APRU Director (Policy & Programs) Christina Schönleber at the 2nd Global Vision Week at Nanjing University, China, called for much greater and more focused external international and multi-lateral collaboration to address the greatest existential challenges.
Speaking in her keynote on Innovation and Sustainable Development on November 9, Schönleber cited a recent joint declaration by 11,000 scientists from 153 countries warning that the unfolding climate emergency could bring untold suffering if urgent action is not taken to conserve the biosphere.
“The challenges might seem overwhelming, but it is an enormous privilege for us to be the first generation to know that we are undermining the ability of the Earth system to support human development,” Schönleber said.
“Universities are at the forefront of understanding society as well as leading beneficial technological discovery, and we have the stewardship of the education of future generations who will have the will to act,” she added.
The 2nd NJU Global Vision Week: Innovation and Sustainable Development of Universities in a Changing World included keynote speeches from researchers and organization representative from Asia, Europe, and North America.
Schönleber took the opportunity to briefly outline examples of collaborative work undertaken by APRU member universities to address pressing societal and environmental challenges in the Asia-Pacific and equip the next generation of leaders with skills, expertise and the will to address these.
She furthermore highlighted the Asia Pacific Mayors’ Academy that has been developed by UN ESCAP and UN Habitat in partnership with APRU.
The objective of this fellowship is to create and support a network of local leaders in Asia-Pacific committed to sustainable urban development through week-long intensive “boot camps” held on an annual basis.
“The Asia Pacific Mayors’ Academy is another good example of how universities have a key role in leading social policy development at the international level and across a wide range of critical issues,” Schönleber said.