The demand for highly-skilled conservation experts is growing. The Carinthia University of Applied Sciences developed an international Masters Degree Programme ‘Management of Conservation Areas‘ which promotes biodiversity conservation and regional sustainable development in Europe and worldwide. This goal of this program is to educate and train (future) managers of conservation areas. Graduates work as managers of conservation areas, national parks, biosphere reserves or World Heritage sites. They also develop and support community-managed sites and indigenous protected areas or shape the future of international organisations. Moreover, graduates may work in the consulting, planning and scientific sector.
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Learning management for conservation areas
The Masters Programme is part of the UNESCO Chair for the Sustainable Management of Conservation Areas (MCA). It focuses on skills which enable and empower to:
- manage conservation areas effectively
- use new ways of communication
- deal with stakeholders in a better way
Besides the core team (Carinthia University of Applied Sciences and E.C.O.), lecturers are around 30 internationally recognised experts. They represent the broad portfolio of different backgrounds, ranging from theoretical (science) to practical knowledge (park managers, consultants, international organizations). Innovative teaching and training formats support the development of relevant competencies. Interactive settings give way to peer-to-peer learning and allow for individual interaction with trainers and lecturers.
The planning and management of protected areas such as UNESCO biosphere reserves is a difficult task. Therefore, bringing together nature conservation, research, education and sustainable regional development in a participative way re-quires not only enthusiasm and inspiration but also a large expertise on a multitude of aspects of conservation areas. All physical courses are conducted in eight blocks of five to 12 days and therefore allow to combine the training with an ongoing employment. Hence, substantial components of the training are provided by e-learning. Physical courses will be held in different venues, for instance in seminar facilities of different parks and conservation areas in Central Europe.
Conservation areas are treasure chests of the blue planet. Already some 15% of the global terrestrial surface is protected. In our MSc program we will come up with relevant tools and instruments, new technologies, international best practice and latest scientific research. This shall support and inspire managers and responsible decision makers to shape the conser-vation areas of the 21st century. I am looking forward to welcoming you here in Austria, representing some of the most beautiful and precious regions of the world.