International Week 2021

February 1 - 6

A warming globe, increasing numbers of refugees and displaced persons, gender disparity, economic inequalities, freshwater shortages, famine, war… We are bombarded with these issues and many others facing the planet and its inhabitants every day. To address these issues, the UN established the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030.

Learn more about the SDGs and find hope and opportunity for action at International Week 2021 (I-Week).

I-Week is a chance for you to hear international and local perspectives on global issues. International Week speakers will connect their work to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were adopted in 2015. The Goals call on governments and civil society around the world to address the world's most pressing issues from poverty and education to health and the environment.

UAlberta's annual International Week is an incubator of ideas and a source of inspiration for us to work together for a better world.

At I-Week 2021, we will hear from dynamic speakers who, in 17 minutes, will enlighten us on the work they are doing, along with actions we can take to help our local, national and global communities achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.


Learn more about the Global Goals Scavenger Hunt!

Thank you to this year's sponsors!


International Week 2021 is moving online! I-Week is free to attend, but registration is required to gain access to our events. You can register for I-Week anytime, including the day of the event - it's quick and easy! 

Access I-Week here!

If you are experiencing difficulties accessing this week's events, you can gain access to them directly here:

Friday, February 5:

You can access the majority of I-Week events within the virtual environment linked above, with the exception of the events below, which require their own registration. 

Questions? Contact

February 1

Global Goals Scavenger Hunt

From Monday to Thursday of International Week, visit the scavenger hunt webpage to read the clues and to submit your answers. You can complete the hunt by searching your community for answers connected to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (you can participate from anywhere in the world).

The winners will be announced Friday, so join in the fun and learning and enter to win some cool prizes!

Learn More! 

12:00 - 1:00 pm


Global Perspectives | Local Action  Panel: The SDGs and YOUth

Felipe Civita Ferreira, Chelsey Smith, Nikki Shaffeeullah, Neema Amadala; moderated by Zainab Azhar

This event focuses on connecting young people with one another around their interests in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)! This panel discussion will feature past and present members of ACGC’s Top 30 Under 30, as they discuss the SDG they are most passionate about and the work they do to achieve this SDG in Alberta and globally. Participants are invited to stay for the next session to engage with the panel in small groups. Registration is required for the networking circles at 1:15 pm. 

1:15 - 1:45 pm

Networking Circles

Following the Global Perspectives - Local Action panel, small networking circles will be hosted to allow participants to connect and engage with our speakers from the previous session. In order to participate in the networking circles, you must have attended the previous panel session.

Sponsored by: 


6:00 - 7:30 pm



Future Histories: How social movements can shape a sustainable, digital future

Lizzie O'Shea

The rapid advances of digital technology show how human ingenuity and cooperation has the potential to overcome profound challenges, reduce inequality and develop a sustainable world. But so far, the digital revolution has not delivered. Digital technology has invaded our physical and psychological spaces, often without our consent, sometimes without our knowledge. It has created billionaires while relegating billions to struggle with insecure and underpaid work. The backbone of the Internet is directed towards commerce rather than human flourishing. Technology is presented as a force of nature. But technology is made by human hands, and we can create a world in which technology is put to work in service of the many rather than the few.

To help navigate this moment, Lizzie O’Shea shows us how history can be an illuminating guide. She delves into examples from the past that illustrate how people can organize successfully to hold power accountable. We’ll hear how labour worked collectively to redistribute the benefits of industrialization in the 1800s. The internet itself is shown to be the product of public investment and research. States developed regulations to ensure design processes respected human rights. By turning to the past, we can help create future histories that show how we came together to build a sustainable, peaceful and prosperous world.

Register Now

Sponsored by:


February 2

12:00 - 1:00 pm

Join us for engaging 17-minute talks on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Tuesday through Thursday. Emcees: Jodi Calahoo-Stonehouse and Chris Chang-Yen Phillips.

