u-school for Transformation
In the face of accelerating social and environmental breakdown, how can we build collective capacity to bring about a just, inclusive, and regenerative society for all?
The u-school for Transformation is the Presencing Institute’s (PI) platform for scaling up and sustaining transformation literacy across communities, organizations and society. Globally accessible, u-school democratizes access to the tools and methods of societal transformation. It is a space for change makers to learn, support and act together on most pressing pressing global challenges.
The u-school for transformation builds on the Presencing Institute’s 15+ years of capacity building, action labs and research based on Theory U, a framework for catalyzing transformative personal and systems change. The Presencing Institute holds the overall governance, management and administration of the u-school and other systems change initiatives, including our work in support of clients and partners in their institutional change processes.
In the next decade, u-school will seed, grow, and replicate a distributed infrastructure of awareness-based collective action, based on these building blocks.
Our Vision and Key Differentiators
Global Ecosystem of Changemakers
A growing movement of changemakers, supported through an annual cycle of free, online-and-offline action-learning environments – u-lab, GAIA, the Global Forum – that builds the skills for awareness-based systems change and activates a vibrant global ecosystem of changemakes. Our goal is to expand access to reach 1 million learners and changemakers in the next 10 years.
Innovation Labs and Application Hubs for Systems Change
A network of action labs and hubs to support changemakers across sectors who are applying awareness-based systems change to transform their local contexts and organizations. Action labs range from local community actions, to bio-regional regeneration initiatives, to multi-stakeholder initiatives.
The u-school offers capacity-building in the methods and tools of awareness-based systems change, based on state-of-the-art techniques of systems thinking, action learning, social arts, awareness-based practices and multi-sector collaboration. u-school offers a range of on-line and off-line programs for learners and changemakers, offered globally through an innovative platform for learning and community-building Educational pathways are offered for learners to attain micro-credentials and to advance their own practice in leading and facilitating awareness-based systems change.
A Network of Partners
The work and offerings of u-school are held with a network of partners that includes regional organizations, and specialist organizations that are addressing one or more of the key ‘acupuncture points' for societal change. u-school also partners with universities to tailor open u-school programs to create action-learning complements to existing curricula.
Our Growing Community Around the World
People have enrolled in free programs since 2015, including u-lab and GAIA.
Of u-lab participants found the experience “inspiring” or “life-changing.”
Hubs emerged since 2015, creating a planetary web of placed-based learning and action communities.
Countries that have hosted the Presencing Institute’s SDG Leadership Labs with the United Nations by end of this year.
Languages in which programs are offered.
Countries in which the u-school is active with programs, hubs or events.
Stories of Transformation
Africa | Transforming Africa’s Future
The philosophy of “Ubuntu” — “I am because we are” — is the organizing principle for the Ubuntu Lab, whose goal is to shape Africa’s future through action-oriented movement-building. Ubuntu Lab’s unique format aspires to be an example of 21st-century education. Over 500 lab “graduates” from 15 African countries are working together in local hubs to address pressing challenges and prototype local solutions. Examples of prototypes that have emerged: a women-owned agriculture business; an action plan to reverse the growing number of teenage suicides; a program to teach financial literacy and entrepreneurship to young people.
India | Activating Personal Agency in the Midst of Disruption
Manish’s work on transforming gender conflicts, human trafficking, pandemic and the migrant crisis was featured at the Presencing Institute Global Forum and Conflict Transformation Summit in 2020. Against the backdrop of the hardship faced by millions of migrant workers in India from COVID-19, Manish Srivastava reflects on how we personally respond to collective trauma and what it means to do so with presence.
Indonesia | Linking the Inner Journey to Outer Impacts
Shobi works with various governmental, civil society, and business institutions to facilitate large-scale transformation processes through leadership and systemic innovations. She leads UID’s BEKAL Pemimpin program, which brings together Indonesia’s tri-sector emerging environmental leaders for system leadership capacity building and transformation; as well as TSEA’s inaugural offering Happy Digital X: Cities, Systems, Products, and Services which educates next-generation urban development actors to utilize technology and cross-sector collaboration for happier and more sustainable future cities.
Acupuncture Points Stories
SDG Leadership Labs
To make the skills and mindsets of awareness-based collective action available to the entire system and find innovative and collaborative solutions to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Read the articles:
Purpose-Driven Finance: Banking for the Real Economy
Working with the Global Alliance for Banking on Values to explore innovations to support investments in the real economy, improving the quality of life in marginalized communities.
Listen to the podcast:
Watch the interviews:
Street Classrooms for Climate Youth Activists
Providing access to students involved in climate strikes to a learning environment that helps them develop deeper interpersonal skills, learn about awareness-based methods, and apply social technologies to cope with the challenges they face.
Read the article: