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Future sustainability leaders take centre stage at Singapore conference

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Tomorrow’s conservationists and community leaders will help guide the future of the Earth’s sustainability as part of a global conference hosted by Curtin Singapore and the Science Centre Singapore this week.

High school students from Australia, Mauritius, India and Singapore will consider how to apply the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their regions at the ‘It’s our Future Earth’ Conference, held from December 4 to 6 as part of the Young Persons’ Plan for the Planet (YPPP) Program.

The YPPP Program was initially developed at the Australian National University (ANU) with the support of Questacon (Australia’s National Science and Technology Centre) to engage, connect and empower young people to deliver the SDGs. Operating for more than three years, the YPPP Program has continued to expand geographically, as well as now including Curtin University as a partner.

Curtin Singapore Pro Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Linley Lord said the University was proud to be co-hosting the 2019 conference.

“This international conference presents an exciting opportunity to hear how the next generation believes we should be tackling some of the world’s greatest challenges,” Professor Lord said.

“I look forward to welcoming the delegates to Singapore and I’m delighted they will be introduced to a new way of facilitating innovative thinking and collaboration around sustainability through ANU’s YPPP Program in conjunction with Curtin’s game-based learning program, Balance of the Planet”.

Professor David Gibson, Director of Learning Futures at Curtin and the UNESCO Chair, will be running a workshop on how to use Balance of the Planet, an online tool aimed at developing creativity, leadership and problem-solving skills.

“Following the launch of Balance of the Planet at last year’s YPPP Program Conference at Curtin Mauritius, I’m excited to take the program to a whole new group of high school students who are seeking to develop their knowledge and skills in a fun and interactive way while teaching key STEM, management and global competency skills to help address some pressing global issues,” Professor Gibson said.

“By making use of this innovative learning program, the students will be tasked with creating a solution for a UN Sustainable Development Goal of their choice, ranging from gender equality to climate change.”

The Director of the YPPP Program, Ian Chambers from ANU, emphasised the importance of giving young people a real voice in designing and delivering a sustainable future.

“This was captured well by one student from the program, who said: ‘I was worried about the future, but I didn’t have a voice. Now I have a voice’,” Mr Chambers said.

Balance of the Planet was created using Curtin’s unique Challenge learning platform, developed by the University’s Learning Futures team, and utilises Cisco’s WebEx Teams for global collaboration.

The three-day ‘It’s our Future Earth 3.0’ Conference for the Young Persons’ Plan for the Planet Program will be co-hosted by Curtin Singapore with Science Centre Singapore and Terra Village.

For more information about the conference, visit here.

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