Today's noon Talks: 








There are No Shortcuts to the Top of the Palm Tree: Reinvesting in nursing to make health for all a reality

Dr. Eunice Ndirangu-Mugo, Associate Professor and Dean, Aga Khan University School of Nursing and Midwifery, East Africa

Achieving health for all will rely on a good healthcare system that can support the health needs of its population. However, a health care system is only as good as the human resource health in it. Nurses form the bulk of health care professionals and tend to be the first, and often, the only point of contact for care in many regions, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. To make health for all a reality, we need to start where it matters the most. We must start with Nursing. We MUST reinvest, rebuild, rethink, refocus and reinvent the nursing profession. We must start with refocusing on primary health care and health promotion. We must reinvest in context responsive solutions for affordable and accessible health for all.





Communication: The inhibitor and the catalyst for climate action

Beth Eden, former National Youth Network Coordinator, Sustainable Development Solutions Network

Online communication has been at the root of bringing international attention to our time's biggest crisis, climate change. But how can we move one step further to form actionable and impactful communication based on science? This talk will summarize key findings from a global research study by SDSN Youth and the concept of community-based social marketing to push forward SDG 13 Climate Action in Canada and beyond.







Sustainably Connecting Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure Development in the Digital Age

Prof. Martina Fromhold-Eisebith, Professor and Chair of Economic Geography, RWTH Aachen University, Germany

SDG 9 proclaims ambitious goals that require systemically linking infrastructure improvements, proliferating innovation capacities for human wellbeing, and sustainable industrialization for all. This presentation highlights how digitalization now offers avenues towards achieving these goals, provided that digital change is stringently connected with, and put at the service of, sustainability transformation. It is shown how, under these conditions, digital innovations can support resource-efficient industrialization, beneficial and resilient infrastructures, as well as social inclusion and environmental awareness on a global scale.


4:00 - 5:30 pm 

Join us for engaging 17-minute talks on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Tuesday through Thursday. Emcees:  Jodi Calahoo-Stonehouse and Chris Chang-Yen Phillips

Today's afternoon Talks: 









Developing Future Energy Systems

Dr. Anne Naeth, Professor of Land Reclamation and Restoration Ecology and Director, Future Energy Systems Research Program, University of Alberta

In SDG 7, the UN affirms that our world needs access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy; yet meeting all of those requirements is a widely known challenge. More than 200 years ago, the industrial revolution built the foundation for today's society with energy systems that were affordable, reliable, and modern for their time. Times have changed and although those systems remain affordable and operationally reliable by some measures, they are no longer modern, and the way these technologies interact with our environment, our society, and our lives are not sustainable. The University of Alberta is conducting research that will help our society transition to new energy technologies and new ways of relating to energy. Learn more about the program's groundbreaking interdisciplinary research in this session with Director Anne Naeth.




Towards Sustaining Cities and Communities in a Post-Covid World

Dr. Robin Kearns, Professor of Geography, School of Environment, University of Auckland, New Zealand

SDG 11 seeks to "make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable." The global Covid-19 pandemic has added urgency to addressing this goal. Dr. Kearns draws on Auckland-based research to critically reflect on this SDG and the lessons learnt in terms of urban design through the experience of lockdown.








Our Society and the Sea: Actions and challenges for sustaining our planetary life support system

Dr. Stephanie Green, Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta

Oceans cover 71% of the planet and are our planetary life support system, producing most of the oxygen we breathe and supplying dietary protein for billions of people. Yet our oceans are in crisis, with escalating global climate change, contamination, overfishing, habitat loss, and invasive species rapidly degrading the ability of these systems to meet our needs. From tuna fisheries and climate change in the Pacific Ocean to invasive lionfish in the Atlantic Ocean, Dr. Green will share examples from her lab’s research on the status and conservation of marine fishes to illustrate challenges in achieving SDG 14: “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.”







Understanding Groundwater Availability in India

Dr. Abhijit Mukherjee, Associate Professor, Department of Geology and Geophysics, and School of Environmental Science and Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India

The significance of ensuring groundwater security is nowhere more evident than in South Asia, specifically India. India has a huge groundwater-dependent population, uncertain climate-reliant recharge processes, transboundary upstream water sources, major geogenic-sources, and nonpoint contaminants. These issues along with archaic irrigation methods and human practices, and indiscriminate land use changes due to urbanization, have rendered the Indian groundwater situation a global paradigm for water scarcity, for both quantity and quality.


