Shared Pathways: DFAT-supported places

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Cities are on the frontline of climate challenges, but also at the forefront of climate action globally. In spite of national action limits, local governments have consistently demonstrated high climate ambitions whilst battling climate hazards like bushfires, heatwaves, and floods. Building on this global momentum the Shared Pathways to CoP28 City Diplomacy Melbourne Masterclass supports the next generation of city leaders to step up their skills, networks and impact. This bespoke fully-funded program supports two Masterclass Cohorts of the Shared Pathways program for Australian and Chinese cities.

The Shared Pathways specialist Masterclass

Delivered as a specialist track of the City Diplomacy Masterclass, Shared Pathways is an exchange and capacity-building program focused on strengthening the influence of city diplomacy in tackling climate change.

The ‘Melbourne Masterclass’ model involves both a set of online exchanges and intensive in-person workshop activities. They are devised to suit the busy schedules of local government officials, and the program provides joined executive training and tracks engagement opportunities. The program is targeted explicitly to early- to mid-career city officials, and is open to all domains of municipal practice, not just staff from international offices.

The DFAT-supported places via NFACR

Local government officers taking part in the Masterclass and working in Australian and Chinese cities have a unique opportunity to connect capacity building, city leadership, and international peer exchange, funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) through the National Foundation for Australia-China Relations (NFACR). This bespoke fully-funded program supports two Masterclass Cohorts of the Shared Pathways program.

Up to twenty fully funded NFACR-supported places are available. A selected group of cohort participants (on the basis of their capstone projects) will also be awarded special CoP28 travel awards to attend a major convening of the Shared Pathways program at CoP28 in the United Arab Emirates in November 2023.

Schedule

The Masterclass capitalises on the mounting popularity of city diplomacy and urban action on climate by both offering knowledge and skills-based training to sharpen cities’ diplomacy.

It is designed on the basis of extensive expertise in this area of capacity building by the University of Melbourne and thus to suit complex schedules by local government officers with minimal disruptions, as well as to facilitate access to cities of various shape and positioning at a minimal cost. At the same time as practical training, the masterclass provides a space where participants deliver a capstone policy output that is implementation ready and of direct use to their cities, focused on a foresight and strategy analysis of their cities’ city climate diplomacy.

The next two Masterclass cohorts will take place as follow:

Cohort 1: March–May 2023

application deadline: 6 February 2023 (early applications encouraged)

online course sessions: 27 March to 21 April 2023

in-person intensive workshop: 15 to 19 May 2023 (Melbourne, Australia)

Cohort 2: June–July 2023

application deadline: 24 April 2023 (early applications encouraged)

online course sessions: 13 June 2023 to 12 July 2023

in-person intensive workshop: 24 July to 28 July 2023 (Beijing, China)

Course details

The Masterclass consists of a one-month intensive online training (of approximately 48 ‘class’ time hours delivered virtually), and a four-day in person skills and networking workshop for course participants.

Fees: Free, DFAT NFACR 20 Supported Places available

Mode: Online and On Campus

Shared pathways is explicitly run to facilitate small cohort engagement that offers a small-knit experience with the Melbourne Centre for Cities team and international partners, as well as a well-balanced participant-educator ratio, including through small group tutorials and direct advice and individual feedback on capstone work as well as career development.

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FAQs

  • What is city diplomacy?

    ‘City diplomacy’ is the international engagement of local authorities. It is more and more a commonplace activity undertaken not only by mayors but by a widening group
    of internationally-engaged city officials, and their partners. This is not just a
    global city story: city diplomacy is increasingly common in regional and smaller centres, with more than 10,000 cities involved as members of transnational city networks today. As internationally recognised research from the Melbourne Centre for Cities underlines, a growing entrepreneurialism is now shown by cities to engage in environmental action both regionally as well as globally. This Shared Pathways Melbourne Masterclass specialist track takes stock of these advancements and drawing on research and practice expertise within the Melbourne Centre for Cities and its international partners.

  • What does city diplomacy have to do with climate change?

    Cities are on the frontline of climate challenges, but also at the forefront of climate action globally. In spite of national action limits, local government have consistently demonstrated high climate ambitions whilst battling climate hazards like bushfires, heatwaves and floods. Building on the global momentum generated in the past three decades by cities on this front through the effectiveness of city networks and other city diplomacy initiatives, and looking explicitly at how cities can deliver tangible action internationally, the Shared Pathways Masterclass specialist track bolsters shared climate ambitions of cities and forges a new generation of cosmopolitan city leaders. Targeted to enhance the international abilities of early career local government officers, the program offers a suite of manageable and up-to-date training to focus specifically on shared climate action and tangible commitments toward a step change in the urban governance of climate, but also more generally to enhance a new generation of internationally-networked city diplomats.

  • What is the format of the Masterclass?

    The Masterclass capitalises on the mounting popularity of city diplomacy and urban action on climate by both offering knowledge and skills-based training to sharpen cities’ diplomacy.

