Dr. Rigobert delivers keynote address at WASD conference

November 27, 2023

Dr. Rigobert Urges Increased Involvement of Indigenous Institutions of Higher Learning in Driving Sustainable Development at World Association for Sustainable Development (WASD)'s 21st Annual International Conference in London, United Kingdom.
USM, Pond Island. Dr. Gale T C Rigobert, USM Dean of Academics, was recently invited to deliver a keynote address at the World Association for Sustainable Development (WASD)'s 21st Annual International Conference in London, United Kingdom. The conference, which took place from November 13th to November 15th, commemorated WASD's 20th anniversary, a significant milestone for an institution that has led critical research and advocacy in the pursuit of global sustainability.

The convergence of human capital with the transformative power of digital innovation in realizing the United Nations' ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was the overarching theme of this year's conference. The event focused on explaining the complex link among human capital, digital transformation (DT), and the achievement of sustainable development emphasizing that SDG#17 on partnership was the lynchpin goal, and critical to the realiszation ofteh other 16 SDGs.

Highlighting the unique value indigenous institutions of higher learning bring to the educational landscape, Dr. Rigobert posed thought-provoking questions about their intrinsic capacity in comparison to external counterparts. She passionately explored the challenges and opportunities presented by digital learning technologies, emphasizing the importance of preserving authenticity and indigenous perspectives in academia.

Furthermore, Dr. Rigobert was recently honored as a founding member of the WASD, demonstrating her significant contribution to advancing global sustainable development initiatives. She is also an esteemed member of the editorial board and a significant advisor to WASD, providing invaluable insights and guidance on critical issues such as climate change, higher education, ICTs, gender equality, and more.

"Indigenous institutions possess a distinctive capacity to articulate narratives that encapsulate the socio-political, cultural, and environmental nuances of their regions," remarked Dr. Gale Rigobert during her keynote address. "We must safeguard these narratives amidst the sweeping changes brought about by the digital revolution."

Her address called for the deliberate creation of spaces that empower indigenous voices, advocating for equity in education, affordable learning technologies, and the integration of indigenous wisdom into policy frameworks. Dr. Rigobert urged institutions and governments, especially in the Global South, to prioritize investment in education, knowledge preservation, and the integration of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into curricula.

"As thought leaders, we must bridge the gap between global technological advancements and the preservation of indigenous knowledge," emphasized Dr. Rigobert. "Collaboration among academia, local communities, and external stakeholders is crucial to addressing pressing global challenges, ensuring no one is left behind, especially in confronting existential threats like climate change."
The conference benefited from a rich milieu of perspectives, from academics, researchers, and institutions from all over the world. It served as a platform for collaborative discussion to exchange of ideas, methodologies, and best practices.

In concluding, Dr. Rigobert underscored the pivotal role of partnerships, particularly in academia, to address global challenges. She urged collaborative efforts that respect and amplify lived experiences, aligning with the SDGs' overarching ambition of leaving no one behind in the pursuit of sustainable development.

The representation of the University of St. Martin (USM) at the conference highlights its commitment to advancing sustainable development through academic excellence and proactive engagement. This global conference not only emphasized USM's commitment to remaining at the forefront of sustainable education but also its role in shaping a generation of students and graduates capable of navigating the complexities of the digital era while making meaningful contributions to global sustainability.


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