4 September 2014

UNAI-HGU Forum on Higher Education in Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in Samoa

Scholars from Handong Global University (Republic of Korea) and the National University of Samoa joined in a two day meetng at Apia, 31 August and 1 September, on the margins of the Third United Nations Conference on Small Island Developing States.

Formally called “UNAI-HGU Forum on Capacity Building in Higher Education, Energy, and Entrepreneurship for Achieving Sustainable Development in the Small Island Developing States (SIDS),” the meeting focused on two broad themes: the role of higher education in national capacity building and the development of comparative advantage, and the role of youth and entrepreneurship through changes in traditional patters of education.  The forum also explored viable solutions that bring changes leading to genuine sustainable development of the SIDS and creating a platform of cooperation between the UNAI-HGU and SIDS actors.

SIDS, which is a special group of 51 small-island developing States and territories with similar development and environmental challenges, are subject to structural vulnerability.  At the Third International Conference on SIDS (1 – 4 September), the international community sought to enhance existing successful partnerships as well as to launch new ones to advance the sustainable development of Small Island Developing States.

Opening the UNAI-HGU Forum, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that education was key to every one of the Millennium Development Goals and would be for the post 2015 agenda as well.

The UNAI-HGU Forum was attended by scholars from Handong Global University and a large number of students and delegates to the main conference. It concluded with a call for the teaching and learning communities to join in furthering what the Secretary-General had described as thinking "blue" in economic as well as environmental terms noting this was the colour of both the ocean which united Small Island States as well as of the United Nations itself.

The Vice Chancellor of the National University of Samoa and senior faculty shared their own work on site in this context.