On Thursday, January 25, the SDSN Northern European team had the honour to welcome the Global Coordinator of SDSN Youth Siamak Sam Loni to the host institution of SDSN Northern Europe, the Gothenburg Centre for Sustainable Development. During lunch, Sam shared the story of SDSN Youth and the networks' purpose and place in today’s society, along with many exciting global initiatives. Of all the things he presented, they all had one thing in common – the unquestionable vital role that students and youth play for sustainable development.
“Youth possess the crucial characteristics for the transformation called for in the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. They are idealistic, creative and make up for half of the world’s population. Without these three things, we will not be able to meet the 17 ambitious global goals. This is why it is so important to involve and engage youth.”
Both students in Gothenburg and colleagues at the Gothenburg Centre for Sustainable Development took part of the inspiring and encouraging lunch hour with Sam, and were very impressed by the efforts of the SDSN Youth global team. With his enthusiasm and inspiration, he made the audience feel like they are part of the global mobilization for sustainable development. One of the students and current intern at SDSN Northern Europe, Tove Andersson, told me she got goosebumps and felt like she was part of a global movement towards a brighter future.
When asking Sam about how students can make a local impact for the SDGs at their campuses and universities, he encourages students specifically to educate themselves about the goals and understand how they work, but also why we need them in the first place. He also emphasizes the crucial role that universities have for the SDGs movement, both in research, teaching, and operations, where students make an impact as well.
It was a pleasure having Sam in Gothenburg and to connect our local initiatives and efforts to the global scale. For me, this is what SDSN Youth is all about. Even though all of us have different lives and routines, conditions and possibilities, as well as competencies and experiences, we are all in the same team to combat our global and urgent challenges together. Sometimes, we might feel like we are working to create change on our own, isolated from each other, when in fact we are working in all fields - all the time - all around the world to find ways around business-as-usual means towards a sustainable transition. I’m a sucker for metaphors, and I see SDSN Youth as a current in the ocean, mobilizing and gathering all small currents in the world to one collective and stronger current. This current is unstoppable and is moving towards the bright future we envisage.
We welcome anyone who wants to jump into our current - come swim with us!
Linnéa Lundmark is the Network Coordinator of SDSN Youth in Northern Europe since its establishment in February, 2017. She holds a bachelor's degree in Global Studies from the University of Gothenburg and was recently appointed one of 33 outstanding sustainability talents in Sweden with a passion for youth participation for sustainable development.