Peace and justice: a common quest for universities, governments and civil society

20-21 February 2020, Bilbao, Spain

About the forum

Peaceful, just and inclusive societies are necessary to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To advance the SDGs in general, and SDG 16 – peace, justice and strong institutions more specifically – we need effective and inclusive public institutions. Governments, civil society and communities must work together to implement lasting solutions, and universities must take a leading role.

This international forum will analyse this role that universities, besides their essential knowledge generation and educational activities, can and should play in support of justice, peace and human rights to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development. We will take into account the universities’ policies and their relationship with public entities, and collaboration and partnerships with other social agents. Our approach will involve universities, governments and non-governmental institutions.

Join leaders and experts on these issues from higher education institutions and leading organisations to share research, ideas and solutions to address these pressing issues that impact the implementation and development of effective, accountable and fair institutions.



About SDG 16

People everywhere need to be free of fear from all forms of violence and feel safe as they go about their lives whatever their ethnicity, faith or sexual orientation. In order to advance the SDGs we need effective and inclusive public institutions that can deliver quality education and healthcare, fair economic policies and inclusive environmental protection. Over the course of this forum, we will analyse how universities, working together with the different stakeholders, can achieve this goal.

Find out more about SDG 16 and other Sustainable Development Goals

Our speakers

Mari Jose Aranguren
General director of the Orkestra Basque Institute of Competitiveness
University of Deusto
Mark Charlton
Associate director of public engagement
De Montfort University
Jennifer Curtin
Director of the Public Policy Institute
University of Auckland
Shaun Ewen
Pro vice-chancellor (indigenous)
University of Melbourne
Emir Ganić
Chief executive
Sarajevo School of Science and Technology
José Carlos Gómez Sal
Spokesperson for international projects
Crue Universidades Españolas
Carla Koppell
Distinguished fellow
Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security
Alanna O'Malley
Chair of UN studies in peace and justice
Leiden University
Dan Plesch
Director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy
SOAS University of London
Carmen Pombo
Founder and chief executive
Fernando Pombo Foundation

The aim is, above all, to transform ourselves and the vision of our universities; to rethink ourselves as actors working for the common good; to perceive ourselves as individuals and organisations challenged and questioned by a horizon of social transformation.

José María Guibert
University of Deusto


It is my sincere belief that universities are the key to the promotion of world peace and prosperity and always will be. But they must be protected; they must be nurtured and their outstanding work – in research, teaching, engagement and impact – for all society must be recognised and championed.

Phil Baty
Chief Knowledge Officer


Momentum is growing across the sector and league table rankings, such as THE's University Impact Rankings, have helped focus minds. Now that the UN’s “Decade of Action” to accelerate the impact of the SDGs has begun, we must act. Missing the targets for 2030 is not an option.

Mark Charlton
Associate Director of Public Engagement
De Montfort University


Featured articles

Universities will be essential to meeting the SDGs in 10 years

If one of the purposes of a university is to find solutions to society’s biggest challenges, there could not be a better and more challenging to-do list than the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the “Global Goals”.

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Saturday, February 1, 2020 at 12:00 pm

Legal vindication does not end the problems for Turkey’s Academics for Peace

Turkey’s Constitutional Court has ruled with a razor-thin majority that the signatories of the Academics for Peace declaration did not commit the “crime of propagandising for a terrorist organisation”.

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Tuesday, August 13, 2019 at 1:41 pm

THE University Impact Rankings 2019 by SDG: peace, justice and strong institutions methodology

This ranking focuses on how universities can support strong institutions in their countries and promote peace and justice. It explores universities’ research on law and international relations, their participation as advisers for government and their policies on academic freedom.

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Tuesday, April 2, 2019 at 10:00 am

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