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09 June 2023


Global Challenge Track

Global Challenge Track

Partnership Category:

External partnerships to enhance education (curriculum) – e.g. partners for the learning journey

Name of Partner:

Global Challenge Foundation

Name of Partnership:

Global Challenge Track

Primary purpose:

External partnership to enhance education (curriculum).

Secondary purpose:

In collaboration with the Global Challenges Foundation, the Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) launched a new track – Global Challenges at the Stockholm School of Economics – to be included in the Bachelor program in Business and Economics. The Global Challenges Foundation, based in Stockholm, Sweden, was founded in 2012 by the former financier Laszlo Szombatfalvy. The aim of this course is to encourage self-reflection and responsible leadership amongst students.

Contact for this partnership:

Anna-Maria Svahn

Program Coordinator, Global Challenges, Program Office


Practical involvement:

The collaboration between the Foundation and SSE will continue for ten years and will include approximately 3,000 students. In the school’s largest program: the Bachelor program in Business and Economics, with about 300 students in each cohort, not only by introducing interdisciplinary content but also new methods to encourage self-reflection and taking responsibility for leadership in addressing these problems. It runs throughout the first two years with two mandatory courses, Global Challenges I and II, and one elective, Global Challenges III.

The courses in the global challenges program focus on: Semester 1: Knowing - The first course provides a basic understanding and overview of global challenges. Students gain knowledge of factors and risks in relation to these issues, for example global warming, poverty, water crisis and political violence, as well as an understanding of the causes and how these problems are related to each other.

Semester 2: Doing - The second course is focusing on problem solving and dealing with the existing problems. It asks the question: What are organizations and businesses on different levels (international and regional) doing? And it is split into three blocks: The Challenge, The Role of Business and The Practice of Social Entrepreneurs.

Semester 3: Being - This course examines ongoing issues in relation to the individual. Students are able to analyze their own ethics and values, and how this will affect their leadership skills.

Semester 4: Expressing – This is the conclusion of the whole track. Students produce a final project on a specific issue, and also present a well-grounded solution. A Global Challenges Expo dedicated to presentations of the projects is then held.

Benefits of this partnership to the institution as a PRME Champion:

The Foundation has great expectations that this concept – in addition to educating corporate decision-makers about completely new insights regarding the world we all operate in – will spark interest and create followers at other leading institutions around the world, which ties directly into SSE’s aims as a PRME Champion.

Benefits of this partnership to the partner institution(s):

The goal of the Foundation is to reduce the risk of large global catastrophes that could threaten humanity and to facilitate solutions to mankind's big, new problems. To achieve this the Foundation works in two parallel ways. Firstly, by increasing knowledge about the great global risks and problems among decision makers, media and the general public in order to raise awareness of their true dimensions, and secondly, by stimulating research and discourse regarding a functioning, global governance model – global governance – which in a more effective, rational and equitable way can manage the great global risks and problem than the current system can do.

Spillover effects/cross pollination/impact of this partnership:

For the students: Sustainability takes a central stage in the Bachelor education as the Global Challenges ‘track’ last over several semesters. They not only gain awareness but also vocabularies, concepts and tools that equip them to face and address sustainability challenges. We noticed an increase in Bachelor these projects that touch on sustainability after the implementation of the Global challenge.

For faculty: Global Challenge is a faculty rich course, since the 300 students are divided into smaller groups of about 35 students followed by one faculty member. Often rotation of faculty from one year to the next for the tutoring of small groups, so the number of faculty that is now trained and has delivered a component of the Global Challenge is noticeable. The vocabulary and concepts used in the Global challenges are now much more integral part of faculty conversation and is also noticeable in faculty research applicants.

For the school: a clear inscription in sustainability with a very visible expo at the end of the Global Challenges ‘track’ with students’ projects. The commitment to address the expectations from the student that are now clearly articulated in terms of education (responsible management education ) and in terms of content: they ask for more courses directly related to sustainability. See for example the new elective ‘Sustainable finance’ that was asked by students

For the Foundation: The Foundation seeks to examine old and new models for the development of the United Nations, and to initiate new ideas for effective global governance. This is realized by the involvement of both faculty and students, and this is made tangible in the students’ final project presented in the exposition.

For prospective students: the foundation has contributed, in addition to the program, to the financial support of new student to pay the tuition fees for students applying from a non-EU country (or non-EU nationals). the Widegren and Quinn Global Challenges scholarship.

Lessons learned from the partnership:

The collaboration with the Foundation requires careful management of expectation so that there is no interference of an external partner on the academic content delivered, and that the school delivers a program that is aligned with the ambition of the foundation. The school is the primary decider of what is the exact academic content delivered it the Global Challenges courses. This has become clear over the years.

The partnership with the foundation led to establish other opportunities for the students, see the Widegren and Quinn Global Challenges scholarship.

Duration of partnership:

The partnership was established in 2016 and expects to last for 10 years.

Communications about this partnership:




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