LAHORE: The University of Lahore (UOL) and SDGs Academy, Islamabad have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at promoting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) among students and the faculty.
The MoU was signed during the National Summit on SDGs jointly hosted between UOL and SDGs Academy on February 6, 2023, at Defence Road Campus, Lahore. Prof Dr Muhammad Ashraf (Rector, UOL) inaugurated the summit as chief guest and Mr Ammar Jaffri (Founder & Chairman SDGs Academy), Mrs Ammara Awais (Director, Office of Student Affairs) and Dr Aman Ullah (Chief Joint Economist & Focal Person for SDGs, Planning & Development Board, Government of Punjab) attended the event as keynote speakers.
As per the MoU, UOL will ensure that the SDGs are incorporated in the taught curriculum and graduate research in collaboration with the SDGs Academy. The students will also be prepared to envisage their careers in the framework of SDGs. Both institutions further agreed to conduct training and certification programmes on SDGs at UOL and SDGs Academy will provide professional trainers and content.
Speaking at the event, Dr Ashraf said that education, research and innovation are vital ingredients of sustainable development and the trio make universities essential players in achieving the SDGs goals. “Through innovation in teaching, problem-oriented research, active participation of all academic stakeholders, and corporate social responsibility programmes that address community challenges, universities can go a long way in fulfilling SDGs,” he said.
He maintained that the UOL is already focusing on the 17 SDGs through awareness programmes, modification of existing curriculum and research agendas. “I frequently ask the deans of faculties to tailor research topics of the MPhil and PhD students towards SDGs,” he further added.
Addressing the summit, Mr Jaffri said that the UOL took the right decision on SDGs at the right time saying, “Pakistan is far behind in the Industrial Revolution and the full involvement of academic institutions where the youth—future leaders are groomed is the way to go. Today, universities are being ranked on the basis of the SDGs in terms of performance.”
Mrs Awais reiterated UOL’s commitment towards SDGs and called for sustainable and meaningful collaborations among the varied stakeholders. She appreciated the efforts of the UOL especially the rector, SDGs Academy and QEC staff for arranging a summit on SDGs. “I encourage all the participants of this summit to take real actions needed for the betterment of the country,” she added.
On behalf of the Punjab Government, Dr Aman Ullah said that the provisional administration is fully committed towards ensuring socio-economic and human development, poverty reduction, accountability, gender equality, women empowerment, climate change, and good governance. “As government, we have various development targets which are usually failed by lack of finances,” he said.
The insightful speeches on SDGs were followed by two panel discussions on Good Governance in Pakistan and Climate Change Challenges and Solutions. During the discussions, the leading experts from government and private organizations, corporate gurus, environmentalists, academicians etc. exchanged views on the themes and proposed possible solutions for the existing challenges.
At the end, Mr Muhammad Saad Zafar (Manager Office of Sustainability, Quality Enhancement Cell) appreciated SDGs Academy, UOL and the speakers for contributing to the success of the summit. He vowed to focus on SDGs community-oriented programmes that will cause positive impact on the society as well as enabling UOL to continuously improve its impact ranking.