In September 2022, the SDG Academy participated in the UN Transforming Education Summit and the International Conference on Sustainable Development among other events aimed at promoting education for sustainable development.
Speaker Series: Sustainable Development Leaders in the Workforce
The Global Master’s in Development Practice (MDP) Secretariat co-organized the first ICSD Speaker Series: Sustainable Development Leaders in the Workforce. During three two-hour sessions on September 7th, 14th, and 21st, six speakers discussed their current job or company, highlighted the incentivization of sustainable development innovations, shared their experiences in multi-disciplinary problem-solving, examined what skills and knowledge are needed to excel in their field in the 21st century, and made projections about the changing needs in their sector.
All the speakers shared memorable comments, including Aniket Shah, Managing Director and Global Head of Environmental, Social Governance, and Sustainability Strategies at Jeffries Group LLC. Although he holds a doctorate from Oxford University in economic geography with a focus on sustainable finance and has years of senior experience in emerging market investing and financing sustainable development in both the public and private sector, Aniket emphasized that we should not rest on our laurels, but instead continue to grow and learn. His focus area is developing so rapidly that today’s knowledge of the field becomes obsolete rather quickly. He added that one needs to continue to grow by reading trade publications, newspapers, books, or listening to podcasts about one’s area of expertise, or to take executive-type courses or certificates, if one expects to remain relevant to any company and at the top of one’s field.
Another speaker, Neha Sharma, Co-founder of Hymn Healthcare, a medical healthcare enterprise based in the lower Himalayan region of India, spoke about taking care of one’s mental, spiritual, and physical health. Her presentation drew on her years of experience as a clinical yoga and ayurvedic nutrition expert, and after listening to her, attendees were ready to try yoga and change their diet. Neha gave a very inspiring and convincing talk on the importance of taking care of ourselves now, in spite of the general stresses of life, so that we can truly live long and full lives.
Suraya Hamdulay, the Vice President of Strategy and Engagement at 2U, an education platform that invests in and partners with academic institutions to offer online degrees, discussed the various degrees and resources available on sustainable development and left the participants very interested in the Career Engagement Network, a no-cost mentoring-type program for current students and alumni of the 2U online degree program. Interest in the Career Engagement Network was quite high, since its benefits include resume and interview preparation toolkits, virtual events, and career fairs with hundreds of companies including Google, H&R Block, and Apex Systems.
Transforming Education Summit
From September 16th-17th, the SDG Academy and Global Schools participated in the Transforming Education Summit. On Youth Mobilization day, we heard from panelists including Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed, Ministers of Education, Youth Leaders and more!
At TES Solutions Day, the SDG Academy, the Permanent Mission of Ireland to the UN, the Permanent Mission of Ghana to the UN, and United Nations Academic Impact co-hosted a session at UN Headquarters.
The session was moderated by Donal Kenneally, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Ireland to the EU. Opening remarks covered the need for Open Educational Resources and featured Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum- Minister for Education, Ghana; Niki Kerameus, Minister of Education and Religious Affairs, Greece; Tawfik Jelassi, Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information; and Jeffrey Sachs, University Professor at Columbia University and President of SDSN.
The ambitious large-scale initiative highlighted includes governments, members of Mission 4.7, UN Academic Impact, the UN Headquarters’ Library (network), OER Dynamic Coalition, UNESCO, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA), Creative Commons, and the Private Sector. Each partner that spoke adds unique value to a multi-stakeholder ‘Diamond’ partnership and can implement the OER Recommendation in practical terms.
Click here to watch the recording of the Solutions Day Event.
Mission 4.7 Ministerial Panel: Transforming education for prosperity, people and the planet
On September 18th, as a contribution to the UN Transforming Education Summit, Mission 4.7 hosted a special panel discussion featuring Ministers of Education to discuss their countries’ work and commitment towards making SDG 4.7 a reality. The event began with a special announcement by Leslee Udwin, Founder of Think Equal and member of the Mission 4.7 Education Task Force, that Belize would implement the Think Equal early-years social emotional learning (SEL) program in their national curriculum. This announcement was followed by welcome remarks from Mission 4.7 Patron and former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Education and Mission 4.7 Co-Chair Stefania Giannini.
