GSF 2023

Vision and Goals


Our aim is to prepare and mobilize new sustainability leaders that will be part of an Alumni Network community.

The GSF is a respected brand in sustainability education, and graduates of the program form the foundation of an interdisciplinary alumni network where a common language and framework serve as the basis for game-changing sustainability innovations and initiatives worldwide.

The Alumni Network connects GSF graduates and other distinguished members of The Lab’s global network, including scientists, academics, and social entrepreneurs, enabling opportunities for collaboration, employment, news, research, and more; helping to bring about a global shift in paradigm.


Individual Transformation
The Global Sustainability Fellows Program inspires, prepares, and mobilizes future international leaders to tackle urgent sustainability challenges facing the planet. The GSF program goal is to catalyze individual transformation processes in the fellows for a meaningful action in sustainability issues.

La Palma Sustainable Development Plan
During the 2023 GSF session, fellows will create a strategic sustainable development plan, “La Palma project,” with local experts and stakeholders. The 2023 fellows will develop a report of the current conditions and future (desired conditions) and will craft a plan to achieve that sustainability state in the island. As the program grows, we believe that communities where fieldwork is based will continue to benefit from student work and will serve as a real-world testament to the efficacy of the GSF approach in service of the Island.

GSF in 2023

About GSF

The Global Sustainability Fellows (GSF) program, The Lab’s graduate-level educational initiative, is designed to inspire, prepare, and mobilize the next generation of sustainability leaders to tackle the urgent sustainability issues facing the planet. Our program promotes collaborative, interdisciplinary approaches to addressing sustainability issues, and combines an intensive theoretical orientation and classroom component with hands-on, experience-based learning; extensive fieldwork experience; and international and cross-disciplinary exposure.

Why La Palma

La Palma illustrates the GSF’s dedication and approach to sustainability issues in an island ecosystem challenged by natural events and a still evolving economic model that inadequately interacts with the specific features and richness of the island to express its full potential. The island is a vision of what we as humanity and as a planet will face in the foreseeable future. Planned collaboratively with the Universidad de las Palmas de Gran Canaria, the 2023 GSF program aims to strengthen collaborations among sectors interested in advancing alternative visions of the island’s future development and addressing strategic questions, while attending to its current needs.

The 2023 GSF program is open to global participants with diverse backgrounds who demonstrate a deep commitment to sustainability and have outstanding experience working on sustainability issues in their own localities, and enjoy and appreciate working and learning with others.

Priority will be given to those candidates who are currently working in the following disciplines

  • Agricultural Sciences
  • Art
  • Astronomy
  • Biology
  • Civil Engineering / Architecture
  • Economics of Development
  • Emergency and Disaster Management
  • Energy and Technology
  • Governance and Development
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Local Development
  • Psychology / Human Development
  • Public Policy
  • Social Work / Community Development
  • System Dynamics
  • Urban Planning
  • Volcanology
  • Resources Management

Application requirements:

  • Cover letter explaining why you want to be part of this program
  • CV with detailed experience
  • A video introducing yourself, talking about your current work and demonstrating your current project of sustainability.
  • An artistic expression of how you understand the relation between personal agency & sustainability

OPTIONAL: The GSF experience is enhanced by your commitment to sharing, learning and working together before, during and/or after the 2023 session La Palma. Please let us know if you are open to helping us document and preserve the experience in La Palma 2023. You may also write a brief proposal to demonstrate how you would do so. Areas of service include:

  • Graphic Illustration or Design; Videography; Photography, or other visual representation
  • Documentation of your experience as a transformation agent in a place
  • Drafting the process of creating a sustainability vision (methodological level or project management level)
  • or any segment of the experience that motivates you
  • designing a peer-to-peer program mechanism (several sessions)
  • Other (including fundraising)

Please send/upload the above information before February 18th, 2023.

Selected candidates will be informed by Tuesday March 3rd, 2023.

The GSF Experience

The GSF program was created to deliver a more rigorous and focused approach to learning than is commonly available — going beyond yet another academic course, and instead offering a rich, comprehensive, and truly transformative educational and personal growth experience and thus filling a persistent gap in educational programming. The idea is to better-prepare future leaders, by supplementing the competencies provided by their chosen academic disciplines with a deeper, concentrated exploration of the sustainability challenge, and providing cohorts with a set of tools that are essential for meeting this challenge.

Conceptually, the program is anchored in three main component-pillars: a particular discipline-related, graduate-level academic program pursued at a home institution; a core curriculum program developed and offered by The Lab; and, as an integral part of the latter, participation in a fieldwork component and independent practical project work, in individual or group assignments.

Core Curriculum

The GSF’s core curriculum is devoted to an intensive immersion in key theoretical concepts that transcend each of the fellows’ specialized disciplines and includes various individual and group assignments that foster lively exchange, opportunities for peer teaching, and multidisciplinary collaboration. Throughout the program, fellows have opportunities to explore specific local sustainability-related issues and best practices.

The core curriculum itself is organized in four distinct clusters, each with several learning modules.

  • The first and central cluster covers theoretical materials reflecting the signature approach of The Lab. Modules include an introduction to general systems theory, systems thinking, and systems modeling; a pioneering theory of change, understanding types of change, and a perspective on evolutionary processes and complexity; The Lab’s rigorous definition of sustainability, the derived five core sustainability principles, and their respective policy and operational implications; and basic elements of a design approach to synthesizing effective sustainability strategies.
  • The second cluster offers a comprehensive evolutionary perspective covering current knowledge of the history of the cosmos, the history of the biosphere, and the history of humanity. These materials are delivered in a manner that puts emphasis on underlying interrelationships, interdependencies, and continuities, while highlighting the story of key evolutionary milestones in the organization of energy and matter, living systems, and society, stimulating a more holistic view of the world.
  • The third cluster involves “out of the box” experiences designed to stimulate creativity, appreciation of change processes, enhancement of leadership qualities, and the connection of “outer” experiences with “inner” development and integrity.
  • The fourth cluster offers opportunities for peer-to-peer teaching. It involves group assignments in which key sustainability-related topics are researched, synthesized, and presented by small, interdisciplinary teams to their fellow participants.

If you have any questions about our program, please contact:

Vanessa Armendáriz
Global Sustainability Fellowship Program Director