Canada’s universities as catalysts for a sustainable recovery

“My reading of history is that universities have made a huge contribution to civilization for basically the last thousand years and we’re really ripe to contribute now, but it requires a kind of problem-solving that’s not the same as publishing in a journal.” – Jeffrey Sachs

Professor Jeffrey Sachs, one of the world’s leading experts on sustainable development, economic development and the fight against poverty spoke to Canada’s university presidents on June 8, 2021 about how universities can contribute to creating a brighter post-pandemic future for all. 

Through their education and research missions, community engagement and international partnerships, universities will continue to play a critical role in accelerating the post-pandemic recovery in Canada and abroad. 

In the armchair discussion with Globe and Mail’s Stephanie Nolen, Sachs, the Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University and President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, explored how the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal framework can help Canada’s universities work collectively towards the country’s recovery and contribute to global sustainable development efforts. 

“We, at universities, can do a lot. We have some tremendously intrinsic benefits for society, starting with the universality of the knowledge base. We are universities, we are not narrow research centers of one discipline, but truly universal ideas. And we are not running for re-election every year, so we are not bound by politics in the same way. We can think longer-term. And the greatest blessing is that we have young people that are constantly infusing all of this.” 

The event was hosted by Universities Canada in partnership with the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Canada 

Universities Canada