The roots of the global hub are planted
The roots of De Montfort University becoming the global hub for Sustainable Development Goal 16 were planted back in the summer of 2017.
Senior officials at DMU, which had a track record of outreach work with refugees, were involved in talks with the United Nations about how the university could help with the issue of forced migration.
At the time, the conflict in Syria was seeing thousands of migrants every day fleeing their homeland with many heading to Europe, which caused some countries to close their borders.
Impressed with DMU’s work to date, officials at the UN’s Department of Public Information (UN-DPI) offered the university the chance to become the world lead for higher education institutions on the JoinTogether project, which aims to highlight the issue of forced migration.
In January 2018, the JoinTogether network was formally launched by DMU at a summit in the UN headquarters, in New York, with the support of eight other universities in the United States, Germany, Brazil and Cyprus.
Just five months later, a second conference was held in New York as the number of universities world-wide joining the campaign continued to mount.
Later in that summer of 2018, the Director of the UN-DPI’s Outreach Division, Maher Nasser, made the announcement that DMU was to become the global hub for Sustainable Development Goal 16 to promote peace, justice and strong institutions.
He told students at a graduation ceremony in Leicester: “Earlier this year I saw first-hand how DMU has taken a lead in supporting SDG number 16 through its inspirational launch of the global JoinTogether network. The visibility given to the SDGs in DMU’s Strategic Plan will undoubtedly spark curiosity – and curiosity in the hands of young people and nurtured within the walls of the university can help channel energy into activism, action and the creation of a better world.”
DMU as the global home of SDG 16 had taken root.