time , and the process of theorizing in case study research. In the past, she has also worked with ‘Teach for Pakistan’ (NGO) in an effort of tackling educational inequality.
We believe that the attitudes and skills that you learn in your early twenties will be formative for your later years.
Our aim is to develop well-rounded leaders for tomorrow who know how to act responsibly and keep an eye on global sustainability when making decisions locally.
We offer innovative initiatives that range from university courses and teacher training workshops, to primary through high school levels. We emphasize learning in the classroom, through experiences, by discovery, and from each other. This broad target is united in a focus on investigating world challenges.
Our first challenge 2017-2020: Food - Responsible Consumption and Production
The first wicked problem we will address falls within goal 12 of the Sustainable Development Goals SDGs, Responsible Consumption and Production, in particular, Food Waste. The challenge is to reduce food losses along the supply chain from production and distribution through to the consumer.
- Master’s Level Course
The elective course, Tackling World Challenges, brings together master’s and PhD students from USI, Stockholm School of Economics in Sweden and Hanken School of Economics in Finland to work in interdisciplinary and culturally diverse teams on a real-life "wicked problem" in cooperation with an organization.
The course consists of lectures, field trip, group work, knowledge sharing, expert interviews, company collaboration, and high level presentations. There will be a kick-off meeting at the beginning of the course where students from USI will personally meet students from the other university partners at Stockholm. In the remaining seminars and lectures, students in the different schools will meet virtually and groups are expected to coordinate and connect using the available digital platform.
The course brings together 36 students (12 per University) and is structured into six interdisciplinary teams (e.g. ethics/CSR, management, communications) of six students (two per university).
Applications for Spring 2020 are open.
Places are limited so apply now to reserve your place. Course participants receive a scholarship (travel costs). To apply, send a copy of English language and other certificates you may have and a motivation piece to email@example.com.
Application deadline is 29 November 2019.
- Bachelor’s Concentration
The Intercultural Communication and Economics (ICE) specialization is an English language specialization offered to third year Bachelor’s students in USI’s faculties of Economics and Communication in cooperation with the Hanken School of Economics in Helsinki, Finland. ICE students from USI spend their fifth semester, from September to December, at Hanken, and exchange students from Hanken will be at USI in their sixth semester, from February to June. ICE students will develop analytical focus, hone their judgement skills, their intercultural awareness, and empathy, relative to the great challenges and risks society faces today.
Applications are open.
ICE participants receive a scholarship and a reduction in tuition. Places are limited so apply early to reserve your place. To apply, send your complete internal application form, a copy of English language and other certificates you may have and a motivation piece to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Application deadline is 31 January 2020.
Turn ideas into action
An alliance of engaged partners support WCP and its initiatives. World Challenges affect everyone and new approaches are needed to find solutions. We welcome contributions and participation at all levels and from all areas.
It’s easy to help - make a donation. Volunteer some time. Take part in our programs in the community, at the university or for schools. We provide opportunities for individuals, families and organizations to make a difference in the lives of our youth.
Write to us for information on how to get involved: email@example.com
- WCP Partnership
Donations or non-financial contributions provide support for projects that advance our mission.
- Education Partnership
Excellence Scholarship - Your contribution provides travel and tuition support for students to participate in the WCP Master’s elective course.
- Educational Programming
Resources contributed to the educational programming fund go towards developing new courses, extending successful projects, and exploring new teaching approaches at all educational levels.
- Research Fellowship
A contribution to this fund supports a PhD student to conduct research on World Challenge topics. Candidates submit proposals for research and are selected on a competitive basis for a fellowship that covers full tuition and a stipend for living expenses.
- Maślikowska, M. and Gibbert, M. (2019). The relationship between working spaces and organizational cultures. Facilities, 37(3/14): 1153-1165, DOI:10.1108/F-06-2018-0072.
- Giacomelli, S., Gibbert, M., Viganò, R. (2018). Community Empowerment for Managing Wild Boar: A Longitudinal Case-Study of Northern Italy 2001-2018. Ecology and Society, 23(4): 12.
Italian national newspapers:
- La Stampa: 17 novembre 2018, p.55
- Corriere della sera: 18 novembre, p.22
- Giacomelli, S., Gibbert, M. (2018). ‘He Likes Playing the Hero – I Let Her Have Fun Shooting’. Gender Games in the Italian Forest during the Hunting Season. Journal of Rural Studies, 62: 164-173.
Giacomelli, S., Hare, D., Gibbert, M., Blossey, B. (2019). Public trust thinking and public ownership of wildlife in Italy and the United States (2019). Environmental Policy and Governance, 1-11. DOI:10.1002/eet.1848.
- Maślikowska, M. and Gibbert, M. (2019). Two Levels of ‘Fit’ between Working Spaces and Organizational Culture: A Comparative Case Study. European Academy of Management conference, 1781.
- Giacomelli, S., Gibbert, M., Viganò, R. (2017). Approaches to Preventing Illegal Releases of Boars in the Wild. The Wildlife Society Conference. Albuquerque, the U.S.
- Hare, D., Giacomelli, S., Gibbert, M., Blossey, B. (2017). Public Trust Thinking: Comparing Public Ownership of Wildlife in Italy and the United States. The Wildlife Society Conference. Albuquerque, the U.S. Poster presentation.
- Giacomelli, S., Gibbert, M., Viganò, R. (2017). Challenges in wild boar management: balancing the demands of hunters and the public. Academy of Management (AoM), Organizations and the Natural Environment Division. Atlanta, the U.S.
- Giacomelli, S. (2017). Quality Certifications vs. Consumer’s Reviews in Online Food Shopping. American Marketing Association Conference (AMA), winter session. Orlando, the U.S. Poster presentation.
- Gibbert, M., Giacomelli, S., Viganò R. (2018). A Tale of Two Boars: Ungulate Management in Italy and Germany. Re-negotiating “Wilderness” in More-than-human Worlds. CEFRES: French Research Center in Humanities and Social Sciences. Prague, Czech Republic.
- Giacomelli, S., Gibbert M., (2018). Men and Women playing gender during hunting in the Alps. Winter School LabEx ITEM. Bellinzona, Switzerland.
- Giacomelli, S., Gibbert, M., Viganò, R. (2018). Illegal Releases of Wild Boar in the Alps: Motivations and Solutions. Winter School LabEx ITEM. Bellinzona, Switzerland.