Right Livelihood College at Common Ground Center

Founded in 1980, the Right Livelihood Award, widely known as "the Alternative Nobel Prize", honors and supports those offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today.

Honoring & Supporting Projects of Hope

November 25, 2013 - Stockholm, Sweden; Santa Cruz, California, USA 

Right Livelihood College establishes campus in California 
RLC now in five continents


Today, the Right Livelihood Award Foundation announced that the University of California (UC) – Santa Cruz, will host the seventh Right Livelihood College (RLC) campus, and the first in the North American continent.

The RLC will be based at the Common Ground Center at UC Santa Cruz’s Kresge College. The mission of the Center is to create cultural change for social justice, environmental regeneration, and economic viability.

Twenty-one Right Livelihood Laureates hail from the United States and Canada. These include journalist Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, Maude Barlow, the world’s leading advocate for the right to water, and Paul Walker, the chemical weapon non-proliferation expert from Green Cross International who is one of the 2013 Laureates.

With the new campus, the RLC expands its reach for the 3rd time within two months. Shortly before its 5th anniversary in January next year, the College is now present in five continents.

It is expected that the RLC campus at Santa Cruz will enable students of the Common Ground Center to learn from Laureates through lectures and seminars, as well as conduct action research on the Laureates’ issues. Focusing on undergraduate education, the Center complements the traditional classroom approach by engaging students in advancing participatory action research and civic engagement projects, by which students develop their leadership capacities in service of the world they want to shape and inherit.



Paul Walker, 2013 Right Livelihood Laureate, who will come to Stockholm next week for the Award Ceremony in the Swedish Parliament, said:

“We not only decide about the planet we leave our children, we also decide now if we want to educate them to be stewards of this world or merely consumers. Education is the key, and proper research into the challenges we are now facing - environmental security, sustainability, peace and social justice - is the need of the hour. The Right Livelihood College builds on this concept, and, with the University of California in Santa Cruz, I am happy to see a US campus become a partner in this network for social change.”

Maude Barlow, Canada, Right Livelihood Award 2005, said:

"This is wonderful news. The Common Ground Center at UC Santa Cruz and the Right Livelihood Award share the same values of working for cultural and transformative change. I am sure that this partnership will contribute significantly to nurturing the next generation of environmentalists and advocates for sustainability on the North American continent."

Ole von Uexkull, Executive Director, Right Livelihood Award Foundation, said:

“We congratulate the Common Ground Center at UC Santa Cruz for partnering with us to establish the first Right Livelihood College campus in North America, giving the College a presence in five continents. We are sure that students at the Center will benefit from interacting with the Laureates as they use their research to shape social and environmental change. We wish the Center every success as our newest RLC campus.” 

Melissa Ott, UCSC Common Ground Center,  Executive Committee Student, said:

“Students at UC Santa Cruz are deeply engaged in developing ideas and actions to solve the greatest challenges facing our local and global communities. I have seen and felt a yearning to connect our collective student work with others in the world who are leading transformative change. We are calling for socially-engaged education. This partnership will provide that link so that students can take the ideas they learn and generate at our University to the rest of the world. It will connect students with leaders from global civil society and the world-changing best practices they employ, and support us in transforming our shared future. There’s no better time than now for this win-win partnership.” 

David Shaw, UCSC Common Ground Center, Executive Committee Faculty, said:

"It is a great honor to announce the partnership between the Right Livelihood Award Foundation and the University of California Santa Cruz Common Ground Center at Kresge College. This is a historic moment for UCSC and RLA Foundation as we bring our resources together in service of the socially just, economically viable, and environmentally sustainable future we believe in. Our Center will host seminars and lectures with RLA Laureates, and provide pathways for deep and long-term student engagement with Laureates for academic research, internships, and field studies. These are the manner of transformative student experiences being called for today. A better world is possible, and I believe we will get there through collective and wise actions such as this partnership." 

Christine King, UCSC Common Ground Center, Executive Committee Faculty, said: 

“Partnering with the Right Livelihood Award Foundation will offer our youth the kind of out-of-the-box thinking, vision, and action so vital to the future of our planet and civilization. May they be inspired by the RLA Laureates to take the creative and courageous steps necessary to help change the course of humanity.” 




The Right Livelihood College was founded in January 2009. It is a capacity building initiative of the Right Livelihood Award Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden, which awards annually the so-called “Alternative Nobel Prize”. The RLC aims to make the knowledge and experience of the Right Livelihood Laureates accessible to all. By linking young scholars with the Laureates, it hopes to make the “winning ideas” of the Laureates inspire, succeed and multiply.

The existing campuses are as follows: Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, Malaysia; Lund University Center for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS), Lund University, Sweden; Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany; Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia; University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria; Universidad Austral, Chile; and the National University of Cordoba, Argentina.



For more information on the Right Livelihood Award, please visit:

Website: http://www.rightlivelihood.org/college.html

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rlafoundation

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rightlivelihood


For more information on the UCSC Common Ground Center please contact:

David Shaw, Common Ground Center Executive Committee Faculty

Email: commonground [at] ucsc [dot] edu

Homepage: http://kresge.ucsc.edu/commonground/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/commongroundcenter