21 September – 23 October, 2020

Introduction to Systems Thinking

ONLINE & FACILITATED. This course is an opportunity to build a global system of systems leaders who help their organizations to discover meaningful missions that will transition our ways of living on the planet to become sustainable and resilient.

Expand your understanding of systems thinking and take charge of your ability to leverage the outcomes in your systems and to make them sustainable and resilient.

Making sustainability happen and turning conscience into action is an act of systems leadership. It requires not only habits that bring out the leadership in each one of us, but the ability to see the whole, as well as the discipline of systems to align the purposes of those who come together to participate in systems. It requires abilities to recognize places to intervene in the system. It requires abilities to shape and design new systems to be sustainable and resilient.

Short Description

The course brings together those motivated to influence or lead systems, not just organizations. It equips them with the ability to recognize the systems that they are a part of, its constituents, the purpose that binds them together, and the places to intervene in the system.

The course will build individual and organizational capacity to address the systemic causes for the problems and challenges of their fragile, unsustainable systems that usually lack resilience. It will provide the participants an opportunity to develop habits to see the whole, and the habits that drive the behaviour and change that affects them, not just the parts that show the symptoms that they work hard to hide.

This course is an opportunity to build a global system of systems leaders who help their organizations to discover meaningful missions that will transition our ways of living on the planet to become sustainable.

This course will have live sessions every week that will be recorded for those who might not be able to attend.

There is a follow-up course titled Systems Leadership, the Earth Charter and the SDGs, which begins on 26 October 2020. Click here for more information.


Anupam Saraph

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Systems thinker, Future Designer, and scientist, Anupam Saraph established the actor-based understanding of systems laying the foundation of the practice of change research and future design, as a means to create symbiotic, sustainable, anti-fragile, and resilient systems.

His research for the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, in 1993-94, gave rise to actor based modelling that models the interaction of individual actors in a system, allowing them to recognize the consequences of their actions and search for interventions that accomplish the common purposes of their systems.
He has been applying actor-based understanding of systems and the principles of governance of complex systems to design legislation, policy, strategy, and business models.

He works with leaders, and mentors’ teams, to help them to identify their systems, recognize the common purposes of its actors, and accomplish their toughest shared challenge – their mission.

He also serves on the boards of Public and Private Sector companies and NGOs and as a Professor of Sustainability and Governance of Complex Systems at universities in Asia, Europe and the United States.


This course was developed under the framework of the UNESCO Chair in Education for Sustainable Development with the Earth Charter, coordinated by the Earth Charter Center for Education. The Chair is a collaborative effort between UNESCO, Earth Charter International, and the University for Peace to develop educational programmes and research activities related to education, sustainability, and ethics using the Earth Charter as a fundamental reference.

Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development

The Earth Charter Center for Education for Sustainable Development, established by Earth Charter International, has a mission to “promote the transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework that includes respect and care of the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace,” with a special focus on education.

The Center offers a variety of executive, formative, and educational programmes in leadership for sustainable development, for policy makers, education professionals, youth, and the general public. Research projects are specially developed in partnerships with institutions of national and global relevance.