What will be our contribution to a better world?

The Global Goals and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that was agreed upon in 2015 is an inspiring framework for governments, universities, private sector, NGOs and local communities to step up our ambitions towards a better and more sustainable world. The SDGs describe complex and urgent societal challenges, and the multidisciplinary research and education conducted at Malmö University, together with our collaborating partners world-wide, will be our contribution to achieve these goals.

In the preparations of our new strategic plan for Malmö University, I want to highlight the importance of our international students and staff in this global undertaking. It is my conviction that the knowledge and experiences of our international students and staff, in combination with our university collaborations across the globe, is a crucial starting point for a relevant and focused strategy into the future.

Malmö University acknowledges internationalization and diversity as essential quality aspects of education and research, which includes diversity of perspectives, intellectual traditions and ways to acquire knowledge.

It is therefore important to have an inclusive approach to how we address the SDGs. All students and staff at Malmö University can participate in this. In my view, through the Agenda 2030, we have a unique opportunity to learn more about the world, to listen to – and share – new perspectives on global issues through our networks, and integrate these with our activities in education and research. The obvious point of departure is Goal 4: Quality Education: “to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all”.

A great opportunity lies in the current process of gender mainstreaming of all Swedish higher educational institutions as a part of the nationally declared gender equality objective of “women and men having equal power to shape society and their own lives”, see genus.se

An analysis of the Swedish academia highlights a number of important challenges for us to combat inequality, but at the same time we develop analytical frameworks and tools that should be shared and discussed internationally, in order to reflect on our own standards, but also to inspire – and get inspired by – our sisters and brothers across the globe, not least within academia. Goal 5: Gender equality: to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Decades  of research and numerous reports (see e g FAO, 2011: Women in agriculture – closing the gender gap for development) support that investments in girls’ and womens’ education create a better world in terms of less poverty, improved health and food security as well as more sustainable management of natural resources.

Let’s join forces in addressing these enormous challenges, and let education and research lead the way!

Per Hillbur, Deputy Vice-Chancellor


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