February 3

12:00 - 1:00 pm

Mapping the SDGs at UAlberta

Nada Baali, Sustainability Engagement Coordinator, University of Alberta Sustainability Council

John Soltice, 
Assistant Director, Data Management & Analysis, University of Alberta International

In Fall 2020, UAlberta participated for the first time in the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings. Come learn about UAlberta's multidisciplinary efforts in mapping and advancing the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. The project team will share their findings and how a collaborative approach enabled them to collect over 500 data points and evidence from over 100 content experts across all campuses and disciplines.

4:00 - 5:30 pm

Join us for engaging 17-minute talks on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Tuesday through Thursday. Emcees: Jodi Calahoo-Stonehouse and Chris Chang-Yen Phillips. 

Today’s Talks:





Housing: A foundation for ending poverty

Anne Stevenson, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Right at Home Housing

Ending poverty is a daunting prospect. The complexity of the systems that create and perpetuate income inequality can seem impossible to change. Find out how one grassroots organization took on poverty by building community-based housing and providing a permanent place for people to call home.





A Child-Centred Perspective on Promoting Just, Peaceful and Inclusive Societies

Pernille IronsideDeputy Director, Division of Data, Analytics, Planning and Monitoring, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

Pernille Ironside, a senior international civil servant with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and UAlberta alumna, will share reflections on efforts to end violence against children and the need to accelerate such efforts for SDG 16 to be achieved by 2030, including efforts towards eliminating child marriage, ending harmful practices against children and effectively addressing online violence and sexual abuse amongst others.






Capturing Construction Employment Opportunities for First Nations Communities

Gary BosgoedPresident and CEO, Bosgoed Project Consultants Ltd.

First Nations people have often been underutilized on the construction of their own projects, as well as projects in their Traditional territory. This presentation will explore a revolutionary approach to this contradiction with a program called WorkFirst, which offers one hundred percent of construction employment opportunities to the local Indigenous community. Proven to be effective on over 120 projects, WorkFirst offers long overdue and meaningful employment, as well as economic growth to First Nations communities.





Restoration of Earth’s Natural Cycles: Reclaiming waste products

Jing Cheng (JC) Yu, President, Canfit Resource Recovery Technologies, Inc., China

The environmental problems of today can all be attributed to the breaking of earth's natural cycles.  The only way to achieve sustainability is to restore them.  Find out about Mr. Yu's ground-breaking work in China over the last 30 years in which he has focused on research, development and marketing of technology and services to reclaim waste products.

February 4

11:45 - 12:45 pm

Global Health Fair

Neglected Tropical Diseases: The Changing Paradigm of Disease Control

Dr. Yael Velleman, Director of Policy and Communications, SCI Foundation

Sponsored by the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry and the Biomedical Global Health Research Network

As part of the Global Health Fair, this talk will focus on the changing nature of global disease control initiatives over the past decade, the drivers for this change and the implications on policy, resourcing and impact. These trends will be analyzed through the lens of initiatives to control, eliminate and eradicate Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Access the event here

4:00 - 5:30 pm

Join us for engaging 17-minute talks on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Tuesday through Thursday. Emcees: Jodi Calahoo-Stonehouse and Chris Chang-Yen Phillips. 

Access the talks here.

Today’s Talks:





Canada’s First Food Bank: 40 years of service

Marjorie Bencz, Executive Director, Edmonton’s Food Bank

Incorporated as the Edmonton Gleaners Association in 1981, Edmonton's Food Bank turns 40 this year. While some individuals and families do access food directly from the Food Bank, the organization is a central warehouse supporting over 250 agencies, churches, schools and food depots. This talk will share some of the Food Bank's work including its "gleaning" activities, Beyond Food Program and other services.






Learning to Live Together on a Shared Planet: What does SGD 4 offer?

Dr. Lynette Shultz, Professor, Department of Educational Policy Studies, University of Alberta

In this Talk, Lynette Shultz will look at the vision of wellbeing that the SDGs provide and the role of education within this vision. It is a vision that came about because people around
the world came together across geographies, disciplines, sectors, and histories to contribute to a big vision, an integrated view from which we can begin to reframe how we think of life on a planet that is very stressed by human activity. Dr. Shultz will discuss education and what needs to be unlearned in order for us to address current pressing global issues.






