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null "Higher education institutions have a key role to play": Developing Sustainable Societies Conference


“We can be the first generation to succeed in ending poverty; just as we may be the last to have a chance of saving the planet. The world will be a better place in 2030 if we succeed in our objectives”, states a UN General Assembly resolution for Sustainable Development. This was the triggering reflection for the “Developing Sustainable Societies through Higher Education” Conference, led by the Latin America Office, in collaboration with Universidad Austral of Buenos Aires, held on May 26-27, 2022.

With more than 100 attendees representing 30 countries, the two-day virtual conference enabled very rich discussions and presentations on the role of higher education institutions in the creation of feasible conditions for achieving the SDGs. Sustainable development often examines socio-economic and environmental aspects and neglects ethical issues – the question of what is the ‘right’ thing to do. The ethical dimension of a poverty-free society should foresee a redistributive mechanism to provide resource access to starving millions, within the country and among countries, because sustainable lifestyles cannot be implemented without strong ethical principles.

Very well-known speakers such as Bernardo Kliksberg, economist and author of over 60 books; Tristan McCowan, International Education Professor at University College, London, and Angela Salas, Member of the Colombian Ethical Network talked about how economic prosperity, climate change mitigation and peace cannot be tackled in isolation and how higher education institutions have a key role to play in providing ethical and comprehensive skills to the future leaders of our world.

Carlos Pujadas, Ethics and Social Responsibility Professor at Austral and Cuyo Catholic University, together with Héctor Rocha, professor at IAE Business School, contributed with their presentations to advocate for themes represented by the SDGs, such as equality, sustainability, justice and safeguarding and strengthening the environment.

With the support of partner universities such as Universidad Austral, Universidad Abierta Interamericana and Universidad de Rio Negro, the network engaged in a very enriching open dialogue in which they shared their professional perspectives, answered questions and reflected on how human beings are at the centre of the scene with full responsibility to influence the course of our planet towards a sustainable path.

Higher education institutions are change agents and have a unique role and responsibility for the future and for driving the development of a sustainable society. Their challenge is to work toward holistically integrating sustainability into both their mission and their daily tasks with students and teachers.

Lecturers, researchers, students, ethicists and other experts in related fields were invited to explore and submit research papers scientifically prepared, regarding the ethical interface of the Sustainable Development Goals and the roles of educational, economic, political, legal and religious policies, systems and institutions. Eligible papers will be invited to expand the work and be included as a chapter in the final publication. Volume 1: “Towards Sustainable Societies”.

Promoting Ethical Societies through Higher Education

Join the final event in the three-part Towards Sustainable, Knowledge and Ethical Societies conference series: “Promoting Ethical Societies through Higher Education”. This online conference, organised by East Africa, in collaboration with the Catholic University of Eastern Africa and St. Paul’s University, will be held on 7 and 8 July 2022 from 13:00-16:00 CEST.