Originally established in 2012 as an initiative under the UN Secretary-General, the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network was established to “promote[s] integrated approaches to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, through education, research, policy analysis, and global cooperation.” As part of this network the UN has been working to bring together “sustainable development leaders” and to “mobilize knowledge institutions around the sustainable development goals.” Some of the universities that are currently a part of the SDSN include Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard, and Yale, and now the Center for Creative and Cultural Industries at Chapman University.
CCI Director, Dr. Patrick Fuery, went through a months-long application process so that Chapman students will have the opportunity to reap all of the benefits of being connected to other universities such as these within the network. Dr. Fuery notes that the prestigious researchers and universities included in this nexus come from all over the globe and that it’s an extremely lively group. There are always upcoming opportunities for people to reach out through this network with new projects and collaborative work, and he believes that the CCI Center will be able to bring a new perspective to these initiatives.
“One of the unique aspects of CCI has always been it’s direct engagement with social issues, be that environmentalism or race matters or gender inequality, so that was one of the things that Dr. Jamie Larkin and I always wanted to engage with and have that filter down into teaching and our research projects,” Fuery said. “The main motivation was for us to have a stronger connection globally with groups that are dealing with issues of sustainability and the pitch I gave to the UN was that since many of [the current members] are more science-based research centers, what we see the Center for Creative and Cultural Industries as doing is offering a more creative approach to these kinds of issues and I think that’s what they liked about it.”
As Dr. Fuery said, many traditionally think of sustainability as a scientific issue, but creativity and sustainability go hand in hand. The Creative and Cultural Industries allows researchers to look at things from new perspectives and generate creative solutions to complex problems. And while currently many CCI students at Chapman come from the humanities, social sciences, and film arenas, this network demonstrates how CCI can enhance any discipline and by broadening that scope, we’re adding a new dimension to the program.
“I could imagine the sciences getting more involved in the collaborative work we’ll eventually be doing with the network and I think CCI is invitational like that,” Fuery said. “It speaks to so many other areas.”
Designed to be a collaborative hub, the SDSN will be an opportunity for Chapman faculty and students alike, with the latter being able to take advantage of the connection with SDSN Youth, SDSN’s official Youth initiative. Dr. Fuery hopes that through exploring what this program has to offer, students will be able to connect themselves with projects they’re passionate about and also hopes to start our own Chapman initiated project. Fuery said that with connections such as these the possibilities for student success are endless.
“I think what will be great is when I can gather the students together, find out where their interests lie [in terms of these projects]. I want students to be able to do what resonates with them and figure out how we can then tap into the network and connect with those people and projects,” Fuery said.
In addition to having access to student-based and student-driven projects, our CCI students will also be able to utilize open-access courses run by universities such as Harvard and Yale, as well as access to fellowships and scholarship opportunities. Students will also have the chance to present their research and projects at an annual conference at the United Nations in Washington D.C. This is a wonderful opportunity to get involved and add unique experience to their resumes. If you’re interested in pursuing this new and exciting venture check out the SDSN website and contact Dr. Fuery at firstname.lastname@example.org.