Walk the streets of Lisbon’s Bairro Alto district at night, listening to the beautiful fado music that longs for days past. Eat pastels de nata, sardinhas assadas, francesinha or the many other delicious cultural delights connecting centuries old stories to today’s society. Admire the historical and cultural scenes depicted on azulejos, beautiful tiles adorning the facades and walls of Lisbon and Porto since the 14th century. Explore how the cliffs over the ocean around Nazaré tell stories of fishing, surfing and the promise of green hydrogen.
All these experiences will speak to us about this place, revealing clues about the personality and perceptions that create the foundation for Portugal’s flavor of sustainability.
The Age of Discovery illustrated the global influence that one small country can have. Portugal’s impact (positive and negative) during its exploration period was highly disproportionate to its size. Does Portugal now have the opportunity, once again, to have an exponential impact in sustainability?
Why Portugal? Many do not initially think of Portugal when they think about sustainability in Europe. However, the country is a ripe frontier for sustainability opportunity and investment. The Sustainable Development Report rates Portugal highly, as the #20 country on its path to meeting the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals! Our journey will explore a country that runs on 60% clean energy (the #6 country in share of energy produced from renewables), is in the top 10 for food security (including availability and affordability), and has an impressive Global Peace Index rating of #6 in the world. But those are just rankings. They don’t tell the full story. But they do help guide deeper questions and open us up to the characteristics that will help shape opportunities.
Culture helps define sustainability. We will open ourselves up, allowing the stories to tell themselves. Sustainability is about simultaneously improving our impact on people and society, the environment and the economy. But sustainability in a place, in a society is molded by its culture. We will emphasize the whole of Portuguese culture. The art, food, businesses, music, port, cork and much more will define Portugal’s role in sustainability for us.
We’ll learn about Portugal’s strengths and challenges that both shape sustainability in the country and also create a unique moment for Portugal to lead the way in sustainability impact.
Overall, how does Portugal’s rich history of exploration, struggles with limited natural resources and past dependence on imports shape its leadership in sustainability action? Join the team and we’ll begin to find out firsthand!
Jeff Mittelstadt, Professor of the Practice of Strategy and Entrepreneurship and Executive Director of the Ackerman Center for Excellence in Sustainability, will lead this immersion.
UBP students can schedule a meeting with the UBP Global Team to learn more about this and other Global Immersion Electives by clicking on the “Schedule Appointment” link below.