King’s hosts the first Circle U. National Conference in London

On 19 and 20 May, King’s College London hosted the first Circle U. National Conference, Teaching and living leadership for addressing Sustainable Development Goals – the role of universities.

The conference brought together Circle U. member universities, partner universities, embassy representatives and higher education stakeholders from the UK and beyond, to discuss and reaffirm the fundamental role that universities play in delivering SDGs.

In his keynote speech, Robert Skinner, Deputy Director and Chief of Partnerships and Global Engagement in the United Nations Department of Global Communications, underlined the importance of universities as “fundamental collaborators and partners in fostering the SDGs.” He also shared insights about the UN’s SDGs in Academia series, which highlights the activities of United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) members in connection with the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

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Leadership and Democratic Societies

Chaired by Professor Bobby Duffy, Director of the Policy Institute at King’s, the first panel discussed Leadership and Democratic Societies, and how this topic relates to the role of universities in achieving the SDGs. Professor Duffy was joined by Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, Vice-Chancellor of University of Johannesburg, Professor Mette Halskov Hansen, Vice-Rector for Climate & the Environment and Cross-Disciplinarity at University of Oslo and Professor Sandra R. G. Almeida, President of Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, for a discussion which considered the importance of knowledge to leadership, the need for universities to set an example of democratic leadership and to think in terms their connection to society and the needs of a changing world. 

How impactful can universities be in achieving the SDGs?

For the second panel, Professor José Celso Freire Junior, Associate Provost for International Affairs at UNESP, was joined by Hamza Lone, Vice President Education at KCLSU, Dr Robyn Klingler-Vidra, Reader in International Political Economy at King’s, Dr Tim Flink, Scientific Advisor to the Federal Parliament of Germany and Professor Joseph Wong, Vice-President International at University of Toronto, for a discussion entitled How impactful can universities be in achieving the SDGs?

The panel considered the role universities have in providing a service to society, the need to involve students in the co-creation of solutions and the importance of reciprocal, equitable and relevant partnerships between the Global North and the Global South. 

Day two of the conference brought together attendees from King’s and across the Circle U. Alliance for three interactive workshops on Creativity and Culture, Education and Sustainability and Global Health in the Curriculum, which considered how these topics can be embedded within and across our curriculums and institutions.  

Save the date for the next National Conference in Berlin

Humboldt University will host the next Circle U. National Conference, The European Union and the Green Deal in Higher Education, in Berlin on 28-29 November 2022. Please save the date and further details will follow soon.


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Published May 25, 2022 12:59 PM - Last modified Aug. 25, 2022 1:18 PM