Inspired to Shape Green Cities for Better Tomorrow

Sunway University hosted the Asean Education Cities Conference 2023 (AECC), which saw an exchange of ideas on the making of vibrant education cities and how to work together towards developing new ways of educating the next generation of planetary health caretakers.

The researchers, scholars, industry leaders and other stakeholders focused on the way cities function as spaces for education and also how educational institutions can support sustainable development through teaching, policy advising and public engagement.

Among the speakers were Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg, Sunway Group founder and chairman Tan Sri Dr Jeffrey Cheah, Deputy Human Resources Minister Mustapha Sakmud, Selangor Economic Planning Unit director and Selangor deputy secretary (development) Datuk Johary Anuar, and United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) executive director Datuk Seri Paduka Maimunah Mohd Sharif.

Cheah shared his thoughts on the future of Sunway City.

“Our agenda is summed up in our vision statement to be Asia’s model corporation in sustainable development to enrich lives.

“Last year, we took our commitment one step further with a pledge to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“Sunway Group and the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation have embraced the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations.

“I am convinced that if we can achieve just 70% of the SDGs, the global happiness index will go through the roof,” he said.

Mustapha spoke about Sunway as a model Asean city for UN SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals.

“I am impressed that Sunway is home to entities such as the UN-SDSN centre under Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Sunway Centre for Planetary Health led by Professor Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood, and one of this conference’s key organisers, the Future Cities Research Institute which is in collaboration with Lancaster University, the United Kingdom.

“By collaborating with others, Sunway has been able to generate real-world solutions for the progress of the people and the planet.

“This collaboration is cross-sectoral from education to construction, from property to retail, healthcare, hospitality and others.”

Sunway Education Group chief executive officer Prof Datuk Dr Elizabeth Lee shared, “The United Nations has projected that an additional 2.5 billion people around the world will be living in cities in the next 30 years and 60% of this increase will be in Asia.

“Conferences such as AECC and collaborative translational research platforms like the Future Cities Research Institute will help us find solutions to ensure that all future city folk can thrive.”

AECC is co-organised by the Future Cities Research Institute, ElastiCities Research Cluster, School of Arts, Campus with a Conscience, School of Business, and School of Hospitality and Service Management alongside Sunway Centre for Planetary Health, Jeffrey Sachs Centre on Sustainable Development, SDG Academy as well as United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, and powered by the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute.


This article was first published in The Star, 22 February 2023.