Enactus World Cup: Global Goals Ambassador - Andrea Whelton, UCD
Enactus UCD student, Andrea Whelton, was chosen to become an ambassador for Global Goal 16 – “Peace, Justice & Strong Institutions” at this years Enactus World Cup. Andrea shares with us her experience as she hosted a breakout session, spoke on the main stage on the topic and visited the Google Silicon Valley campus!
‘Attending my first World Cup with the support of KPMG Ireland was an amazing experience and while it is difficult to improve on such an inspiring and empowering event, representing Ireland as the Global Goals Ambassador for the 16th Sustainable Development Goal – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions – did just that.
As part of developing and working on Enactus projects, students are encouraged to simultaneously work towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals, developed by the United Nations, are a global call to action to help combat and solve some of the worlds most significant issues, ranging from ending poverty, providing quality education and preventing climate change.
I was chosen to represent goal 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions – for a number of issues. As a law student, I appreciate and recognise the importance of effective, accountable and inclusive institutions to provide a means of accessing justice. The goal seeks to combat issues like child labour and human trafficking, protect human rights and decrease prison numbers. I think this goal is particularly important because without peace or effective institutions, it becomes very difficult to achieve the other SDGs; a country experiencing conflict does not necessarily have the resources to prioritise gender balance. Furthermore, it’s perhaps one of the harder goals to achieve, with only one Enactus project listed on the project website as tackling this goal. I wanted to help change this.
Our week in Silicon Valley started off with the opportunity to tour the Google Campus headquarters with Cecelia Wogan-Silva, Global Director of Creative Development for Google. Some of the most memorable parts of the tour included Stan, the full-scale T-Rex replica in the outdoor open area, the Google Trends staircase that shows the real-time trending search topics on the steps and a room filled with old arcade games such as Space Invaders and Pinball. We were treated to a lovely lunch where we heard from Terry Torok, the Chief Innovation Officer for Enactus, and Cecelia about the Google #LittlexLittle campaign, an initiative that aims to change the world by encouraging everyone to take small steps to collectively have a significant impact.
Following rehearsals on Tuesday, the Global Goals Collaboration took place on Wednesday afternoon. Each of the 17 goals was assigned a table and attendees were invited to join whichever goal they were most interested in. The role of the Global Goals Ambassadors was to facilitate discussion around two questions: firstly how can we best apply business innovation to Enactus projects to accomplish the 2030 Global Goals, and secondly how can we best support businesses that are dedicated to accomplishing the 2030 Global Goals? The session proved to be very encouraging and thought-provoking, with input from students from Russia, America, Germany and Ireland at my table. We all agreed that more people needed to be made aware of the importance of the SDGs and the businesses that are involved in promoting and working towards them, so consumers could make more informed purchasing decisions and support these businesses having a positive global impact.
For the next part of the session, the ambassadors had to report and present the discussion on stage. From listening to the other ambassadors, it was clear that each table had had a productive discussion and the session was an excellent opportunity to hear about some of the projects that other countries and teams were working on that tackled the SDGs. Later that day we all met on the main stage to share and recap the collaboration session and highlight the importance of partnerships for achieving the goals.
The three days of World Cup in Silicon Valley were a whirlwind, but I can honestly say I learned so much from hearing about the inspiring projects that students across the world are working on. I left feeling more encouraged and motivated to work on projects that have such a positive impact on the communities around us. It is crazy to think of the development, learning and opportunities that I have been exposed to since joining Enactus a little over a year ago and it’s safe to say that I have not looked back since.’