The University of Gibraltar’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof Daniella Tilbury, gave an invited keynote address at the Global University Network for Innovation (GUNI) conference in Barcelona on the 18-19th September. The Conference focused on the UN’s global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the role of higher education in delivering this agreement. The 17 Goals are seeking to tackle the world’s key challenges including: ending poverty; addressing economic disparities; promoting peace and good governance; readdressing inequalities and promoting social inclusion as well as environmental sustainability.
Professor Tilbury spoke about the SDGs and argued: ‘The United Nations’ Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the most ambitious and socially significant global agreement of the modern era. Higher education holds the key to progressing these ambitions, as it is a major influencer on strategies and actions. It also builds social capability and collects evidence through research that enables the Goals to be achieved. It is well placed to create the ripples across the global community necessary to trigger change for sustainable development.’
Over 300 participants from 32 counties attended the conference. It gathered multidisciplinary experts, government policymakers and high-level practitioners from around the world to exchange knowledge and expectations around the challenges involved with the SDGs. Through a combination of keynote presentations by renowned experts, round tables and parallel sessions, the conference opened the debate on solutions for a sustainable future. GUNI, the conference host, is an international network created in 1999 and supported by the UNESCO, the United Nations University (UNU) and the Catalan Association of Public Universities (ACUP), which hosts its secretariat and presidency.
The event provided an opportunity to promote the University of Gibraltar and its globally significant research. There was interest from potential PhD students who were seeking a home for their research. Prof Tilbury also met with the University of Andorra and University of Lichtenstein to discuss opportunities and challenges that face universities in small states. Student exchanges and work-placement opportunities were discussed at this fruitful meeting.