    It consists of a 1-month intensive online training (of approximately 48 ‘class’ time hours delivered virtually), and a 4-day in-person skills and networking workshop for course participants. It is designed on the basis of extensive expertise in this area of capacity building by the University of Melbourne and thus to suit complex schedules by local government officers with minimal disruptions, as well as to facilitate access to cities of various shape and positioning at a minimal cost. At the same time of practical training, the masterclass also provides a space where participants deliver a capstone policy output that is implementation ready and of direct use to their cities, focused on a foresight and strategy analysis of their cities’ city climate diplomacy.

    More detail on the format and contents of the Masterclass is here.

  • Who can apply?

    This Masterclass is open to all early- to mid-career municipal staff currently employed by local governments (cities, rural cities, shires, boroughs and equivalent) and with an interest in city leadership and climate action.

  • How do I apply?

    The application form is here. You will be requested to provide:

    • your current curriculum vitae
    • a brief (2-page) personal statement to support your application
    • the contact details of one referee.
  • What should I include in my personal statement?

    Your personal statement is an opportunity for you to give the assessment panel an idea of who you are, and why you should be selected for this Masterclass. They will already have your resume, so this statement can be used to give an impression of you as a person, and what motivates you. It should not be longer than two pages. Some suggested (optional) topics you might like to include are:

    • who are you and why would you be a good participant in this Masterclass?
    • why have you chosen your work area, and what has your journey been to this point?
    • what motivates and inspires you in your work, and your organisation or networks?
    • how does (or could) your current work relate to climate change?
    • how does (or could) your current work relate to city diplomacy?
    • how might this Masterclass support you to further enhance your work?
    • where do you see yourself in the future, and how might this Masterclass support you in that journey?
  • How will applications be assessed?

    Applications will be assessed based on:

    • Current employment (permanent or fixed term, consultants accepted too) in a local government
    • Relevance of experience and achievements per curriculum vitae
    • Quality and contents of personal statement
    • Previous academic achievement
    • High-level English proficiency as demonstrated by educational achievements, professional background, University of Melbourne recognised English language proficiency tests (e.g. IELTS, TOEFL), and/or authored written material. (Applicants from non-English speaking countries only).
  • What will the DFAT funding cover?

    The program offers up to 10 awards per cohort (20 total) to fully cover:

    • tuition fees
    • course materials
    • visa application (if required)
    • accommodation for one of the intensive workshops.
  • Will I receive a certificate or qualification from this Masterclass?

    You will receive a certificate of completion as a Professional Masterclass from the Melbourne Centre for Cities. This does not contribute to an academic qualification at the University of Melbourne.

  • When will the online classes be held?

    The Masterclass will have participants across many time zones, and we will do our best to schedule online course components during convenient office hours for Chinese and Australian cities. This means most of the sessions will be late morning in China and Western Australia, and lunch time or early afternoon in South Australia, Queensland and the south-eastern states.

  • How do I get to attend COP28?

    By completing an amazing capstone project! We have limited travel grants to award to attend a major convening at the COP28 meeting in Dubai in November 2023, and will select the successful participants from both cohorts based on your capstone projects. More detail about this project and criteria for assessment will be provided during the Masterclass.

Participant eligibility FAQs

  • My title doesn’t include ‘climate change’ or ‘diplomat’ – is this relevant for me?

    If you think so, then it probably is. Climate change is a whole-of-government, global challenge that intersects with work areas from waste to sustainability to social planning to economic development. Likewise, diplomacy is an activity of advocacy teams, infrastructure and major projects, inter-governmental relations, and many others. If you see value in upskilling and learning more about city diplomacy and climate change, we encourage you to apply.

  • How do you calculate ‘early- to mid-career’?

    We are calculating this based on under ten years of relevant sector experience. However, careers take many forms, and we recognise that you may have spent years in different types of roles in local government prior to this, you may have held roles in other sectors, or you may indeed have had multiple careers to date. If you feel you’re early- to mid- career at the moment, we encourage you to apply.

  • I work for an Australian city – can I apply for the Beijing intensive?

    Yes! We encourage you to apply for this opportunity to learn in-country and contribute to local knowledge exchange in China.

  • I work for a Chinese city – can I apply for the Melbourne intensive?

    Yes! We encourage you to apply for this opportunity to learn in-country and contribute to local knowledge exchange in Australia.

  • I work for a city that’s not in Australia or China – can I apply for this Masterclass?

    Yes! You’re welcome to apply, though unfortunately we cannot award you a DFAT-funded position in the 2023 cohorts. Please see the page for ‘Open Cohort’ applications.

  • I work in climate change or diplomacy but not for a city – can I apply for this Masterclass?

    No. This Masterclass is only for people currently employed in local government.

  • Who can I contact for support with my application?

    Please contact our City Diplomacy Team with any questions – we’re happy to support you through the application process.
    Chinese cities: Diane.Hu@unimelb.edu.au
    Australian and other cities: Jessica.Trijsburg@unimelb.edu.au