14 October 2022, Macau, China. Students and teachers from Faculty of Business and Law, University of Saint Joseph (USJ) visited the United Nations University Institute in Macau (UNU Macau) on 14 October for an interactive learning experience that is part of the Institute’s recently launched Youth Engagement Program, aimed at empowering Macau’s younger generations. The event involved presentations by UNU Macau’s researchers on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Collective Intelligence and Cyber Resilience, which are part of the Institute’s research focus.
After being given a tour of the UNU Macau building, Casa Silva Mendes – the former residence of lawyer and art collector Manuel da Silva Mendes; and a local cultural heritage site –, students were briefly introduced to the history and work of the United Nations (UN).
As the session developed, UNU Macau’s Principal Research Fellow Dr. Mamello Thinyane shared his knowledge on the principles and values behind the SDGs, under the “leave no one behind” pledge, as well as his research on the concept of and challenges associated with Cyber Resilience. UNU Macau’s Senior Researcher Dr. Franz Gatzweiler shared his reflections on the concept of Collective Intelligence and on how it can help address the challenges of an increasingly complex world.
Focusing on this idea of knowledge that emerges from a group of people thinking and acting together towards a common goal – and on how such learning process can help achieve sustainable development –, students were gathered in small groups throughout the session to discuss issues in Macau that could be linked to the SDGs. Problems related to the environment, labour, health and housing were some of the issues identified by the youths, who collaboratively were able to reflect on possible ways to address them. The challenge included reflecting on what stakeholders should be involved in the solution-finding process, and on what could be their respective roles and contributions to it.
Dedicated to the study of digital technologies for sustainable development, UNU Macau has outreached different local Bureaus, institutes, and universities, in order to better carry out the responsibilities of disseminating the SDGs, as proposed by the UN.
On 22 March 2021, UNU Macau and USJ signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which ranges from innovative research projects to capacity building initiatives, knowledge exchange engagements, internship programs and other activities of mutual interest to collaborate on the promotion of the SDGs.
Under the theme “Engage the Youth, Empower the Future”, UNU Macau’s recently launched Youth Engagement Program is aimed at involving young generations in Macau as partners in the path towards sustainable development. By providing them access to education and wider international networks, the Institute therefore hopes to inspire and empower local youths, while also giving back to a host community that has been supporting it for almost 30 years.