The conference objective is to introduce a variety of fundamental perspectives on the role of Higher Education Institutions (HEI) (universities, colleges and research institutes) to help re-building the global economy and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SD). It is now clearly recognised that innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as being a central driver of economic growth, are also recognised as very important tools to help achieve SD.

The conference is therefore aims to discuss and explore various approaches and different ways by HEI which can contribute to enhance and support entrepreneurship eco-system across the world and more specifically in the Developing Countries (DCs). Moreover, the conference aims to explore and critically analyse the current debates around the role of entrepreneurship and innovation in achieving SD.

The conference will critically address the question of how HEI can help countries achieve the 17 SDGs of the 2030 Agenda and to provoke forward thinking on developing new methods and approaches to suit the challenges and opportunities of this new era of digital revolution. These new approaches call for actions to create different appropriate ways of doing things and of doing new things that will be essential to solve our future problems and help in the implementation of the 17 SDGs of the 2030 Agenda. Systematic search for opportunities is important for helping to ameliorate the many problems facing countries. We must therefore produce, consume and organise ourselves differently. Participants are invited to address the following key issues in their contribution:
  • how do you see the role of HEI in service of the 2030 Agenda and supporting and enhancing the process of economic and social development in their countries;
  • do you believe that the HEI are properly using scientific research in finding solutions to global problems such as the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic?
  • identify all major obstacles that HEI face in their countries including any governments components and most importantly how can these obstacles best be overcome; 
  • what is the new role(s) of HEI in the post Covid-19 era; and
  • how do you reflect the SDGs in your own research activities?.
The impact of Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic global lockdown has led to record declines in gross domestic product (GDP) across the world in 2020. In the United Kingdom for example, according to the UK Office for National Statistics recent reports (2021), the UK has experienced the largest fall in volume or “real” GDP over Quarter 1 to Quarter 3 2020 of the G7 economies. However, with countries across the world taking different approaches, it is hard to make comparisons during this time but generally all countries are taking serious steps and initiative to reduce public expenditure and increase productivity. The multi-sectorial impact of Covid-19 on education is difficult to measure and it is clear that, today, more than ever before in human history, the wealth or poverty of nations depends on the quality of HE. Revolutionary breakthroughs in re-building the economy in the digital world will lead to remarkable changes in the way forward-looking nations capacitate their graduates. In this era of post Covid-19, all HE institutions cannot fail to realise, accept and accomplish its natural and ascribed roles as a strategic agent for national development. HE must confront new realities rapidly manifesting themselves in a diversely complex and fast-changing world. Business as usual will not suffice and therefore HE need to be expansively re-focused in order to become more sensitive and responsive to its mission of developing graduates and researchers who, in addition to conventional graduate training, are also able to fight the intellectual battle for self-confidence and self-assertion as equal players in the global and intensely competitive knowledge economy. It is therefore very important for all HE institutions to undertake robust national and international accreditation process. And although international accreditation opens more opportunities for any institution but both accreditations are of equal importance in their own aspects.
WASD is very keen to encourage the engagement of children and youth from across the world in the conference. We are keen to make the voice of all our children and youth heard and consequently enabling the decision makers to consider those views and ideas in their big decisions. The entire concept of SD is about the future and the future is all about the children and youth! Youth population is growing rapidly in all regions of the world and we are very keen to understand the children and youth perspectives and expectations for their future to help them be ready to grasp the various opportunities generated in the digital economy. We strongly believe our children and youth should be the cornerstone of any strategy by all governments and policy makers. We must listen to our children and youth and more importantly how we can help our youth with their future employment plans and aspirations. Youth from all-over the world are encouraged to participate in the conference and present their research, perspectives and initiatives.
Women Empowerment: Women across the world have an untapped potential as a primary mover of greater development within their countries and regions. Their role is very crucial for increased development, but challenges remain. And so, significant reforms in economic, social, and political institutions must be made to create an enabling environment for women participation and empowerment. However, it appears that investments in human development are not readily translated to better economic and political outcomes for women. Unfortunately, women’s potential and crucial role in development across the world is still impeded by these economic and social factors. Women’s participation is also very important in advancing peace, unity and combating terrorism, which is a most serious threat to SD across all regions of the world. It has also been recognized that women have been largely excluded from the processes of conflict management and prevention and that their role is important in the achievement of lasting peace and security (UN, 2015). With this, there is a need to increase women’s participation in peace processes since out of 31 global peace processes from 1992 to 2011, only 4% of key stakeholder representatives were women (UN WOMEN, 2011 cited in OXFAM, 2016). Women in peacekeeping missions are also crucial given their broad set of skills that helps in improving trust in communities as a whole (OXFAM, 2016). In general, women’s participation helps in accelerating resolution and countering terrorism while ensuring that women’s rights are protected.