Georgia Tech Partners with Universities, UN on Sustainable Development Goals

Representatives from leading world universities — including Georgia Tech — will convene today at Rutgers University – Newark to participate in the University Global Compact (UGC)’s 17 Rooms-U, hosted in partnership with the United Nations.

Three faculty from the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts are among the representatives from leading world universities — including Georgia Tech — who are convened today, September 23, at Rutgers University, Newark to participate in the University Global Compact (UGC)’s 17 Rooms-U, hosted in partnership with the United Nations in pursuit of its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The event brings together more than 150 faculty champions, thought leaders, students, and stakeholders to discuss solutions and plan actions to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The Ivan Allen College faculty are among nine Georgia Tech participants who are attending with President Ángel Cabrera, a founder of the UGC.

“Universities around the world are essential in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” Cabrera said. “They conduct research that can lead to new solutions, they educate professionals and leaders who are prepared to enact those solutions, and they are trusted conveners of other stakeholders. It is exciting to see higher education getting organized to better collaborate in support of the Goals, and the 17 Rooms event will help us identify ways to have the greatest possible impact.” President Cabrera shared additional thoughts in a recent post on his blog.

The UGC is a platform of universities and other higher education organizations committed to working together, in partnership with the United Nations, and with other relevant organizations in support of the UN’s 17 SDGs (outlined below).

The Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts participants are:

  • Laura Taylor, professor and chair, School of Economics, who specializes in the valuation of natural resources and ecosystem services, which is a critical aspect of calculating sound estimates of policy benefits to costs
  • Mary Frank Fox, ADVANCE Professor, School of Public Policy, an AAAS Fellow who focuses on gender, science, and academia and brings to the forefront issues of diversity, equity, and excellence
  • Shatakshee Dhongde, associate professor, School of Economics, whose research focuses on income distribution, inequality and poverty 

Social justice is a core value of research, education, and public engagement by the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts and so faculty across the College work in areas relates to the SDGs.

    The Atlanta Global Studies Center (AGSC), a partnership between the Ivan Allen College School of Modern Languages and Georgia State, builds international awareness, global competence, and advanced language capacity in higher education, the private & public sector, and the K-12 community to empower the Atlanta and Southeast global agenda. AGSC integrates and emphasizes principles of Education for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. Its inaugural symposium in April 2019 focused on The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals in Education, Research, and Community Engagement. AGSC is a National Resource Center and a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowship program.

    Five Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts faculty are part of the Sustainable Development Goal Faculty Fellows by Georgia Tech's Center for Serve-Learn-Sustain (SLS). The Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts fellows are:

    Georgia Tech researchers are working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to reinvent the toilet — technology that hasn’t changed much in more than a century — which could provide safe sanitation to 2.5 billion people. Georgia Tech is also opening the doors to The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design this fall. It will be the most environmentally advanced education and research building ever constructed in the Southeast. Tech's Global Change Program seeks to train a new generation of leaders who are equipped to pursue solutions to a host of interconnected challenges such as climate change, environmental pollution, water resources, human health, and affordable, clean energy.

    Georgia Tech is also a partner in the Regional Center of Expertise (RCE) for Greater Atlanta, a sustainability network that supports implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals at the regional level through education and training. The designation makes Atlanta one of only seven RCEs in the U.S. and 168 worldwide. RCE Greater Atlanta brings together nine universities and colleges with nonprofit, community, government, and business partners, including leadership and participation from historically black colleges and universities.

    The UN’s 17 sustainable development goals include: 

    • No poverty
    • Zero hunger
    • Good health and well-being
    • Quality education
    • Gender equality
    • Clean water and sanitation
    • Affordable and clean energy
    • Decent work and economic growth
    • Industry, innovation, and infrastructure
    • Reduced inequalities
    • Sustainable cities and communities
    • Responsible consumption and production
    • Climate action
    • Life below water
    • Life on land
    • Peace, justice, and strong institutions
    • Partnerships to implement the goals

    Other Georgia Tech participants in the 17-rooms event include:

    • Lizanne DiStefano, professor of psychology and executive director, CEISMC
    • Mark Hay, Regents Professor and Harry and Linda Teasley Chair, School of Biological Sciences
    • John Koon, professor of the practice, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    • Debra Lam, managing director, Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation, Institute for People and Technology
    • Tim Lieuwen, Regents Professor and David S. Lewis Jr. Chair, Daniel Guggenheim School of Aerospace Engineering; executive director, Strategic Energy Institute
    • Beril Toktay, Brady Family Chair in Management and ADVANCE Professor, Scheller College of Business; faculty director, Ray C. Anderson Center for Sustainable Business

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