The panel, moderated by Dina Buchbinder, Founder and President of Education for Sharing and member of the Mission 4.7 Education Task Force, featured inspiring interventions from the Honorable Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, Minister for Education of Ghana, Johanna Sumuvuori, State Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland, the Honorable Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education, Culture, Science and Technology of Belize, Her Excellency Niki Kerameus, Minister of Education and Religious Affairs of Greece, and the Honorable Agnes NyaLonje, Minister of Education, Malawi.
Professor Jeffrey Sachs, who serves as Co-chair of Mission 4.7, also stressed the importance of transformative education to achieve the SDGs.
Watch the recording here.
Tech Innovation for Education and Training
On September 19th, the SDG Academy held a session at the SDSN Leadership Council meeting on “Tech Innovation for Education and Training.” Panelists included Sustainable Development Solutions Network President, Jeffrey Sachs; SDG Academy Director & Vice President of Education, Patrick Paul Walsh; Sunway University Chancellor, Tan Sri Dr. Jeffrey Cheah; Head of Business Development at edX/2U, John Schwartz; Founder of TRUE Africa University, Claude Grunitzky; President and Co-Founder of Kaltura, Michal Tsur; Manager of Digital Transformation in Higher Education at International Association of Universities, Trine Jensen; and Chief Information Management Section at the United Nations, Thanos Giannakopoulos.
International Conference on Sustainable Development
Plenary 1A | Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum Development
On September 19th, Global Schools Project officers presented a paper on the Global Schools Program research pilot projects in Ghana, Turkey, and Morocco. The paper focuses on the integration of UNESCO’s Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) framework and the SDGs in national education curricula. The presentation contributed to the parallel session’s aim to bring together educators, students, community partners, and administrators who are changing their practices to be more holistic, innovative, and transformative. Through sharing successful approaches and models in different contexts, presenters reflected on the educational process and the role of education in advancing the Global Goals.
Plenary 4C | Partnerships and the Sustainable Development Goals
On September 19th, SDG Academy Director Patrick Paul Walsh moderated the ICSD Session “Partnerships and the Sustainable Development Goals.” The session featured five presentations on the interconnected nature of the SDGs. It called for a ‘whole-of-society’ and a ‘whole-of government’ approach in implementation within a country. This necessitates effective partnerships between different state and non-state sectors, and within government departments, to work collaboratively, co-sharing resources (including expertise) and responsibilities to address complex social, economic, and environmental problems.
Global Schools ICSD Side Event
On September 21st, in a side event at the International Conference on Sustainable Development, Global Schools Advocates shared their work integrating education for sustainable development into K12 school communities. The practical session inspired others and celebrated the international community of teachers on the occasion of the Transformative Education Summit and in support of Mission 4.7.
The Role of Higher Education Institutions in the Transformation of Future-Fit Education
On September 22nd, SDG Academy Director Prof. Patrick Paul Walsh joined UN Academic Impact and the Center for Global Affairs of New York University for a panel discussion about the continuing role of higher education institutions in advancing sustainable development within and outside of academia. In addition to Professor Walsh, the panel featured NYU’s Dr. Carolyn Kissane; Mr. Sarmad Khan, co-author of the upcoming book The Sustainable University of the Future: Reimagining Higher Education and Research; Dr. Mette Morsing, Head of Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) at UN Global Compact; and Dr. Priyadarshani Joshi, Senior Research Officer at the UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring Report. It was moderated by Robert Skinner, Deputy Director and Chief of Partnerships and Global Engagement at the Outreach Division of the UN Department for Global Communications.
Watch the recording of the session here.
Thank you to all our speakers and attendees for contributing to these important conversations about strengthening education for sustainable development through interdisciplinary education and research! The SDG Academy looks forward to building on the success of these events as we continue to strive towards our vision of a world in which the Sustainable Development Goals are achieved through the efforts of multiple generations of educators, policymakers, practitioners, and citizens..