13-15 November 2019 - A new partnership approach between higher education institutions and UNODC was on full display at this year's International Conference of the International Association of Universities (IAU) on "Transforming Higher Education for the Future", in Puebla, Mexico. The conference attracted more than 260 participants ranging from professors, deans, rectors to international organizations. UNODC was recognized by Hilligje van't Land, Secretary General of IAU, who commended the Education for Justice (E4J) initiative as an excellent example of avoiding the self-contained silos that academics, experts from international organizations and policy-makers typically work within. In order to confront the challenges of tomorrow, bridges between these different stakeholders need to be built to support the exchange of ideas and to make a difference - in line with E4J's slogan "Inspire.Change.Together".
The UNODC E4J initiative worked together with IAU to sponsor promising young scholars from around the world to attend the conference in a joint IAU-E4J Young Scholars Competition. The winners were introduced during the Gala Dinner at the event and shared their thoughts with the audience on what needs to be the focus when speaking about the transformation of higher education. Julia Zabbu, a winner of the competition and a lecturer/researcher from Uganda Christian University eloquently summarized the goal of the partnership between the United Nations, Academia and Universities. As she puts it, "This partnership is vital for it ensures universities align their curriculum to the different SDGs. This gives students resolve to tackle at least one in their lifetime. Literally changing the world one student at a time."
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