This past January, the second cohort of SDG Certificate students met in Paris for the SDG Leadership Seminar. Students came from four different GPPN universities, Columbia SIPA, the Hertie School, the LKY School and the Sciences Po School of Public Affairs, to take the first steps toward developing an innovative project related to the Sustainable Development Goals.
To provide them with the tools to begin this exciting year, the seminar began with a Master Class led by professors and practitioners working in the field of climate change, human rights, and sustainable development. Over the course of the next day, students had the opportunity to participate in a panel on the role of scientific research and a session hosted by the OECD, with an interactive forum of eight OECD department heads, all led by an opening speech from OECD Secretary General, Angel Gurria.
From there, they headed off to the French Agency for Development (AFD) to take part in a professional lunch on financing the SDGs, focusing on investment for development. This was followed by a dynamic “speed-dating” event where student groups pitched their first ideas to development project experts from the AFD.
By Saturday, the students had their second design-thinking workshop to help guide their ideas after integrating the feedback from the various experts, researchers and project managers they had met. They ended the day with a trip to Les Canaux, the Center of the Social and Innovative Economy of Paris, where they could seek inspiration from the many social businesses and local initiatives incubated on the ground.
In addition to the various panels with the large spectrum of private, public and local actors working on development, the teams were welcomed at UniFrance for a private projection of Sacrée Croissance, with the presence of Isabelle Giordano, the Director General of UniFrance, and a Q&A session with the director of the film, Marie-Monique Robin.
These 20 students, from 15 different countries, having gone through a competitive selection process at each university, have now officially embarked on the second edition of the SDG certificate. They will all meet again this upcoming May in New York, for the SDG Accelerator Workshop, led by Columbia SIPA. In the meantime, the Global Public Policy Network eagerly awaits the outcome of their projects and their overall contribution to achieving the UN 2030 Agenda.