A Master to change the world//Interview with Chandrika Bahadur, Director of SDG Academy.

“True education is about bringing out the best in a person.”

Mahatma Gandhi

SDG Academy

SDG Academy is the educational initiative of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. The SDSN was created by then-UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in August 2012 to promote sustainable development and support the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through a network of nearly 1,400 universities in around the world and is chaired by the renowned Jeffrey Sachs.

“SDG Academy was created with the goal of creating high-quality learning content on the SDGs. Our mission is to create relevant content on the SDGs, available on a global scale, to prepare the current and next generation of leaders and professionals to achieve the SDGs”; the Director of the SDG Academy, Chandrika Bahadur shares us.

What is remarkable about the institution is that it works with key principles: first, all the course material is free and available to anyone who wants to learn about the SDGs; secondly, the Academy has chosen technology as it’s pedagogical channel to cross borders and it has worked very well for them. “We currently have more than half a million students from different parts of the world who have committed to SDG Academy; third, we use the incredible depth and richness of the SDSN (Sustainable Development Solutions Network) to bring together global experience and different perspectives to create courses on the SDGs; and fourth, we make sure our materials are very visually appealing so that students feel like immersing themselves and engaging in these topics and learning more. Each of our courses ends with a discussion of individual action on the question “what can I do?”, And we see that motivation goes far beyond formal learning. Our faculty also enjoys interacting with such a diverse global community of students; many of them told us about the richness of the discussion that surprised them, given the online learning environment, and they shared their satisfaction with reaching such a large group”; stated the director of SDG Academy.

Master in Sustainable Development Online

SDG Academy has just introduced the Online Masters Program in Sustainable Development to the international community, Chandrika presents it to us: “This is a new product that we are incredibly excited to bring to the world. It combines our core offering of great content in a remote and flexible environment, our access to a diverse, multi-cultural, non-traditional and prominent faculty; and our association with renowned academic institutions in different parts of the world”; she pointed out.

In collaboration with SDG Academy, the online Master in Sustainable Development is offered by University College, Dublin (UCD) and Sunway University in Kuala Lumpur. Both universities will offer independent degrees, primarily for students from anywhere in the world.

Chandrika Bahadur firmly believes that the Master will allow the formation of young leaders deeply committed to sustainable development: “The objective of this program is to train students and young professionals in the theory behind the SDGs: the achievement of the triple goals of planetary health, prosperity economic and social inclusion. This program is structured to teach the science behind the goals, but equally, to teach the importance of learning and interdisciplinary thinking. Students will be able to focus on the SDGs that matter most to them, while gaining an advanced basic understanding of all the goals and how they relate to each other. In a world with complex and interrelated problems, this training will be invaluable as they develop careers in government, civil society or private organizations”.

“The objective of this program is to train students and young professionals in the theory behind the SDGs: the achievement of the triple goals of planetary health, economic prosperity and social inclusion”.

The Master is designed based on the SDGs

“The Online Master in Sustainable Development is structured to reflect the breadth of the SDGs; takes the SDG framework as its guiding pedagogical backbone and builds on skills and knowledge goals. The degree from UCD University College, Dublin is designed as a Master of Science, while the Sunway University degree is designed as a Master of Sustainable Development Management. Both are inspired and designed based on the SDGs”; says Chandrika.

Empower to change the planet

The Online Master is aimed at students who want to develop a career in sustainable development and young professionals in the field of social responsibility. In this regard, the director of SDG Academy tells us: “Our hope is to empower people who hope to work in a variety of organizations, whether they are governments, private companies, non-profit organizations or academics, with a new appreciation and a set of very useful tools that can help solve the complex and urgent challenge facing our planet and our civilization”.

We can create a new world

Chandrika Bahadur, observes sustainable development as the main challenge of generations. For most of her growing years, thinking about sustainability was seen as a simple contribution to safeguarding the interests of future generations, but now, she knows perfectly well that this is not true. In this regard, she tells us: “Our existential crises, created and perpetuated by ourselves, are real today, both for our current generations and for our children. We cannot continue with our current consumption and production patterns that are killing our planet, raising our global temperatures and at the same time exacerbating social and economic inequalities. All this at a time when unprecedented wealth makes prosperity available to all human beings and yet coexists with nearly a billion people living in extreme poverty”; Bahadur shares with us.

 The SDG Academy director added: “I live in a country that is fighting climate change, extreme poverty and rising inequalities all at the same time. I see every day the urgency to create jobs, generate income and increase wealth, while preserving our ecosystems, cleaning our air and water, and managing our transition to a decarbonized future. None of this is easy, but everything is essential”, emphasized the director of SDG Academy.

“We have created this world and we can create a new one: a world that is more just, kinder, more compassionate towards nature and towards others”.

Chandrika tells us her great challenge: “These complicated and interrelated challenges are what attract and engage me. Along with the urgency of knowing that solutions must be found now and not decades later. We have created this world and we can create a new one: a world that is fairer, kinder, more compassionate towards nature and towards others. That is the world that the SDGs point to, and that is the world in which I believe we should put our minds and hearts for its creation. Education is the first step in that process; and that is the great reason why the SDG Academy was created”; her concluded.

If you represent an academic institution interested in contributing to improve the quality of life on the planet and wish to participate in this program, you can contact SDG Academy at: info@sdgacademy.org