Higher Education Institutions and Sustainable Development

What Policy Makers (Can) Do


The event series CIFE Talks SDGs raises awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established by the United Nations (UN) in 2015 and offers a forum to discuss their implementation. Every semester, CIFE will dedicate three public events to one particular SDG and explore its connection to current EU policies and initiatives. The event series is mainly targeted at students and young adults as they are the ones most concerned about urgent global challenges.

The second event of SDG 17 – Partnerships for the Goals focuses on the question what the EU foresees in its Green Deal strategy to support universities and what kind of initiatives have already been (successfully) launched in the area of sustainability in higher education. 

This second event will take place on 8 December 2021 from 6 to 7.30 pm in a hybrid format: Registered participants will join the event online; a limited number of participants will be able to join the event in person.



Dr Hartmut Marhold

Hartmut Marhold is Honorary Professor  at the University of Cologne and Senior Research Fellow at CIFE; he teaches at the Turkish-German University in Istanbul. Hartmut specialises in the history of European Integration and German European politics and teaches the course "Emergence and Evolution of the Concept of Sustainable Development" within CIFE's Joint Master in EU Trade and Climate Diplomacy. From 2002 until 2013, he served as Director General of CIFE.

List of Speakers


Dr Guia Bianchi, European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, Brussels  

Guia Bianchi is researcher in the area of sustainability at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. Starting with background studies on sustainability competences in education and “green skills” in employment, she was tasked with the development of the European sustainability competence framework for lifelong learning (#GreenComp). Before working for the JRC, Guia has obtained a PhD in Sustainability management from Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa Italy, while being a Fulbright visiting researcher at University of California, Los Angeles. In the past, she has worked at OECD LEED on skills and education. She is greatly involved in active citizenship, by coordinating projects and starting initiatives related to sustainability, youth, and inequalities. 


Luisa Bunescu, Policy Analyst at European University Association

Luisa Bunescu is Policy Analyst in the EUA Governance, Funding and Public Policy Development Unit. She joined the Association in 2016, initially as Policy and Project Officer in the Higher Education Policy Unit. Previously, she worked as a Research Assistant in Macroeconomics at the Berlin School of Economics and Law and as Assistant to the Director at the Centre International de Formation Européenne (CIFE) in Nice, France. Ms. Bunescu was a trainee at the European Commission in Brussels where she dealt with international capacity building projects in higher education. She holds an M.A. in Political Economy from the Berlin School of Economics and Law, as well as a Master in Advanced European and International Studies from CIFE.


Vanessa Debiais-Sainton, European Commission’s Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture, Brussels   

Vanessa Debiais-Sainton is Head of the Unit in charge of Higher Education policies and programme at the European Commission’s Directorate General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture. The unit is the lead service for European policies on reform and transformation of higher education, the new European Universities initiative, automatic mutual recognition of higher education qualifications, the creation of the EU student card, and the higher education strand of Erasmus+. In previous posts in the European Commission, Ms. Debiais-Sainton has worked in DG Research and Innovation. Before moving to the European Commission in 2006, she spent eight years working for several petroleum and chemical companies.


Jonas Haertle, UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), Geneva 

Jonas Haertle is Chief of the Executive Director Office at UNITAR, one of the United Nations’ official training organizations. He develops and oversees strategic projects for UNITAR and advises its Executive Director on strategy, mission and activities. From 2010 to 2018, Mr. Haertle was the Head of the Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME), an initiative founded by the United Nations Global Compact and leading business school associations. He led the global secretariat and build PRME into the world’s largest initiative on responsible management education. He holds a master's degree in European Studies of Hamburg University in Germany. As a Fulbright scholar, he also attained a MSc degree in Global Affairs from Rutgers University in the USA.




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