Dynamic Hub of The Americas: Entrepreneurship & Sustainable Development in Panama

Course Number
DYNM 7810 001
Course Code
Course Key
Registration permits will be issued upon receipt of a signed travel agreement.
Primary Program
Course Note
DYNM Category: A; DYNM Concentrations: LMC, GL, SD. Travel Dates: 3/1-10
Course Description
Creating meaningful solutions to the biggest challenges facing humanity today requires diverse interventions at all scales: macro, micro, and everything in between. The projects reshaping business as usual and driving more sustainable outcomes involve both multinational cooperation at the highest levels and place-specific interventions at the scale of individuals, families, and communities. This course will explore innovative, cross-scale initiatives through which Central America’s largest and fastest growing economy is tackling sustainability challenges while balancing cultural values and conservation of biodiversity with economic growth and exploitation of natural resources. On the international stage, the Republic of Panama leads the way on environmental conservation, even surpassing ambitious global targets by protecting more than 50 percent of its oceans and becoming one of the first certified carbon-negative countries. The globalization-defining Panama Canal epitomizes human efforts to make something happen that was colossal in scale and macro in scope. Today’s Panama also offers opportunities to study bright spots, positive deviance, and the emergence of new economic initiatives based on diverse worldviews—despite the micro scale of some of these projects, they too have the potential to change world order. Geographically, politically, culturally, and economically, Panama is an excellent place to prototype. Underdeveloped relative to its potential, the nation provides a fruitful environment for Panamanian and expatriate entrepreneurs alike to develop new ventures, organize from the ground up, and intentionally design for sustainable scalability.   

At the core of this experiential travel course is the opportunity to visit a range of Panama’s land, sea, and cityscapes and interact with pioneering companies, entrepreneurs, policymakers, NGOs, and scientists. Organizational Dynamics students will be challenged to create and contribute while learning in this dynamic environment. Travel abroad will take place in Panama over Penn’s Spring Break (March 1-10, 2024), with pre-departure and post-trip sessions TBD. Students are expected to complete readings in advance of the trip, keep a field journal, participate in scheduled meetings and activities, complete a paper or applied project synthesizing their learning, and give a presentation on their work during the final session.
Subject Area Vocab