The Luke Center for Public Service and the seventh grade social studies department hosted the Global Issues Guest Speaker Series, a school-wide conference aligned to the themes of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “We were excited to present this speaker series for a second consecutive year,” says Dani Goddard, director of the Luke Center for Public Service. “This is a topic that is of great interest to our students, so we were glad to explore it further.”
The United Nations adopted the SDGs in 2015 to tackle poverty, protect the planet and promote global peace and prosperity. Altogether, the United Nations has identified 17 SDGs, which include no poverty, zero hunger, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy and quality education.
The one-day virtual event – held on Earth Day, April 22 – engaged a wide range of local, national and global leaders. Some of the distinguished speakers included: Sarah Craven ’81, director at the United Nations Population Fund (Washington office); Hawai‘i State Senator Glenn Wakai; Clare Connors ’92, US Attorney for the District of Hawai‘i; and Dr. Kanesa Duncan Seraphin, director at the University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant Center for Marine Science Education.
“The study of the UN Sustainable Development Goals allows students to become aware of issues globally and exposes them to experiences different from their own,” says Renee Teraoka, seventh grade social studies teacher. “This builds empathy and nurtures traits of global citizenship, making students keenly aware of the world around them and fostering a disposition for advocacy and action.” Teraoka credits the success of the conference to the hard work of seventh grade teachers, Malia Chong ’87, Julie Dinius and Lorelei Saito. The speaker presentations lasted 30 minutes each and allowed for a Q&A session. Many of the sessions have been recorded and can be found on the Luke Center webpage at punahou.edu/luke-center-for-public-service.
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