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Call to action

Much to see and do as Memorial celebrates International Development Week

Campus and Community

By Kelly Foss

Memorial University is recognizing International Development Week with a series of enlightening and impactful activities.

Beverly Edwards is the global health and health equity co-ordinator in the Faculty of Medicine.
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

Led by Global Affairs Canada and observed since 1991, International Development Week, which takes place from Feb. 4-10, highlights Canadian contributions to eradicating global poverty and inequality.

This year’s focus is on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a set of 17 global goals the United Nations established in 2015. The goals are an urgent call for action by all countries — developed and developing — in a global partnership.

The goals address a wide range of global challenges and promote sustainable economic, social and environmental development to create a more equitable, inclusive and environmentally sustainable world by the year 2030.

‘Unique platform’

Memorial, led by the Internationalization Office, is planning in-person, virtual and hybrid activities around the over-arching theme, Go for the Goals, in affiliation with the Atlantic Council for International Cooperation.

“The theme is a call to action for Canadians as we approach the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” said Beverly Edwards, the global health and health equity co-ordinator in the Faculty of Medicine.

The Global Health and Health Equity Program in the Faculty of Medicine is organizing several events in the faculty, including a showcase highlighting academic endeavours that directly or indirectly address the goals, ranging from health and well-being to environmental sustainability and quality education.

The showcase will be available from Feb. 6-9 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. in the Faculty of Medicine building atrium.

“It’s an excellent opportunity for faculty members to display their work to students, colleagues and guests, fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and discussion,” said Ms. Edwards. “It also provides a unique platform to disseminate their work to a wider audience within the university community.”

Discussion and reflection

On Friday, Feb. 9, there will be an open roundtable discussion and reflection on pathways to achieving some of the sustainable development goals and targets for Newfoundland and Labrador.

There will also be a series of videos about the goals and how they apply to Memorial University and the Faculty of Medicine, in particular. The videos will be released throughout the week on the faculty’s YouTube channel.

Watch one of the videos below.

Ms. Edwards says the videos are intended to highlight and foster awareness of how the sustainable development goals are translated for Canada and how the Faculty of Medicine’s work forms part of Canada’s and this province’s progress towards the goals.

“For example, Dr. Brenda Wilson, associate dean of the Division of Population Health and Applied Health Sciences in the faculty, speaks from a population health perspective on what the SDGs mean in a practical sense in a medical school, and how they connect to the N.L. Health Accord,” she said. “Others speak about their research projects in an SDG context.”

Making connections

Throughout the week, reflection boards in the Faculty of Medicine atrium will prompt individuals to think about and share notes on what sustainable development means to them.

“We are over halfway through the 15-year agenda to 20230 and governments and agencies are starting to think about whether or not we can meet our goals, where the gaps are and how we can fill them,” said Ms. Edwards. “We hope the reflection board will help people make connections between their work as individuals, and that of the faculty, to these goals.”

Ms. Edwards says the Faculty of Medicine is “teeming with bright people with great ideas” and that the university population is made up of people from all over the world with broad perspectives.

“We hope to see those ideas and perspectives on our reflection boards and shared on social media, using the hashtags #IDW2024 and #GoForTheGoals.”

More events

Other International Development Week events taking place across the university include a special “coffee” club that will sample teas from around the world and discuss the significance of tea in our daily lives.

There will also be a global opportunities fair that will feature representatives from Memorial Go Abroad and faculty-led programs and community groups sharing information on ways to engage in internationalization at home or abroad.


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