Congratulations to Narelle Webber, ISV’s International Program Director, who graduated with a Master’s degree in Sustainable Development in April, 2012, from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. Narelle was also honored to receive the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Academic Excellence for high academic performance. Macquarie has an internationally recognized center for research in sustainable development (ARIES) which made it the perfect place for Narelle to pursue her degree. She accomplished this as a part-time student between 2007 and 2011 while working full time for ISV.
When asked what motivated her to embark on further studies in this field she said:
“On a personal level, I’m passionate about sustainability, and professionally I was at a point in my career where I needed new inspiration and ideas. As a leader and decision-maker in the ISV organisation I felt that in order to give my best to ISV, I wanted to build a stronger academic foundation to complement the experiences I’d gained in volunteerism, development and tourism. I hoped I would be able to better support our staff and continue to sharpen our program by learning more about local and global sustainability practices and issues. Overall, the course exceeded my expectations and I loved studying again”.
As part of the course, Narelle studied subjects in Education for Sustainable Development, Environmental Decision-Making, Ethics, Research Methods, Globalisation and Social Impact Assessment.
“The best thing about the degree was that I could model most of my assignments on ISV, and I’ve applied many of the lessons I learned to our program and our staff trainings.”
Narelle is passionate about a particular assignment she completed last year on creating an HIV-AIDS Education and Awareness Program. This motivated her to work with ISV’s Program Coordinator in the Dominican Republic to integrate HIV-AIDS awareness into the ISV education program for children and youth this coming season.
Her enthusiasm for the knowledge she gained through the course was obvious.
“It’s inspiring to talk with my colleagues at ISV or at international conferences about the Millennium Development Goals and how volunteer programs should be directed at contributing to the achievement of those goals”.
Narelle has also enjoyed the opportunity to share educational resources, such as “Engaging People in Sustainability” 1 with other ISV staff.
Narelle thinks it’s essential that ISV remains on the cutting edge of our industry in order to maintain the highest level of quality and effectiveness in our programs. It is a feature of the ISV organisation that our Project and Tour Managers all have relevant academic experience and/or extensive expertise in conservation, development and tourism, and one of the best parts of working for ISV is that there is a culture for learning and sharing within the organisation.
To learn more about ISV please visit www.isvolunteers.org.
- Tilbury, D. and Wortman D. (2004) Engaging people in sustainability, IUCN Commission on Education and Communication, Gland and Cambridge