A Unique Masters Program for Environmental Sustainability in Greece Built on a Greek-US Partnership


Chicago native George Nassos has made a big impact in protecting the environment with his over 300 students and disciples that he trained over the past two decades and are now working in the U.S. and around the world. Now he wants to do the same for Greece with an innovative partnership with one of Greece’s most prestigious schools.

Faculty from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, (NTUA) in collaboration with a group of distinguished international experts, are offering a focused executive course of study that will bring together business managers, policy makers and leaders from the government, non-government and business communities, and prepare them to work together to align business, government and community policy and practice toward creating a more sustainable future.

One of the program’s key lecturers will be Dr. George P. Nassos who until very recently was the Director of the MS in Environmental Management and Sustainability program at Illinois Institute of Technology – Stuart School of Business. He directed the program as well as taught several courses for 14 years and was instrumental in the school being ranked by the World Resources Institute and the Aspen Institute as one of the world’s top graduate business schools for integrating sustainability in its business programs.

Following all of the research for his teaching the capstone course over 14 years, he wrote his first book titled “Practical Sustainability Strategies: How to Gain a Competitive Advantage” which was published by John Wiley and Son.

There is no question that environmental and social sustainability is of great interest to organizations worldwide. According to a recent report by Accenture for the United Nations Global Compact study of chief executive officers, 93% of the global CEOs believe sustainability issues will be critical to the future success of their business, and 96% believe sustainability issues should by fully integrated into the strategy and operation of a company.

As the planet’s environment continues to degrade, it is more important than ever for corporations, NGOs, and government agencies to adopt sustainability principles and strategies into their operations. Entry and mid-level employees should become trained in sustainability strategies in order to imbed these concepts into the operation and culture of the organization.

Not only will the organization gain a competitive advantage, sustainability also enhances the financial performance of the company. If you are already working and cannot attend a full- or part-time program at a university, the answer may be an executive education program where each course is one week long.

As an introduction to this outstanding program, NTUA is offering a week-long course on the Fundamentals of Sustainability Policy and Practice. This course will take place beginning June 7, 2015 at the university’s main campus in Athens. It will cover topics such as the current and projected state of the environment, business models and associated mitigation strategies, measuring and reporting sustainability, and lectures from corporate sustainability executives.

Tuition for this unique course is very reasonably priced at €500 or about $550. More information is available here. The introductory short course will be followed by an executive level graduate program consisting of nine one-week courses of intensive study over a two year period. The program is named SUPER for SUstainability Policy and Practice: An Executive Retraining Program.

For three weeks each during three consecutive summers beginning in 2016, participants will engage in a course of study that will culminate in an Executive Masters of Science Degree in Sustainability Policy and Practice conferred by NTUA. In addition to the courses, students will be divided into teams to work on a project seeking a solution to a real environmental problem. The students will work on the project during the three weeks they are together and will be allowed to complete it virtually during the following months.

The solution will then be made available to other entities that are experiencing a similar problem. For the solution not to be encumbered by outside forces that may not be similar to other locations, the project will be that of an island. In this manner, the solution should be more easily replicated. Consequently, the program venue will be a Greek island, and in order to complete the masters program, students will be required to attend classes on three different Greek islands. The program will commence in June 2016 on the island of Hydra. The courses offered this first summer will follow the theme of sustainability definition, policy and strategy:

•Industrial Ecology
•Business Strategy: The Sustainable Enterprise
•Sustainability and the Importance of Reporting and Rankings

The themes for the second and third summers will be Energy & Climate Change and Critical

Resource Management & Restoration. Some of the courses that are being planned include Energy, Environment & Economics; Carbon Management & Climate Change; Water, Air and Soil Policy & Management; Creating Integrated Sustainable Communities; and Environmental Sustainability & Economics. The co-directors of the program along with a board of advisors are planning the program to be very current in terms of the needs of the planet and the students. For example, a much needed strategy of adaptation and resiliency is being added to the program. All courses will be offered in English.

The program expects to enroll a total of 30 students that will ideally be equally from Greece, the EU, and the rest of the world. It is seeking a very diverse class of students that will add to the learning experience of all the students.

An additional 30 new students will be allowed to enroll in each of the following years. Students not interested in earning the masters degree may enroll in individually selected courses of interest. This is truly a unique opportunity to be trained in sustainability by international experts in their field, attend classes in beautiful venues, and at a very reasonable cost.

For more information on the executive education program, click here.