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Considering the role of higher education in achieving the Global Goals




City, University of London is hosting an online event to both launch their first Global Goals report and to place this report within the wider context of the reciprocal relationship between higher education and the UN’s Global Goals.

The event will begin with a brief discussion of the report’s aims and with reference to some of the featured case studies, articulate how City will build upon our progress towards embedding the Goals. This will be followed by a panel discussion exploring the relationship between higher education and the Global Goals.

Panel discussion

The Association of Commonwealth Universities recently stated that the contribution of higher education is crucial to achieving the 17 Goals – through research, teaching, and community engagement. However, it is also important to recognise that the integration of the Goals into all areas of higher education can improve the quality, vitality, and globalisation of our institutions. The strength of a universities' action towards the 17 Goals is also crucial to the health and wellbeing of its students.

Focussing on the ability of universities to meaningfully contribute to delivery of the Goals, the conversation will touch on some of the institutional tensions inherent in this undertaking.

  1. How can institutions align actions towards the goals with strategic direction?
  2. How can institutions ensure academic freedom whilst working within frameworks designed to address global challenges and what is the role of government funding within this?
  3. Differing generational perceptions around approaches to these challenges may exist. How can institutions more effectively harness the student voice to deliver positive outcomes?


Chair: Chris McDowell (City, University of London)

Colleen Howell (University College London)

Joanna Newman (Association of Commonwealth Universities)

Meg Baker (SOS-UK)


Dr Colleen Howell

Dr Colleen Howell is a Teaching Fellow in Education and International Development at University College London (UCL), Institute of Education (IOE). She has been extensively involved over the last 25 years in education research and policy work mainly in the context of sub-Saharan Africa working for higher education institutions; government, NGOs and international donors. Her work has primarily focused on the building of inclusive education and training systems through greater responsivenesss to diversity.

She has lectured and published on these issues and contributed to a number of national government policy initiatives, especially in South Africa. Between 1998 and 2015 she worked at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) as a Researcher in the Centre for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE) and then as Director: Institutional Research. She joined the IOE in 2017 to work on a 4 year ESRC/Newton funded project on higher education and the public good in four African countries. She recently led a rigorous review study with colleagues Elaine Unterhalter and Moses Oketch on the role of tertiary education and development in low and lower-middle income countries for the British Council.

Dr Joanna Newman

Dr Joanna Newman MBE FRSA is the first female Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU). She is known as a passionate spokesperson in the UK and internationally for the role of education in transforming society. In 2014, Joanna was awarded an MBE in recognition of her work promoting British higher education internationally. Prior to joining the ACU in April 2017, Joanna was Vice-Principal and Vice-President (International) at King’s College London. Joanna has just been appointed by the Deputy Secretary General of the UN, Amina Mohamed to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s Leadership Council and invited to join the High-level Advisory Group for Mission 4.7.

She is an independent lay member of the Council of Cardiff University; She is the Commonwealth Secretary-General’s nominated member of the Board of Governors of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL). She is also a trustee of the Council for At-Risk Academics (CARA); and The Conversation UK (TCUK). Joanna was awarded a Parkes Phd studentship at the University of Southampton, and a post-doc fellowship at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London. She is a senior research fellow in History at King’s College London and an honorary research fellow at the University of Southampton specialising in the history of antisemitism, the Holocaust and Caribbean history. Her most recent publication is Nearly the New World: The British West Indies and the Flight from Nazism, 1933-1945.

Meg Baker

Meg is acting Director of Education at Students Organising for Sustainability. Her role includes managing the Responsible Futures and For Good programmes; supporting universities colleges and students’ unions to embed Education for Sustainable Development throughout the formal, informal and subliminal curricula. Her role involves working with students, education providers and partner organisations to enhance integration of sustainability knowledge, skills and attributes into learning in the UK and internationally.

Meg has a Geography degree from the University of Glasgow and MSc in Environmental Consultancy from Plymouth University. She found her passion for education transformation through her background in outdoor education and learning outside the classroom, working with young people out of mainstream education. In her spare time, Meg enjoys all things outdoors from being in the mountains to playing in the sea.

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When and where

2.00pm - 3.30pmTuesday 12th January 2021