Event Program

Sydney Summit III
Thursday 28th September and Friday 29th September 2023

Sydney Summit III Theme: 'Universities and the SDGs: a half-time report'

The theme of the summit gives us a chance to assess what progress universities have made in tackling the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals halfway through their lifespan. What impact have we achieved, which strategies have been effective, what successes can we report, and what more can we do to help achieve the SDG targets by 2030?

About the event: at the University of Sydney, we put sustainability at the heart of our campus operations, research, education and engagement activities. The Sydney Summit III provides an arena to bring together our partner universities from around the world and to showcase their work around sustainability and the SDGs. Our aim is to share ideas and best practice, to sow the seeds for new collaborative projects, and to help our research achieve real and lasting impact.

Thursday 28th September 2023 – International Delegates


Taronga Zoo Sydney
(Nura Diya Australia and Taronga Institute of Science and Learning)
Taronga Zoo Sydney, Bradleys Head Rd, Mosman NSW 2088)

Master of Ceremonies:

Professor Kathy Belov AO FAA FRSN, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global & Research Engagement)


Transport to Taronga Zoo Sydney

International delegates should refer to their personalised agenda sent in the event reminder email regarding transport selected to and from the Welcome Reception at Taronga Zoo.

4:00 - 5:00pm

Wildlife Experience at Nura Diya Australia (1 hr)

Nura Diya is a brand-new addition to Taronga Zoo, a walking trail that provides a close-up view of Australia’s unique wildlife and habitats, and offers an introduction to Aboriginal culture. Species that visitors will encounter include kangaroos, koalas and wallabies.

5:00 - 5:20pm

Welcome and Opening Remarks (20 mins)

  • Acknowledgement of Country by Professor Kathy Belov AO FAA FRSN, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global and Research Engagement), University of Sydney
  • Opening remarks by Professor Mark Scott AO, President and Vice-Chancellor, University of Sydney
  • Welcome and reference to the Taronga Zoo - University of Sydney Alliance by Mr Simon Duffy AM GAICD, Executive Director, Taronga Zoo, Taronga Conservation Society Australia

5:20 - 6:00pm

Panel Discussion: Collaborating for Impact (40 mins)

Partnerships come in all shapes and sizes, but what are the distinguishing features of our most successful partnerships – why do some partnerships soar and others tread water? What can we do to ensure that our collaborations achieve real and lasting impact? And what lessons can we take away to give our work around sustainability and the SDGs the greatest chance of success?

Chair: Professor Kathryn Refshauge, Emeritus Professor, Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney


  • Professor Clare McManus, Dean for Global Engagement (External Relations), University of Glasgow
  • Ms Amanda Sayan, Director, Global Research Engagement, Office of Global and Research Engagement, University of Sydney
  • Mr Paul Maguire PSM, Director of Education, Taronga Zoo, Taronga Conservation Society Australia

6:00 - 7:30pm

Welcome Cocktail Reception (1h 30 mins)

We invite delegates at the start of the Summit to get to know or reconnect with international colleagues. Please join us for social networking around drinks and canapes at the Taronga Institute of Science and Learning.


End of program

Friday 29th September 2023 – International Delegates and University of Sydney colleagues

Venue for plenary sessions:

Michael Spence (F23) Building Auditorium, The University of Sydney

Master of Ceremonies:

Professor Kathy Belov AO FAA FRSN, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global & Research Engagement)

9:30 - 10:00am

Arrival and registration (30 mins)

Tea and coffee will be provided on arrival.

Please meet us at the Auditorium, Level 1, F23 Administration Building, University of Sydney.

10:00 – 10:30am

Acknowledgment of Country (5 mins)

  • Professor Lisa Jackson Pulver AM, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Strategy and Services), University of Sydney

In her opening remarks, Professor Lisa Jackson Pulver, will welcome international delegates to the campus, acknowledging the Gadigal people as the traditional owners of the land.

First Nations people’ contribution to the SDG agenda (10 mins)

  • Professor Melissa Haswell, Professor of Practice in Environmental Wellbeing, Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Indigenous Strategy & Services and Honorary Professor, School of Geosciences, University of Sydney

This presentation will show how First Nations people contribute to the SDG agenda and highlight their sustainability practices and processes, examining key issues from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives.

Welcome and Opening Plenary (15 mins)

  • Professor Emma Johnston AO FAA FTSE, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), University of Sydney

Professor Emma Johnston is one of Australia’s leading environmental scientists and a Chief Author of Australia's National State of Environment Report. She will present a critical assessment of the relationship between SDGs and leading indicators of environmental sustainability, historical tradeoffs between social and environmental SDGs, and the urgent need to create virtuous circles based on environmental stewardship.

10:30 - 10:45am

Session 1 – Opening remarks: Overview of how Universities are implementing the SDGs at their institution (examples from UofG and CUHK) (15 mins)

What role do universities play in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals? Through education, research and operations, universities contribute to the attainment of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and benefit from their engagement in multiple ways. In this session, the University of Glasgow and the Chinese University of Hong Kong share their experiences of working with the SDGs in a way that delivers meaningful impact to global society.


  • Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, Principal and Vice-Chancellor, University of Glasgow
  • Professor Rocky Tuan, President and Vice-Chancellor, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

10:45 - 11:45am

Session 2 - Panel discussion: Impact of the SDGs on our approach to research and teaching (1 hr)

Co-chair: Professor David Schlosberg, Director, Sydney Environment Institute, University of Sydney
Co-chair: Ms Gwen Burrows, Associate Vice President International, University of Toronto

2023 marks the halfway point in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Adopted by UN Member States in 2015, the 2030 Agenda sets an ambitious target to achieve the 17 Goals to transform our world. The aim of the session is to reflect on the impact of the SDGs on our approach to research and teaching.

