A person with a blue and white scarf wrapped around their neck
  • Deepika Joon (she/her)

    Research Associate, Institute for Sustainable Development and Learning, Leuphana University
  • CEE-Change Fellow
  • 2023

Deepika is a youth advocate and a sustainability education researcher working and learning with young people in schools and universities to amplify their voices on climate action and justice.

About Deepika

Deepika’s (she/her) research and professional praxis intersect with sustainability learning, critical pedagogy, politics, and youth engagement. Mobilizing, supporting, and learning with young people lies at the core of her work. Deepika is working at Institute for Sustainable Development and Learning (ISDL) at Leuphana University of Lüneburg in Germany. She is pursuing her Ph.D. in evaluation of youth engagement in climate change education. At ISDL, she leads an international teacher education project called Politics4Future to foster sustainability competencies and civic action. She is the scientific coordinator of activities of UNESCO Chair in Higher Education for Sustainable Development (HESD) at Leuphana University. She manages the UNITWIN Network on Education for Sustainable Development and Social Transformation, aimed to foster research and innovation in the field of teacher education. 

About Deepika’s Community Action Project

Deepika’s community action project called “Back to School” is built upon the methodology of research-based learning where undergraduate students of Leuphana University of Lüneburg will implement small research projects in groups to understand the role of educational leaders in schools. The students will collect data from teachers, principals, and administrators, on their experiences, challenges and barriers they face in fostering sustainability in a school setting.  An analysis of key messages and development of communication skills will be utilized to share the key findings of students' projects. Students will take a closer look at micropolitics within the school system to gain insights on the interconnections between different systems within a school setting. A popular approach and concept within the field of education for sustainable development called “Whole Institution Approach” will be further researched by the students. Spread over fourteen weeks starting October 2023, Leuphana undergraduates will be introduced to scientific work, group collaboration, individual reflection, and an interface with the wider community to share their key learnings.

Back to School is a pedagogically innovative intervention as it presents an experiential, project-based approach to engage students in civic action and create safe spaces to reflect on their experiences, working towards real-world changes on environmental challenges. Secondly, it is intersectional as it develops a mechanism to bridge and connect multiple domains by building partnerships between higher education, formal schooling, and community education. Lastly, it is impactful as it has a good prospect for scaling, achieving not just impacts on the community level, but also capacity building that produces "multipliers" who can use these approaches in their future professional and civic lives.