“Leave No One Behind”
When I first read about the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, I was struck by their central transformative promise and principle of Leave No One Behind. It represents nothing but the unequivocal commitment of all the UN member states to eradicate poverty, put an end to discrimination and exclusion, and lessen all types of inequities and vulnerabilities.
When I thought about it deeply and intensely, I couldn’t agree more. At the summit meeting, I echoed the same thought with my team. They were also reflecting on my ideas. From time to time, I’ve believed that higher educational institutions have a greater and bigger role to play when it comes to implementing Sustainable Development Goals on a broader level.
Recently, in the Futures of Education Report launched by UNESCO’s International Commission, it is noted that Universities and Higher education institutions must be active in each and every aspect of building a new social contract for education. Higher education institutions should, in my opinion, make every effort to increase their contribution to the SDGs' fulfillment. In order to address global concerns with an emphasis on the SDGs, universities and other higher education institutions should step up their activities like teaching, research, community service, and involvement.
The Times Higher Education Rankings, a list that compares university performance to the SDGs, recently named Arizona State University as the top US University for the second year in a straight. They were able to do this by collaborating with Phoenix City Corporation on a project to change the city into an SDG 11-compliant smart city that is more inclusive and sustainable. Similarly to this, students at the University of Tennessee can choose their course according to their preferred SDG. If a student is passionate about Goal 5 (gender equality), they can choose a course related to that goal and make sure they support the overall objective.
But I also think there isn't just one method to incorporate the SDGs into higher education institutions. Before making more contributions, REVA University believes that the simplest way to begin implementing the SDGs is to map out what you are presently doing. It is common knowledge that SDG targets should have some degree of interpretation and that they are mostly quantitative.
As you all know, the SDGs work together to create holistic sustainable development, which is essential for higher educational institutions. There is, in my opinion, no right or wrong way to begin making contributions to the SDGs.
The duty to play a transformative role in achieving Sustainable Development Goals rests with educational institutions.
As their principle and promise suggest “Leave No One Behind”, we should never exclude anyone from the greater goal of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 by integrating them holistically across their curriculum, leadership, campus, administration, operations, and engagement activities.