The UN Secretary General put out an urgent call at the weekend, urging all UN Member Countries to go into emergency mode on five action areas:
- Tackling the climate crisis
- Putting people at the centre of the digital world
- Delivering sustainable peace
- Fighting #COVID19
- Transforming the global financial system
His message is both urgent, and important. None of us, individually or collectively, should take lightly that he has chosen to talk about "emergency mode." In this important Decade of Action to 2030, this is a(nother) wake-up call that the time to act is now – and that we should hold ourselves, and each other, to account for any inaction.
What a powerful affirmation also of the importance of the UWC mission, needed now more than ever as a long-term and systemic approach to addressing these important issues. In UWCSEA’s 50th year, as we start to plan for the next 50 years, building partnerships to address these urgent and important issues includes finding ways to strengthen these partnerships - between ourselves, in our host country of Singapore, and across the UWC movement and beyond.
Last week, I had the privilege of working with students and colleagues on two of the challenge areas identified by UN Secretary-General António Guterres in his address on 22 January: tackling the climate crisis and delivering sustainable peace.
On Friday, 21 January, we launched our Essay Competition with the Asian Peace Programme (APP) at the National University of Singapore (NUS), with a Meet the Researcher event for students across both campuses. Pictured below, recently appointed UWCSEA/APP Peace Fellow, Bertrand Seah, is talking to students during the launch.
Earlier that week, a team of sustainability leaders from across the College met to discuss how we will measure and report our commitment Towards NetZero – an exciting new opportunity is being developed to launch at the UWCSEA Forum on 22 and 23 April. Watch this space!
Meeting our students, working with them, is always reassuring that the future is in good hands. During Writers' Fortnight, I was delighted to be asked to speak to students on East Campus about my professional life and in particular what has driven me to focus on gender diversity, in particular, the issue of gender stereotyping of career choices for young children.
I spoke about how important it is that women and girls are visible and engaged in the places where decisions are made, in particular on the global challenges we face, where women are often disproportionately affected and impacted and yet are still so often absent from the top table. It has always been important to me, in all countries where I have worked, to identify and work with inspiring women, to inspire the next generation, and to ensure women are represented in the conversations where decisions are made.
The UN theme of this year's International Women's Day on 8 March is Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow - reflecting the importance of including women at the table and in making decisions on these action areas, and other issues, as we build back from COVID. Join me for a hosted President's Panel discussion on this theme on 8 March: more details to follow soon in eBrief, or sign up here for reminder emails about President's Panel events.