The session will address these key questions:

  1. Do the SDGs provide a sound framework for shaping university research?
  2. What is your university doing to help achieve the SDGs? What initiatives are you implementing?
  3. Which strategies have been the most effective?
  4. Does your university participate in SDG rankings?
  5. How should we measure success in research and teaching?


  • Professor Susan Rowland, Vice Provost, University of Sydney
  • Professor Jiun-Haw Lee, Associate Vice President for International Affair, National Taiwan University
  • Dr Guillaume Fiquet, Vice President, International Relations, Territorial and Economic Partnerships, Sorbonne University

11:45 - 11:55am

The Sydney Summit III photo

11:55am - 12:10pm

Networking Break

Light refreshments will be provided.

12:10 – 1:00pm

Session 3 - Case studies and Q&A: The strategic value of partnerships and how to leverage them to address major global challenges (50 mins)

Co-chair: Associate Professor Lum Sau Kim, Associate Vice President (Global Relations), National University of Singapore
Co-chair: Professor Richard Miles, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education - Enterprise and Engagement), University of Sydney

Unlocking the power of partnerships: what makes a good partnership, and what are the common factors that deliver the best chance of success? This session highlights case studies on successful partnerships that address the SDGs and will be followed by a short Q&A.


  • Ms Rachel Sandison, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Relations), University of Glasgow
  • Professor Alex Mihailidis, Associate Vice President, International Partnerships, University of Toronto
  • Professor Raghunathan Rengaswamy, Dean, Global Engagement, IIT Madras
  • Professor Sharon Naismith, Leonard P Ullman Chair in Psychology, School of Psychology, University of Sydney

1:00 - 2:00pm

Networking lunch – Meet the Researchers (1 hr)

Join us for an informal networking lunch with University of Sydney researchers working on collaborative projects with international partners.

2:00 – 3:20pm

Session 4 - What does a successful SDG project look like? How do we set targets, measure our success, and communicate our impact? (1 hr and 20 mins)

In this three-part session we will discuss what constitutes success and how we might set targets, measure our success and communicate the impact of our work.

Part 1 - Group Discussions: What targets should we set for ourselves? (30 mins)

Co-chair: Mr Kirk Doyle, Manager, Global Research Engagement, Office of Global and Research Engagement, University of Sydney
Co-chair: Professor David Weller, Regional Director (Southeast Asia & Australasia), University of Edinburgh

Involvement with the SDGs raises a wide spectrum of questions for universities. On our own we cannot end world hunger or reverse climate change. But what can we realistically achieve? What targets should we set for ourselves? This session will provide an opportunity to hear from our global partners on how their university is tackling the SDGs.

Part 2 – Lighting Talks: SDG Good practices - a compilation of success stories and lessons learned (30mins)

This session will highlight successful SDG research and teaching projects and how we can measure their impact.


  • Professor Michael Lazzara, Associate Vice Provost, Global Affairs, UC Davis
  • Dr Anna Young-Ferris, Senior Lecturer, University of Sydney Business School, University of Sydney
  • Dr Sebnem Ozkan, Associate Director of Global Hubs, Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs, Cornell University
  • Ms Esty Marcu, Director, Modern Slavery Unit, University of Sydney

Part 3 – Presentation and Q&A: How to communicate on research aligned with the SDGs and showcase the impact of our work (10 mins) and Q&A (5 mins)

360info, an independent, not-for-profit wire agency, was established to reinstate experts as the primary drivers of the global information ecosystem.

By bridging the gap between researchers and the global media landscape, 360info provides a widely distributed, quantifiable platform for universities to demonstrate their commitment to improving the information ecosystem, and better showcase the impact of their research to funders. In this session, you will learn how your institution can take part in a rapidly growing global project with maximum impact.


  • Ms Emma Hoy, Media Liaison, Communications and Development Coordinator, 360info

3:20 – 3:50pm

Session 5 - Ideation Session: How will the next generation judge us? (30 mins)

Co-chair: Professor Joanna Regulska, Vice Provost and Dean of Global Affairs, UC Davis
Co-chair: Dr Jose Manuel Paez Borrallo, Vice-Rector for International Affairs, Tecnológico de Monterrey

The final session will consider two key questions: how will our efforts contribute to the UN’s SDG targets? And importantly, how will our efforts be judged by future generations. Put simply, are we doing enough?

The session will start with a short presentation on ‘Embracing transformations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals’ by Professor Jaime Miranda, Professor & Head of School, Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney.

Professor Miranda is co-chair of the Independent Group of Scientists that have written the new Global Sustainable Development Report, which is the official UN periodic update on the implementation of the SDGs.

Discussion questions:

  1. How do we fit in to the bigger picture? How does our work contribute to the UN’s SDG targets?
  2. Will the next generation think we have done enough? - in terms of educating our students, producing impactful research, providing strong leadership etc.

3:50 – 4:00pm

Closing remarks (10 mins)

  • Professor Kathy Belov AO FAA FRSN, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global & Research Engagement)
  • Ms Amanda Sayan, Director, Global and Research Engagement, Office of Global Engagement, University of Sydney


End of official program

4:00 - 5:00pm

Campus tour (optional) (1 hr)

Please join us for an (optional) tour of our main campus. Gain an insider's look at the campus and learn more about the University of Sydney such as our campus’s rich history, connection to country, fascinating museum collections, multidisciplinary research centres, and new state-of-the art health precinct.

5:00 - 6:00pm

Farewell drinks (optional) (1 hr)

Please join us for (optional) farewell drinks on campus. This will be the opportunity to end the busy day (and week) with a relaxing and casual send-off and give you the chance to make last connections with colleagues.

Venue: Courtyard Restaurant & Bar, Holme Building, University of Sydney


Sydney Summit III closes