Conversations with Global Leaders: Leading on Sustainable Development
Length Length

6 weeks

Effort Effort

2-4 hours per week

Price Price


Languages Languages


Prerequisites Prerequisites

A strong internet connection that can support viewing a live broadcast

Requirements Requirements

An internet connection to access course materials

Join Prof. Jeffrey Sachs
as he interviews


Join Prof. Jeffrey Sachs
Learn about
the decisions and choices

that make a LEADER

Learn about
on how leaders


Gather Personal REFLECTIONS
on the successes and failures that led to


Gather Personal REFLECTIONS


This course has been archived. You can watch the conversations in our SDG Academy Library.

Effective and inclusive leadership is the need of the hour for achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. But are good leaders born or are they made? And what are the essential skills and strategies required when they must make tough decisions that impact global policies, people and our planet?

The SDG Academy in collaboration with Club de Madrid, has come together to offer a course on Global Leadership for the SDGs. Through a series of live sessions for 6 weeks, the course will focus on how change happens and is sustained at the highest level within governments and organizations. It will deep dive into the questions of designing and implementing an ambitious agenda under different domestic and external policy constraints. It will look at the goal-setting process, particularly, why and how did countries come together to adopt global development goals, such as the MDGs and the SDGs. Finally, it will address the inter-temporal trade offs involved in short term goals vs. long term objectives.

The course will be led by former heads of state and global leaders in business and civil society. These individuals bring unique perspectives on the leadership necessary to create national and global movements towards sustainable development, including combating climate change, promoting and preserving human rights, and ensuring prosperity for all. Learners will have the opportunity to hear from a faculty of diverse leaders who bring critical reflections on how change can be made possible.

Join Prof. Jeffrey Sachs as he as interviews inspiring world leaders about how they make tough decisions in a complex world.

By the end of the course, learners will gain first-hand insights on:

  • The Importance of Goal-setting and the SDGs
  • Overcoming Divisions in Society and the SDGs
  • Inclusive and Moral Leadership
  • Geopolitical Leadership and Multilateralism
  • Leadership in the Corporate Sector

Lead Faculty

  • Faculty Image

    Ban Ki-moon

    Former UN Secretary-General

  • Faculty Image

    Gro Harlem Brundtland

    Former Prime Minister of Norway

  • Faculty Image

    Jeffrey Sachs

    Columbia University

  • Faculty Image

    Juan Manuel Santos

    Former President of Colombia

  • Faculty Image

    Paul Polman


This course is for

  • Policy professionals who want to understand frameworks for SDG planning

  • Development practitioners seeking information on goals-based development

  • Advanced undergraduates and graduate students interested in economics, development, public policy and other key concepts related to the SDGs

  • Private-sector actors, who want a concise overview of the latest developments in the field of sustainable development

  • Anyone interested in the broader concept of sustainable development and its relevance to their life and work


Course logistics and requirements

This course closed on March 8, 2020. You can watch videos from this course in our SDG Academy Library.


This course is an AUDIT-ONLY course offered on edX. There are no grades and assessments and NO certificates issued to those who complete the course.