Resource Roundup: United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

As we celebrate Earth Day this month and reflect on our planet’s challenges and opportunities, we’re diving into the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a topic frequently addressed in virtual exchange. These 17 interconnected goals serve as a blueprint for addressing pressing global issues, from poverty and inequality to climate change and environmental degradation. This topic is so important that 14 of our funded virtual exchanges have focused on the SDGs! 

This curated list of resources aims to illuminate the symbiotic relationship between virtual exchange programs and the SDGs, offering a diverse array of insights and tools to inspire action and drive positive change. By harnessing the power of virtual exchange, we can drive meaningful progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals and pave the way for a more sustainable and interconnected world. 

Stocktaking: What will it take to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals? | Watch 

Nearly 10 years after the UN SDGs were adopted by all member states in 2015, we’ve seen progress in life expectancy, disease prevention, gender parity, sanitation and hygiene, access to safe drinking water, and more. But significant work remains to achieve the ambitious goals set by 2030: only 15% of the SDGs were on track according to the 2023 SDG Progress Report. Watch this short video to learn more about current gaps and opportunities for progress. 

Youth and the SDGs | Learn More

Did you know that there are more than 1.8 billion people between the ages of 10 and 24 today? That’s the largest generation of youth in history. We know that young people hold immense potential to improve their local and global communities. But they can also be agents of change to advance the SDGs. This resource describes different ways young people can be champions for improving the lives of people and the health of the planet. It includes materials, campaigns, and opportunities to mobilize young people across the globe. 

Teaching Sustainable Development Goals through Virtual Exchange in Design Thinking Courses | Read

This report explores the integration of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into business school curricula through virtual exchange, focusing on Design Thinking courses at Boise State University (BSU) and Lebanese American University (LAU). Both BSU and LAU students valued the opportunity to work with peers from different cultural backgrounds. Findings suggest that virtual exchange programs, particularly when focused on SDGs, enhance students’ cross-cultural communication skills and awareness of global challenges. These experiences can help create a generation of young people whose understanding of the world is broadened by meaningful relationships with people from different cultures and who bring the capacity and enthusiasm to address the SDGs across borders.

Smithsonian Science for Global Goals Project | Explore Community Resource Guides 

Many of the programs we support focus on the UN SDGs, engaging young people through dialogue and projects. One example of these programs is the Smithsonian Science Education Center’s Youth STEM Exchange, which connects American and Iraqi high schoolers for collaboration on projects that address environmental justice, biodiversity, and sustainable communities. Trained facilitators use the Smithsonian Science for Global Goals guides to provide participants with a framework for working with their international peers. These freely available community research guides serve as a great resource for blending virtual exchange with science and social science, driving young people to become action takers.