The role of higher education in enhancing and supporting entrepreneurship eco-system towards Saudi Vision and the United Nations Agenda 2030

 

Today, more than ever before in human history, the wealth or poverty of nations depends on the quality of Higher Education (HE) institutions (universities, colleges and research institutes). Revolutionary breakthroughs in the knowledge economy are leading to remarkable changes in the way forward-looking nations capacitate their graduates. In this era of global skills and knowledge race, all HE institutions cannot fail to realise, accept and accomplish its natural and ascribed roles as a strategic agent for national development. HE must confront new realities rapidly manifesting themselves in a diversely complex and fast-changing world. Business as usual will not suffice and therefore HE need to be expansively re-focused in order to become more sensitive and responsive to its mission of developing graduates and researchers who, in addition to conventional graduate training, are also able to fight the intellectual battle for self-confidence and self-assertion as equal players in the global and intensely competitive knowledge economy. It is therefore very important for all HE institutions to undertake robust national and international accreditation process. And although international accreditation opens more opportunities for any institution but both accreditations are of equal importance in their own aspects.

The conference objective is to introduce a variety of fundamental perspectives on entrepreneurship eco-system to achieve the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia vision and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It is now clearly recognised that innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as being a central driver of economic growth, are also recognised as very important tools to help achieve sustainable development (SD). The conference is therefore aims to discuss and explore various approaches and different ways by HE which can contribute to enhance and support entrepreneurship eco-system towards Saudi vision and the United Nations Agenda 2030 across the world. Moreover, the conference aims to explore and critically analyse the current debates around the role of entrepreneurship and innovation in achieving SD.

In 2015, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda and its 17 SDGs. The conference will critically address the question of how countries can achieve the 17 SDGs of the 2030 Agenda and to provoke forward thinking on developing new methods and approaches to suit the challenges and opportunities of this new era of digital revolution. These new approaches call for actions to create different appropriate ways of doing things and of doing new things that will be essential to solve our future problems and help in the implementation of the 17 SDGs of the 2030 Agenda. Systematic search for opportunities is important for helping to ameliorate the many problems facing countries. We must therefore produce, consume and organise ourselves differently.

Participants are therefore invited to address the following key issues in their contribution: how do you see the role of higher education and research institutions (science, innovation and entrepreneurship) in service of the 2030 Agenda?; how do you reflect the SDGs in your own research activities?; and do you believe that the HE is properly using scientific research in finding solutions to global problems?. 

Youth and Women
Youth Engagement: WASD is very keen to encourage the engagement of children and youth from across the world in the conference. We are keen to make the voice of all our children and youth heard and consequently enabling the decision makers to consider those views and ideas in their big decisions. The entire concept of SD is about the future and the future is all about the children and youth! Youth population is growing rapidly in all regions of the world and we are very keen to understand the children and youth perspectives and expectations for their future to help them be ready to grasp the various opportunities generated in the digital economy. We strongly believe our children and youth should be the cornerstone of any strategy by all governments and policy makers. We must listen to our children and youth and more importantly how we can help our youth with their future employment plans and aspirations. Youth from all-over the world are encouraged to participate in the conference and present their research, perspectives and initiatives.

Women Empowerment: Women across the world have an untapped potential as a primary mover of greater development within their countries and regions. Their role is very crucial for increased development, but challenges remain. And so, significant reforms in economic, social, and political institutions must be made to create an enabling environment for women participation and empowerment. However, it appears that investments in human development are not readily translated to better economic and political outcomes for women. Unfortunately, women’s potential and crucial role in development across the world is still impeded by these economic and social factors. Women’s participation is also very important in advancing peace, unity and combating terrorism, which is a most serious threat to SD across all regions of the world. It has also been recognized that women have been largely excluded from the processes of conflict management and prevention and that their role is important in the achievement of lasting peace and security (UN, 2015). With this, there is a need to increase women’s participation in peace processes since out of 31 global peace processes from 1992 to 2011, only 4% of key stakeholder representatives were women (UN WOMEN, 2011 cited in OXFAM, 2016). Women in peacekeeping missions are also crucial given their broad set of skills that helps in improving trust in communities as a whole (OXFAM, 2016). In general, women’s participation helps in accelerating resolution and countering terrorism while ensuring that women’s rights are protected.

The conference is expected to brings together researchers, policy makers, educators, consultants and employers from around the world to exchange knowledge and experience and discuss recent developments and current challenges in both theory and practice, you can also browse sample of  our previous speakers here. The conference program will be published two weeks before the conference date and will normally be tentative and subject to changes due to the large number of participants. For a sample program structure, please check our 2018 and 2019 conference programs. 


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