Utrecht University: UGlobe student council organizes Global Challenges Week

The Global Challenges Week was initiated and organised by the UGlobe student council (involving the student organisations ACHN, SIB Utrecht, CS Ubuntu, and ECU’92) in collaboration with various researchers and faculty departments of Utrecht University. Furthermore, it involved the UGlobe flagship projects Contesting Governance and Open Cities as well as political actors and NGOs.

The Global Challenges week began with an event of the study organization CS Ubuntu raising awareness regarding human trafficking. It formed part of a broader global campaign called “Yoga Stops Traffick”.

The next day, an online seminar was organized by the Contesting Governance group with the topic “Receiving Ukrainian refugees: Political Discourse in Central Europe”. It involved a discussion with regional experts, critically reflectingon the political narrative surrounding the reception of migrants from Ukraine in Central Europe. Furthermore, an online panel discussion by UU’s Public International Law and Human Rights Legal Clinic and Human Rights Watchdealt with Poland’s backslide on LGBT rights by establishing “LGBT-free zones”. It involved speakers from Human Rights Watch, the Committee of Equality and Non-Discrimination at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, and a former advisor at the Office for the Polish Commissioner of Human Rights.

On Wednesday, a symposium regarding the realities of algorithmic defense took place, organized by IRW’s Prototype Warfare project in collaboration with the Advisory Council on International Affairs. Involving experts and practitioners, it discussed the current state of the development of operational autonomy in military technology systems. Moreover, The Open City Network in collaboration with the student organisations ACHN and SIB Utrecht held a workshop on sustainability in cities and reaching out to the Global South. This workshop presented arecent research-led teaching initiative, involving students from the Faculties of Geosciences, Social Sciences and the Humanities, named “The Lives of Deltas: a Research Exchange on Sustainability and the Imaginary”.

On Thursday, a panel discussion with the topic of “Integrating Policy and Practice: The Case of Migration”was organised by theSchool of Economics’ Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce ​(USE-EDI) andStudy Association ECU’92. The event, moderated by UGlobe’s director Joost de Laat, introduced policies surrounding the inclusion and integration of migrants from the perspective of researchers and practitioners, and to engage in a constructive conversation towards pathways for the future. The Global Challenges Week ended with a borrel at Janskerkhof.

We are looking back at a week filled with inspiring speakers, discussions regarding relevant and urgent global challenges, and awareness-raising events which can hopefully contribute to addressing those global challenges.