UH Graduate Certificate Prepares International Leaders in Sustainable and Responsible Oil and Gas Practices
06/16/2017 | By Claire Andersen
A unique graduate certificate at the University of Houston, the Global Energy, Development, and Sustainability (GEDS) certificate has drawn scholars from down the street and around the world for its unique curriculum and expertise. This May, a group of government officials from the Ministry of Energy in Albania came to UH to for the executive certificate program, where they focused on topics ranging from community development to energy histories and operating standards.
The certificate was created and is co-directed by Kairn Klieman, a specialist in African and global oil histories, and Tom Mitro, a former regional CFO for Chevron and consultant to a number of governments in Africa. Rebecca Golden-Timsar, an expert on gender and petro-violence, serves as associate director. The GEDS graduate certificate focuses on achieving beneficial outcomes for the communities, companies and governments involved in oil and gas projects around the globe.
The GEDS certificate is the only one of its kind, offering its students a multi-disciplinary curriculum focused on the petroleum industry and society. What enables this certificate to be so unique is that it is catered to the needs and challenges of each cohort. For the Albanian officials, there was a strong focus on lectures and discussion to bring them up to date on current best-practices for the oil and gas industry worldwide.
“It’s been a breath of fresh air teaching them, because everything’s so relevant to them and they soak everything up,” said Klieman.
A large portion of the curriculum was centered on non-technical issues, such as the management of communities, as well as governmental and environmental issues. Reinforcing all of these subtopics was a focus on how to create sustainability in the oil and gas industry, so that citizens of Albania will benefit from the oil industry for many generations to come.
Each week featured several industry and academia experts, who worked closely to provide perspective and incite to the topics relevant to the unique needs of the participant group. Not only was the program unique for participants, but for the lecturers and specialists as well.
“One of the beautiful things is we bring in all these specialists at UH that don’t usually come together,” said Klieman. “UH is already expert in producing top-notch labor force for the oil industry. We want to help train that labor force so that they also have the intellectual frameworks and analytical skills that allow them to plan for long-term benefits for all the stakeholders involved.”
The group ended their stay at UH with a meeting with Chancellor Khator where they expressed their gratitude and discussed possible collaboration between UH and Albania in the future.