The industrial revolution helped us live longer, healthier, safer lives than any prior generation. Yet, it also created a complex set of challenges that threaten our way of life going forward. Governments around the world have adopted the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) — a call to action for all sectors and nations to join forces to find ways to lift the lives of all people without causing irreparable damage to the planet.
Universities have the capacity and the responsibility to play a major role in this quest. From educating the professionals, scientists, and decision-makers who shape all areas of human activity, to conducting research to better understand the challenges we face, developing new technologies, and proposing new solutions, universities are indeed critical players. Universities are also trusted convenors and can help identify problems and amplify ideas, influence decision-makers, and bring multiple stakeholders to the table.
In my new book with my colleague, Drew Cutright, Higher Education and SDG17: Partnerships for the Goals, we brought together a great cast of higher education leaders to explore how universities can most effectively maximize our collective impact to bring us closer to achieving the SDGs.