On April 17, 2021, Dr. Zhirong Duan from the School of Economics and Management held a two-day seminar in English entitled “Global Citizenship.” Through vivid theoretical explanation and an emphasis on class interaction, students were taught to think deeply and reflect upon the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as develop critical skills to become a better global citizen and global leader.
This course adopted a hybrid teaching mode, a combination of online and offline teaching, with 30 Tsinghua local students from the master’s in Management program and 21 CEMS exchange students from 12 CEMS member schools, including Copenhagen Business School, ESADE, HKUST Business School, the National University of Singapore, the University of Sydney Business School, the London School of Economics and Political Science, and other institutions. Some of the main topics covered included the History and Progress of SDGs, Individual and Organizational Perspective of Responsible Citizenship, Business Aspirations with SDGs, the Framework’s Challenges and Solutions, and a Business Continuity Plan.
The class began with students sharing a goal among the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that they think should be prioritized. Students were grouped into eight small groups, had discussions regularly between sessions regarding important questions, and were encouraged to speak up and share either their own or their group’s perspective throughout class.
Throughout the two-day seminar, Dr. Duan emphasized the importance of the questions “What is leadership? How would you define responsible leadership? and do you consider yourself a Global Citizen?”, constantly asking students to reflect on these questions.
Dr. Duan spoke of how important it is for everyone as global citizens to do their part to change the system and address sustainable development. Prioritizing goals and understanding the co-existence of “accessibility” and “quality” are a must in building sustainable development. Emphasizing their importance to promote equity, not only just equality. Ultimately, the bigger solution and goal is to change the system with the power of innovation.
At the end of the session, Dr. Duan invited guest speaker Dr. Yinuo Li, and 4 panelists consisting of different industry professionals from around the world, to share their experience and expertise in attempts to help students gain a more international perspective.
Guest speaker Dr. Yinuo Li, founder of ETU Education and former chief representative for the Gates Foundation Beijing Office, spoke about her experience and understanding of SDG goal #4, Quality Education, stating: “Education serves the goal of self-realization, about freedom and happiness; it is about how education can help individuals achieve their highest potential as a human being... the biggest challenge is that issues in education aren’t caused by education and can’t be solved by education itself. Education is often the manifestation of social issues, and it is important to take a more holistic view rather than a pointed solution to fix this problem.” She emphasized that actually “people are much more similar than different.”On a personal level, people are facing the same fears (i.e., fear of not being good enough and fear of failing), which are natural human conditions and commonalities. “Don’t think you are too small to make a change on an issue...Humanity is on a destructive path, and there has to be higher level of collective consciousness to solve these problems.”
The four panelists, Mr. Jilai Peng, co-founder of this course and employee at SynTao; Dr. Ying Li, IT industry professional, General Manager at C&M Information Technologies; Dr. Peiyuan Guo, Chairman of SynTao Finance, co-founder and General Manager of SynTao; and Ms. Chyna Li, Human Resources Director for SAP Greater China, each spoke briefly of their experience in working on SDGs related to China and then opened up the discussion for in-class questions.
The seminar concluded with each panelist giving a different word to summarize SDG, concluding with four main words “togetherness”, “responsibility”, “participation” and “sustainability".
Source: School of Economics and Management
Editors: Guo Lili, John Olbrich