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Communication Challenges for the Health of Humankind


Course Objectives

In this course, students will

  • learn about human nature and the nature of human communication
  • distinguish between human needs, human wants, and variations across cultures and time
  • explore human communication themes in the context of globalization and the digital age
  • reflect on the boundaries of ethics, science and technology in defining what it means to be human and the future of human nature
  • recognize the role and potency of communication in emerging global matters that challenge the health and well-being of humankind
  • discover opportunities for the field of communication to unite humans in confronting these global challenges together.
Course Description

Globalization of modernity and inherent sustainability issues are taking a visible toll on the health and well-being of humankind. Global crises like the Covid-pandemic or climate change showed us serious weaknesses in human communication. In the coming years, more successful communication will become increasingly important for our health and peaceful coexistence.
Will we succeed or fail in uniting humankind to confront its grand challenges together? This is one of the most existential questions ever encountered, and it is addressed to communication science. The objective of this course is to help students understand the role and potency of human communication in emerging global health matters, and to provide students with the communicative competence to participate in these discussions in a unifying way, as these skills are becoming increasingly crucial.
The course consists of three parts:
The first section focuses on human nature, human health, and the nature of human communication. In the second part, special emphasis is given to communication themes that are now rapidly arising in the context of globalization and the digital age. The third part discusses future challenges to the health of humankind, and opportunities therein for the field of communication.
Throughout this course, students will actively engage in readings, media resources and interactive class discussions on “grand challenges” and current “hot topics.” Students will be encouraged to focus these discussions to their own specific interests to make them more tangible to their own lives.
They will also be asked to consider the role of technology in supporting a healthier communication for a healthier future of humankind.

Evaluation procedures and Grading criteria

Final project (70%), Final exam (30%)
Language: English
The concrete grading criteria for both assessments will be communicated in class.



Required materials

Students will receive a customized reading package for this course.


Hannawa A. F.

Course director

Corengia M.