The Hiroshima SDGs Forum has been successfully held! ~A future-oriented discussion between working professionals and university students where new discoveries are made~
The Hiroshima SDGs Forum took place on December 3rd (Friday), 2021, at the Himawari Conference Hall of the International Conference Center Hiroshima located in Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park. Subtitled “a future-oriented discussion between working professionals and university students where new discoveries are made,” this forum was held as an event for both university students and working professionals interested in the SDGs to exchange their views in a manner that reaches beyond their respective age groups. Nearly 60 participants gathered at the venue on the day of the event, including university students, business people, and members of the general public.
The forum was jointly organized by 11 university students in Hiroshima Prefecture alongside the Hiroshima Prefectural Government, Hiroshima Organization for Global Peace (HOPe), Environmental Partnership Office Chugoku (EPO Chugoku), and Chugoku ESD (Education for Sustainable Development) Activities Support Center. University students also served as receptionists and moderators for the event as well.
The forum comprised two sessions. Session 1 featured a presentation on the findings of “SDGs Business Community,” a project that is currently in its fourth year. Participants of this projects are university students playing the role of reporters who visit companies and NPOs in the prefecture that are actively engaged in SDGs initiatives to conduct interviews, write articles, and disseminate this information to others in the form of booklets and websites to raise awareness of the SDGs, especially among the younger generation. This year, 16 university students and 33 companies and organizations took part in the project. The participating university students took the stage at the forum and presented the findings of their interviews, the lessons they learned, as well as their proposed solutions to existing problems based on the content of the interviews. Some companies that had been interviewed were also present at this event to share their thoughts on what they have noticed and discovered as interviewees.
After a short break, it was time for Session 2, which was entitled “Let’s start now! No distance to the SDGs.” After getting everyone’s adrenaline pumping with a quiz on the SDGs, the university students and working professionals present were randomly divided into groups of four to six members for a discussion. Each group was assigned a discussion theme from the four themes encompassed by the SDGs: “people,” “prosperity,” “planet,” and “peace.” After the discussion, the groups shared their views and presented on the possible measures that could be adopted to achieve the goals associated with their theme.
Oshita Kazane, a third-year student at the Yasuda Women’s University and the representative of the planning team, said in her closing remarks that she was glad to see university students and working professionals, two groups that rarely interact with each other, engaging in lively conversations even though the participants had never met one another before. Indeed, this forum has created valuable opportunities for people of different generations and from different industries to interact through the topic of the SDGs.
↑Representative of the planning team Oshita Kazane (left) and the university students who were members of the forum’s executive committee (right)
After the event, we spoke to two university students who had served on the forum’s executive committee.
“I became interested in environmental issues after the introduction of an extra fee for plastic bags, and I began to pay attention to the SDGs. A male friend of mine had told me about this forum, but when I applied for it, I was surprised to find that I was the only male participant (laughs). I was a little nervous because I was the MC of the forum’s main segment, but I’m glad everyone seemed really excited. I think it is rare to have such a great opportunity for everyone to talk to people from different industries and learn about their respective approaches to achieving the SDGs.” (Sawai Shunnosuke, a third-year student at the Faculty of Law, Hiroshima Shudo University)
“When I was in high school, I had read a Japanese book called Throw-away Society: Inconvenient Truths about Apparel and Convenience Stores (published by Kobunsha Shinsho), which piqued my interest in mass production and food waste. I participated in this event because I wanted to learn more about such issues. As I was in charge of planning, I set the ultimate goal of Session 2 as ‘familiarizing participants with the SDGs and encouraging them to take action that they can take on their own,’ and we prepared quizzes and discussions to achieve this goal. Taking part in this forum has allowed me to learn how the issue of food waste can be addressed from the perspective of nutrition education. I hope to share my newly discovered insights with others around me.” (Hada Chihiro, a second-year student at the Department of International Tourism and Business, Faculty of Current Business, Yasuda Women’s University)
The Hiroshima SDGs Forum has successfully brought together students and working professionals who rarely have opportunities to interact with one another under the theme of SDGs to discuss our future. The creation of such opportunities is a testament to the power of the SDGs, and the impact of the forum itself can be deemed as a step towards achieving Goal 17 of the SDGs, “Revitalize the global partnership.”