09 July 2021 | Story Dr Nitha Ramnath

Prof Francis Petersen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Free State, South Africa, invites us to rethink our relationship with the world in a series of ‘Courageous Conversations’ on the theme of ‘The Global Citizen’. Prof Petersen argues that COVID-19 has been a powerful ‘disruptor’ – it was a stark reminder of the need to rethink our identity, of where we belong, our ‘normative’ view of citizenship – if we want to secure long-term survival of our civilisation and the environments that support it.

Global citizenship and the Sustainable Development Goals – 30 July 2021, 13:00 SAST

Join us for the next Courageous Conversation in the Global Citizen series when Prof Petersen will welcome eminent economist, professor at Columbia University, Director of its Earth Institute, and global leader on sustainability, Prof Jeff Sachs.
In 2015, almost all countries signed up to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). This commitment marked an international solidarity of virtually all countries to work towards the betterment and development of every person on earth. Then COVID-19 struck. Not only did the crisis result in a retrogression of successes registered in achieving the SDG, most notably in the reduction of global poverty, but it also exposed global power disparities.
In this session, Prof Sachs will discuss global citizenship and the SDGs in the context of recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, including what an equitable recovery would mean for countries around the world, and will make reference to the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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More about our guest

Prof Sachs is widely recognised for addressing complex global challenges such as debt crises, hyperinflation, the control of AIDS, malaria, poverty, and climate change, among a myriad of others.

Sachs serves as the Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University. He is President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a commissioner of the UN Broadband Commission for Development, and an SDG advocate for UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres. From 2001 to 2018, Sachs served as Special Adviser to UN Secretaries-General Kofi Annan (2001-2007), Ban Ki-moon (2008-2016), and António Guterres (2017-2018). 

A world-renowned economics professor, bestselling author, innovative educator, and global leader in sustainable development, Sachs was the co-recipient of the 2015 Blue Planet Prize, the leading global prize for environmental leadership. He has twice been named among Time Magazine’s 100 most influential world leaders and has received 34 honorary degrees. A survey by The Economist ranked Sachs as among the three most influential living economists.

The Global Citizen Courageous Conversations series

In partnership with the South African Chamber of Commerce based in the United Kingdom, the Global Citizen Courageous Conversations series that was launched on 26 May 2021, brings together powerful voices from public life, intellectuals, public interest and business leaders, academics, naturalists, religious leaders, astrophysicists, economists, ecologists, and others.

Eminent South African business leader, Prof Bonang Mohale, joined Prof Petersen for our first Courageous Conversation on 17 June 2021 to unwrap the role that universities can play in creating a ‘global citizen’ mindset to effect material change in a constantly evolving and turbulent international world.  

If you missed our previous Global Citizen Courageous Conversations, you can watch the replay on YouTube, or visit the South African Chamber of Commerce website for the recordings. 

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