Third SDG–UP Workshop Highlights SDGs-Focused Research & Teaching for Japanese Universities

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  • 2021•01•27

    UNU-IAS organised the third workshop for the UNU SDG–University Platform (SDG-UP) on 15 December 2020 through videoconferencing and in-person participation. There were 54 participants from 28 universities across Japan. During the opening remarks, Shinobu Yume Yamaguchi (Director, UNU-IAS) expressed her expectation of presentations related to the SDGs of participating universities. She also mentioned that she will provide an activity report of the SDG-UP project at the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) annual meeting. She also wanted to highlight efforts to raise awareness of Japanese universities in the international community.

    The session featured presentations from thirteen universities about their SDGs activities and demonstrated their determination to contribute to the SDGs by solving social issues as well as developing human resources. The specific efforts are summarised below. (※Details of each university’s efforts will be described separately.)

    Member Universities provided details about promoting programmes that incorporate the SDGs on their campuses as well as various educational programmes and outreach opportunities with local governments, companies, and other universities. For example, in teaching curricula, relevant goals of the SDGs are stated in the table of contents of the syllabus and reports, as well as within the title of laboratories, all of which are shared by students and faculty members. Many SDG-related efforts were introduced including movies, discussions, corporate internships, and summer camps demonstrating a true sense of partnerships across the board. Many Universities are investing a lot of time and effort into participating in Impact Rankings of their respective institutions. Additionally, businesses that utilise SDGs through educational cooperation were discussed and shown, including a case study where SDGs were actually commercialised and a joint-stock company was formed.

    Shunichi Murata (SDG-UP Advisor & Professor, School of Policy Studies, Kwansei Gakuin University) discussed that bottom-up organisational changes are made by promoting SDGs activities on campus. He also emphasised the importance of creating a compulsory subject in general studies which gives a basic overview of all SDGs. He made note that poverty issues related to Goal 1 were not mentioned a lot in the presentations, even though it is the most important theme of the SDGs. He said that it is necessary to focus on social contribution activities and research activities of universities, as poverty disparities in Japan and the international community and poverty problems in urban and rural areas are familiar global issues. He concluded saying that universities should strive to reaffirm their role as “change agents” in society and that members should further efforts to reform curricula and social contribution activity programs.

    28 participating universities (in alphabetical order)

    Aoyama Gakuin University
    Chiba University of Commerce
    Ehime University
    Hiroshima University
    Hokkaido University
    International Christian University
    International University of Japan
    Kanagawa University
    Kanazawa University
    Kwanseigakuin University
    Keio Gijuku University
    Kitakyushu City University
    Kyushu Sangyo University
    Notre Dame Seishin University
    Nara University of Education
    Osaka University
    Osaka Medical and Pharmaceutical University
    Ryukoku University
    Soka University
    Sophia University
    Tokai University
    Tokyo City University
    Tokyo Institute of Technology
    Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
    Tokyo University of Science
    Toyo University
    Tsukuba University
    University of Tokyo