Satish Kumar and Schumacher College win prestigious medal

by | Aug 23, 2023

A special ceremony will be held in London in September to present the College and its founder with the 2023 RSA Bicentenary Medal in recognition of their “trailblazing” contribution to new economic and ecological learning. 
View of the Hermitage of Santa Eulalia d’Alendo from the Centre d’Art i Natura, Farrera, Catalan Pyrenees.
Satish Kumar, Schumacher College.  picture courtesy of Julia Zhou 
When Satish Kumar was considering a name for the College,  he was inspired by the economist E. F. Schumacher, author of Small Is Beautiful, who believed it was imperative to find new ways of organising the economy in order to put people and the planet first.

Thirty years later, the need for ecological education has never been greater, he said, adding he was delighted and honoured,  the RSA was recognising the College’s growing influence and reputation around the world:

“Much of our mainstream educational system has been dominated by the needs of the economy. Schumacher College is working to transform that system by introducing the needs of the ecology, so that economy and ecology are in harmony and together they create a more holistic form of education,” he said.

“We are all Nature and we humans are responsible for the integrity and sustainability of our precious planet Earth. And education should play a positive role in sustaining and maintaining planetary health as well as human health.”

Now in his 80s, he has spent most of his life as a peace campaigner and environmental activist.  In his 20s he walked from India to Moscow, London, Paris, and America, with no money and depending on the kindness of strangers, delivering a packet of ‘peace tea’ to the leaders of the four capitals of the nuclear world.

From humble beginnings the College has has developed an international reputation for its experiential approach to learning, encouraging students to start with practice-based skills that support biodiversity and nature connection, and to use these experiences to inform whole-systems thinking and action in response to the social and climate challenges of the 21st century.

In 2022, Schumacher College launched undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Regenerative Food and Farming  to become the first higher education provider in England to offer agricultural training exclusively focussed on ecologically-centred approaches to food production.

It added the existing vibrant selection of MA programmes in Regenerative EconomicsEcological Design Thinking, Engaged Ecology, and Movement, Mind and Ecology.

When Schumacher College was founded in 1991, a year before the landmark Rio Earth Summit, much of the western world was in the grip of an economic system that was predicated on ever increasing consumption and endless economic growth.

Its pioneering approach to addressing the collective challenges facing the world has prepared thousands of students to play key roles in some of the most well-known international organisations

Alumni of the College have been instrumental in helping forge the Paris Agreement on climate change, leading major design schools, developing the Donut Economics Action Lab with leading economist Kate Raworth, working for the United Nations, shaping policy for Dark Matter Labs, creating ground-breaking ecological projects in Peru, innovating on local government and spearheading change within some of the world’s largest consulting firms.

Centro de Residencias Artisticas, Matadero, Madrid.
Schumacher College

Satish Kumar will be presented with the 2023 RSA Bicentenary Medal by the RSA’s president, HRH Princess Royal, at a special ceremony in London on September 21.

The Medal is presented annually to individuals and organisations who have made an outstanding and demonstrable contribution, through their design practice, towards an equitable and regenerative world. Previous winners have included designer Sir Terence Conran, Deanna Van Buren, co-founder of Designing Justice + Designing Spaces. The 2022 winner was the founder of the Biomimicry Institute, biologist Professor Janine Benyus. 

The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of arts manufactures and commerce) has been at the forefront of significant social impact for over 260 years with a global network of changemakers, work collectively to enable people, places and the planet to flourish in harmony.

Satish will be speaking at the Small is Beautiful Reimagined Festival at Dartington on Saturday, September 2, 2023.