A panel of female presenters listening to a panel member
UC Davis Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Mary Croughan (left) moderates a fireside chat on "Campus Partnerships to Advance the SDGs," with UC Davis panelists Joanna Regulska, Vice Provost and Dean, Global Affairs; Jonna Mazet, Vice Provost, Grand Challenges; Carla Fresquez, Interim Director of Sustainability and Renetta Tull, Vice Chancellor, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Higher Education Representatives Share Approaches to Advancing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

UC Davis Hosts AIEA Thematic Forum on SDGs

UC Davis hosted an AIEA Thematic Forum on April 11-12, 2024, bringing together nearly 40 higher education representatives from the U.S. and other countries focused on integrating the UN Sustainable Development Goals through their university’s internationalization efforts. The forum, "Integrating the SDGs in Comprehensive Internationalization Strategies: Approaches for Research, Teaching and Engaging Communities," addressed the strategic-level issue of how to integrate the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development throughout university internationalization efforts, specifically via research, teaching and engagement with communities.

The event, co-sponsored by UC Davis and the Association of International Education Administrators, or AIEA, was held at the UC Davis International Center. The forum featured conversations among Senior International Officers (SIOs), international educators, faculty, researchers and administrators from universities around the world to share best practices and build a community among those in universities who are actively engaged in this global agenda.

The event included welcome remarks from UC Davis Chancellor Gary S. May and Vice Provost and Dean of Global Affairs Joanna Regulska, along with AIEA Immediate Past-President Jeet Joshee, Ambassador Ronaldo Filho Costa, Consul General of Brazil in San Francisco, and Earth University President Arturo Condo.

Five AIEA Thematic Forum opening panel speakers stand and smile at the camera
(L-R): EARTH University President Arturo Condo, Brazil Ambassador Ronaldo Costa Filho, UC Davis Chancellor Gary S. May, AIEA Immediate Past-President Jeet Joshee, UC Davis Global Affairs Vice Provost and Dean Joanna Regulska.

A Dynamic Program

The forum featured speakers from across UC Davis and other institutions and deep-dive strategy sessions for participants to hear examples of initiatives that promote SDGs in research, teaching and engagement with communities and students.

Forum speakers discussed the important role of higher education in achieving the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs through partnerships and innovative programs. Participants discussed areas of opportunity at their own universities to integrate the SDGs and identified both campus and external units and organizations for collaboration.

Participants heard from diverse speakers at UC Davis and other institutions who are approaching the SDGs in different ways based on their roles, units, university context and areas of expertise. Speakers and participants represented many disciplines, demonstrating the broad relevance of these goals. The forum also emphasized intentionality in advancing the SDGs, holistic approaches across the university, partnerships at all levels and anchoring all efforts on key SDG principles, including Leave No One Behind.

A participant speaks into the microphone at the AIEA Thematic Forum at UC Davis
AIEA Thematic Forum Participant Melissa Watkins from the California State University, Office of the Chancellor and Loyola Marymount University shared her perspective.

Advancing a Holistic Approach to the SDGs

Forum discussions reflected the importance of universities’ intentionality in advancing the SDGs and communicating their relevance to every member of the campus community. The participants shared various mechanisms to align university research with the SDGs, including support for faculty and researchers. Speakers emphasized that equitable partnerships are necessary to design and implement projects with broad societal benefits.

The discussions also demonstrated that the 2030 Agenda directly supports universities in providing students with global learning and cultural competency opportunities. Speakers highlighted how teaching and learning the SDGs can be centered on equity, and also incorporate indigenous knowledge. Student speakers shared their interest in more opportunities to engage with the SDGs across disciplines and work with local communities in ways that are responsive to their needs and concerns.

A panel of students
A panel on Student Leadership for the Global Goals included staff moderator Jessica Fareri and students Sudikshya Bhandari, Andrea Bizarro, Becca Libby and Daphne Condon.


As universities continue to adapt and evolve in an uncertain and complex world, this forum provided a crucial platform for fostering collaborations at every level to achieve shared, global goals for people, the planet and prosperity. Partnerships on campus, in communities and at the regional and international levels are crucial ingredients to advance innovation and shared solutions to these complex challenges.

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