Sustainable cities discussion forum

SDG 4: Quality education – bridging the gaps through education

Sustainable cities discussion forum: SDG 4

Join us for the second event in our Sustainable cities discussion forum series, as we discuss SDG 4: Quality Education. Hosted by the City of Helsinki and UNU-WIDER, this two-day event is being organised in collaboration with the HundrED Innovation Summit, which brings together education and innovation experts from around the world to talk about the future of education.

See the recording for the October 26 here, and the first session of October 27 here and second session here.

The City of Helsinki and UNU-WIDER have teamed up to host a series of inspirational discussion forums that highlight key UN Sustainable Development Goals and work being done to make these goals a reality. The first discussion forum in June 2022 focused on SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth, while this second event in the series, set for 26–27 October 2022, will focus on the fascinating topic of SDG 4: Quality Education.

Speakers include development economist Lant Pritchett and many other top experts in the education field. UNU-WIDER Director Kunal Sen and Mayor of Helsinki Juhana Vartiainen will also participate. The October event coincides with the annual HundrED Innovation Summit and the celebration of the 77th anniversary of the United Nations.

Bridging the gaps

Everyone in the field of education knows that curiosity sits at the heart of learning and innovation. This means that successfully generating new methods, approaches and learning environments demands an openness to, and comfort with, the unknown.

We invite you to join us on 26–27 October 2022 as we host our second Sustainable Cities Discussion Forum. This two-day event gathers world-renowned speakers, education and development professionals, innovators in the field, and everyone else who may be interested to brainstorm new solutions for bridging education gaps and maintaining resilience and hope.

What kinds of risk-taking and creative innovations are needed to narrow these persistent gaps in education outcomes? How can we level the playing field in terms of skills, achievement, gender and equity? And how can we mend the digital divide?

On Wednesday 26 October, the event features a keynote address from world-renowned development economist Lant Pritchett. He and other leading education innovators and specialists from around the world will shine a light on education gaps, case examples, and the concrete steps that need to be taken to move from talk to action. The first day’s events will take place on the picturesque island of Hanasaari.

We will continue on Thursday 27 October with HundrED’s Innovation Showcase on how to stay resilient and hopeful for the future, featuring interactive workshops, panel discussions and insightful presentations on thinking creatively about the future of education. Join us for day two at the Helsinki City Hall and prepare to be inspired!

For more information about the speakers and the programme, visit the HundrED Innovation Summit website.

14.00 Welcome
  Welcoming address
'Helsinki - the most equitable and effective place to learn'
Juhana Vartiainen, Mayor of Helsinki
  'How to address the persistent gaps in educational outcomes?'
Lant Prichett, Research Director, RISE

Case example from India
Varsha Pillai, Associate director, Dream a dream

  'Can we increase social mobility through education?'
Kunal Sen, director, UNU-WIDER
  Case example from Helsinki
Marjo Kyllönen, Head of Education Development Services, Helsinki Education Division
  Open stage – From talks to action
15:30 Event ends


27 October: Helsinki City Hall, Pohjoisesplanadi 11-13, Helsinki

The event will be simulcast and available for later viewing on the city’s video streaming platform, Helsinki-kanava.

10.00 Welcome


Innovation showcase
Stephanie M. Jones, Gerald S. Lesser Professor in Early Childhood
Development, Director of EASEL Lab
Isaac Success Omoyele, Founder at Dreams From The Slum Empowerment Initiative
Jenn Flynn, Apple Schools, Canada
Palarp Jumpasut, Associate Director, Room to Read, Bangladesh


The stolen year:
How covid changed children’s lives, and where we go now?

Anya Kamenetz, journalist & author


Thinking creatively about educational futures
Framed and hosted by Fazal Rizvi, Emeritus Professor, The University of Melbourne

Nasima Razmyar, Deputy Mayor for Education, the City of Helsinki
Janhvi M Kanoria, Director Of the Innovation Development Directorate, Education Above All Foundation
Stephen Harris, Co-Founder, LearnLife, Spain & Australia
Rodrigo Oliveira, Research Associate, UNU-WIDER

15:00 Event ends