As the world comes together with the aim of accelerating progress toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Qatar Foundation (QF) is contributing to this vital global conversation through a series of virtual events designed to share ideas and find solutions.
The 2020 Global Goals Week will take place from September 18 to 26 as the United Nations (UN) highlights the extent of the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic is having on prospects for realising the SDGs with the world’s poorest and most vulnerable communities being hardest hit.
The event will include Global Goals Day on September 25, the fifth anniversary of the SDGs being agreed, as a call to action is sounded for everyone to play their part in ensuring they are achieved by 2030.
Under the theme ‘Global Challenges, Local Solutions,’ QF and many of its entities will host an array of online sessions from September 20 to 30.
Speakers from around the world will explore potential solutions to the challenges the world is facing, in five key areas: precision medicine, social progress, disruptive education, sustainability, and Artificial Intelligence.
These events reflect the role of QF, which is marking its 25th anniversary this year, in enabling global-level, solution-focused dialogue, and advancing innovative thinking and action.
“2020 marks the start of a decade that must-see collective, tangible action if we are to secure the future we want for our world, and while the Covid-19 pandemic has shaken global society, it has also only increased the urgency to take this action,” said Aysha al-Mudahka, director of Strategic Initiatives and Partnership Development, QF.
“Global Goals Week is an opportunity for everyone to unite their voice and commitment to addressing issues as important as any we will ever face, share ideas, and work together to address the world’s most pressing challenges. Through the virtual platforms for dialogue and knowledge exchange we have organised, QF – which, for 25 years, has been dedicated to identifying and delivering solutions that benefit Qatar and the world – aims to support this global effort to build a stronger, more sustainable, and more equal planet,” she said.
“From the future of education to the role of Artificial Intelligence in healthcare, we are inviting the world to join us and our line-up of international experts and thought-leaders, as we seek to find and foster local solutions to global challenges,” al-Mudahka said.
One of the cornerstones of QF’s contribution to Global Goals Week will be a panel discussion on September 23 at 3.30pm (Doha time), titled ‘Covid-19 and Education: The Largest Disruption in the History of Education,’ focusing on questions such as whether the pandemic presents an opportunity to rethink education and shift mindsets, and if education leaders are ready to embrace such change.
HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad al-Thani, vice chairperson and CEO of QF, will be joined in the discussion by Danilo Turk, former president of Slovenia; Achim Steiner, administrator of the UN Development Programme; Professor Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Centre for Sustainable Development at Columbia University; Gabriela Cuevas Barron, president of the Inter-Parliamentary Union; and Sarah Cliffe, director of the Centre on International Co-operation, New York University.
Meanwhile, ‘Glocalising Education for a Sustainable Future,’ taking place at 8.15pm (Doha time) on September 30, will look at how K-12 students can learn more about how to relate the Global Goals to their local context and their lives, and how they can be empowered to take tangible action toward realising these goals in their own communities.
Speakers will be Sheikha Noof al-Thani, executive director of Strategic Initiatives and Partnership Development within QF’s pre-university education; Mehdi Benchaabane, director of QF’s Education Development Institute; Sam Barratt, chief of the Youth, Education and Advocacy Unit at the UN Environment Programme; Dr Nicole Bien, director of Learning and Teaching, International Baccalaureate; and Alison Bellwood, director of The World’s Largest Lesson.
QF’s contribution to Global Goals Week kicks off on September 20, as Doha Debates plays host to a discussion on ‘New Institutions for a New Era?’, while on September 25, members of Qatar’s national debate team and students from Harvard University will tackle the topic ‘Is Multilateralism in Crisis?’, in a session led by QF member QatarDebate.
September 28 will see QF member Hamad Bin Khalifa University host a session titled ‘Educate to Eradicate: Extremism – What’s Next Post-Covid?’, reflecting how education’s role in keeping extremism at bay is perhaps more crucial than ever.
The following day, the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) – QF’s global education think-tank – will launch its special edition e-book, ‘Education Disrupted: Education Reimagined’, containing perspectives from the frontline of education during the pandemic, followed by a panel discussion featuring speakers from WISE and the book’s partner Salzburg Global Register, and contributors.
Also on September 29, the use of AI and bioinformatics to find existing drugs that could be repurposed to treat Covid-19 will be the topic of ‘Calculating The Cure: AI and Covid-19’, a session led by the World Innovation Summit for Health, QF’s global health initiative.