Beyond Words: Moving from platitudes to genuine partnerships

Brock Dickinson, Adjunct Professor and Entrepreneur-in-Residence, University of Waterloo

We often think of SDG 17 as a bit of an afterthought, a friendly but unfocused suggestion that we all play nice together. In reality, Goal 17 is a crucial element for uncovering dynamic, innovative and impactful new solutions to longstanding global challenges, and it speaks to the power of cooperation to unleash transformative tools and practices. Drawing on the latest ideas from the fields of innovation and entrepreneurship, this session will explore the silo-busting, rule-breaking, world-changing possibility of genuine collaboration as a foundation for SDG success.





Life on Land, Endangered Ecosystems and Climate Change

Dr. Arturo Sanchez-Azofeifa, Professor, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta

Life on land is rich but also endangered by human dominance efforts and climate change. In this talk, Dr. Sanchez-Azofeifa will explore life on land in one of the most endangered tropical environments: the tropical dry forests. He will explore the amazing biodiversity of these forests and discuss how climate change has made this one of the most endangered ecosystems.


February 5

11:45 - 12:45 pm

Global Health Fair

Building Local Community Focused Research Capacity in East Africa and Elsewhere: 12 years of MicroResearch experience

Dr. Noni MacDonald, former Dean, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University

Sponsored by the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry and the Biomedical Global Health Research Network

At the completion of this session, participants will be able to define MicroResearch and describe its potential applications in both low (LIC) and high-income countries (HIC), identify the challenges for developing research capacity in LIC, and community-focused research in HIC like Canada, describe the top-down knowledge translation gap in LIC and HIC and how community-focused research can address this. This session is part of the Global Health Fair.

Access the event here

1:30 - 2:30 pm


Hostile Terrain 94

Facilitator: Dr. Jaymie Heilman

Hostile Terrain 94 is a global participatory art exhibition organized by the Undocumented Migration Project (UMP).

The exhibition aims to illuminate the humanitarian crisis that has been occurring at the United States/Mexico border since 1994. That year, the United States Border Patrol launched the immigration enforcement strategy known as “Prevention Through Deterrence.” Through the construction of walls along the US/Mexico border, undocumented migrants were funnelled through extremely treacherous environments. Prevention through deterrence failed to discourage people fleeing their home countries in search of safety and security, and, instead, more than six million people have attempted to migrate through the Sonoran Desert of Southern Arizona since the 1990s. In Arizona alone, over 3000 people have died, largely from dehydration and hyperthermia, while attempting this desert crossing.

The Hostile Terrain exhibition is composed of approximately 3,200 individually handwritten toe tags – each tag carries the names and available information about individuals who died attempting to cross the Sonoran Desert of Arizona from 1994 through 2019. During a 45-minute workshop, you will learn more about the crisis and bear witness to those killed by this policy by filling in roughly 10 tags. The magnitude of this exhibit means it wouldn't be possible without the workshop participation of volunteers like you.

Pre-registration by January 31 is required so workshop materials can be mailed to you in advance.

Pre-registration Required

4:00 - 5:00 pm




Red Hope: MMIWG (Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls) & Indigenous Healing Through Feminist Action

Dr. Rebecca Sockbeson, Associate Director, Intersections of Gender, and Associate Professor, Department of Educational Policy Studies, University of Alberta

Dr. Rebecca Sockbeson will address findings in the 2019 Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls and discuss the connection to healing through feminist action. She will also provide commentary on the relationship to the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG5) of Gender Inequality.

Access the talk here

7:00 - 8:30 pm

She said WHAT? A Night of Stand-up Comedy ft. Martha Chaves, Hoodo Hersi and Stephanie Pangowish

Tickets: $10 available, if finances are a barrier please choose the no-cost option.

Join us for a night of laughter with Martha Chaves, Hoodo Hersi and Stephanie Pangowish, along with Host Celeste Lampa. These amazing women will wrap-up a powerful week of learning with a focus on SDG 5: Gender Equality.

Sponsored by:



Get your tickets here!

February 6

1:00 - 4:00 pm

Global Perspectives | Local Action Community Asset SDG Hackathons 

Are you curious or passionate about the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? This event will help youth to learn about what work is already being done in their community and provide a resource list for community members interested in volunteering and becoming engaged in addressing the SDGs. Participation spaces are limited so register today!

Sponsored by:



Register Here