Equal education opportunities key to sustainability
South African university leader Adam Habib believes that research and innovation must be linked to equality if the goal of a sustainable world is to be reached. In February 2019 he is the opening keynote at Norway's National SDG Conference Bergen.
When welcoming the Norwegian delegation from the university sector to Pretoria and South Africa, Vice-Chancellor and Principal Adam Habib from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), put a strong focus on sustainability and innovation - in particular on how to engage with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“Research and innovation that is equitably distributed around the world is essential for achieving a sustainable world,” said Habib in a rousing opening speech, which hinted at why he has been chosen as the opening keynote for Norway's National SDG Conference Bergen on Thursday 7 February 2019.
“Technology is important but context matters. If you are unemployed, without skills or have to travel five hours to work, it is difficult to be stakeholder in a sustainable society,” he emphasised.
He pointed to the long-standing partnerships between his institution and the University of Bergen (UiB), which hosts the National SDG Conference Bergen.
“I have a long history of work with colleagues in Bergen on water and water distribution,” he said before highlighting the recent announcement of how UiB was chosen to be the official Hub for SDG 14 (Life Below Water) by United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI).
The subject for his opening speech in Pretoria was the challenges and opportunities for universities in addressing the SDGs in the current South African setting. He placed particular emphasis on inequality and how this creates a knowledge divide in the world, which ties in with his upcoming keynote in Bergen where the focus will be on rethinking and reworking the inequality of knowledge. In particular he stressed the need to maintain and strengthen existing partnerships - and to build new ones.
“We will fail in equitable outcome without equitable partnerships. Equitable partnerships is fundamental to reach a sustainable society,” said Vice-Chancellor Adam Habib.