European School of Governance, course description, Governance Masterclass 2021
“A primary object should be the education of our youth in the science of government.
In a republic, what species of knowledge can be equally important?
And what duty more pressing than communicating it
to those who are to be the future guardians of the liberties of the country?”
History tells us that there are two relevant ways that a structured group of individuals can fail. Both are related to extreme forms of the implementation of governance. On the one hand a practically non-existent concern for governance leads a group to an inability to properly coordinate, make smart decisions and to overuse non-renewable resources. One the other hand an autocratic form of governance leans the group towards the side of absolute order which works fine until the group is unable to adapt and innovate in response to changing environment or context. Revolt, collapse or simply obsolescence are the ultimate outcomes. Is there a middle ground between absolute order and absolute chaos? A self-actualising, emergent order in between large groups of individuals that don’t know each other and that are willing to compromise, make sense of the world and craft together sophisticated proposals on how to respond to avoid self-termination?
The purpose of this Governance Masterclass is to contribute to scholarly research by going back to basics and putting together a curriculum of subjects, authors, case-studies, and technologies that constitute the body of experience around how humans coordinate their choices and actions. Governance of techno-socio-ecological complex systems is the challenge of the 21st Century. The global civilization will survive its tendency for self-termination if, and only if, we can find the next evolution of a Governance system that is both global and local, that uses modern technology and engages the ancient wisdom creatively, that acknowledges both the spiritual and materialistic nature of our everyday experience and that is both an art form and a science.
We need to create with Governance, the same entrepreneurial start-up and innovation spirit that was created for hard technology that allowed for the spurring of products and innovations that changed the social order and belief systems. We need to incubate and invest in social technologies that, in partnerships with hard technologies, solve the world’s toughest governance problems in the Anthropocene, like climate change, conflict and peacebuilding, social justice and education. But just as you cannot create a new killer app without knowing the basics of software and algorithms development, the same is true for social technologies around governance. The goal of this Masterclass is to create a common ground and language around the fundamentals of Governance of complex social systems.
What to expect?
First and foremost, this is a participatory action research experiment into governance in learning, education, research, and peer certification processes. It’s an experiment in decentralized autonomous learning. Following a principle of epistemic humility, the form of this course is at least as important as its function. It’s the departure from classical academic curricula design where the contents are pre-defined by a teacherly authority such as an academic institution, the contents are delivered by a set of people who are contracted by the institution and certification is awarded by a standard, one-size-fits-all process.
The teacherly authority in this course is distributed to the collective of peer learners who will co-create the course and propose the subjects, authors and references they wish to study.
In no other time in history has information been so ubiquitous. Our purpose is not to be the owners or guardians of any privileged information about governance. The information is out there and, in most cases, freely available. By identifying the sources of information and by considering them critically as a collective we expect to create a whole that is significantly bigger than the sum of the parts.
We believe that this form of peer learning, which is echoed in pedagogic philosophies such as Waldorf, Reggio-Emilia, Montessori, Paulo Freire, etc. is the only way innovation in social technologies can happen. As Lori Malaguzzi put it in his book “The Hundred Languages of Children “Creativity seems to emerge from multiple experiences, coupled with a well-supported development of personal resources, including a sense of freedom to venture beyond the unknown.”
How will it work?
We are inviting a cohort of a maximum of twelve peer learners to commit to spending one academic year (two semesters) learning about governance while at the same time building up their syllabus of the course. Students enrolling in this will benefit from the network around the European School of Governance to invite authors, speakers, and lecturers to attend their online or on-site convenings. They will publish their learning, run their own projects, and engage in whatever field is meaningful to their learning.
They will jointly decide what subjects make up the EUSG Governance Masterclass, what they wish to learn and research together, and pull together learning materials (books, articles, conference papers, videos). They will jointly decide how they will accompany each other’s learning using, for example, a buddy system and how they will evaluate and certify each other’s learning accomplishments.
The European School of Governance, as a shaper of this learning platform, will ultimately emit certificates of accomplishment based on the peer assessment and recommendations.
From families to entire nations, from networks of affinity to established business corporations, whether you like it or not, Governance affects every aspect of your life. We expect this to be an implementation of our belief that not enough opportunities for learning about governance exist in the certified learning market. So, we wish to fill that gap by creating not a course, but a process that embodies our principles of what governance in the 21st century could look like. We will inquire, learn, and grow a shared understanding. We will walk the talk.
The next EUSG Governance Masterclass will start in October 2021 at the convenience of the participants.
There is no fee on EUSG courses but the invitation to value the course you participate in by a donation reflecting your appreciation.
Apply now at firstname.lastname@example.org.