Exploring the Role of a Colombian University to Promote Just Transitions. An Analysis from the Human Development and the Regional Transition Pathways to Sustainability
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Universities are central organisations that can act as promoters and amplifiers of regional just transitions. In this paper, we analyse how a Colombian regional university, the University of Ibagué (UI), is playing this role through two initiatives: (1) a governance experiment piloted between 2018 and 2019 that constructed an aspirational vision for this university through the definition of eight human capabilities; (2) a formal curriculum regional programme named Peace and Region (P&R) established in 2010 as a service-learning strategy for undergraduates in their final year. To analyse the contribution of these two initiatives towards a just transition, we built a specific analytical framework based on the human development and capability approach and Regional Transition Pathways to Sustainability (RTPS). Exploring both the content and the process of building the list and perceptions of the different actors involved in the P&R programme, we found that both initiatives have a strong directionality that resonates with the normative ambition of a just transition. Moreover, in both processes, people involved have expanded human capabilities, and co-produced holistic and transdisciplinary knowledge through the interaction of academic and non-academic actors. From an RTPS perspective, the programme captures regional complexity and moulds micro-dynamics to socially fair and sustainable paths.