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On Thursday September 13th I had the great pleasure of attending the University of Notre Dame Keough School of Global Affairs i-Lab Global Partner Showcase. It was an incredibly inspirational and informative overview of seven student summer project experiences all related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This summer, 23 Master of Global Affairs students participating in the Integration Lab worked with seven global partners to address critical challenges including sustainable housing, innovative education, decentralization of government, climate change, access to health care, equitable supply chains, and immigration policy. The student teams presented their projects, shared their experiences, and charted paths forward.

The Keough School Integration Lab (i-Lab) is a distinctive series of interdisciplinary engagements — designed to build momentum over the full two-year arc of the Master of Global Affairs to prepare students for a global employment landscape that demands highly integrated mindsets and professional skillsets. Guided by i-Lab Co-Directors Tracy Kijewski-Correa and Steve Reifenberg, students work in teams with global partners and faculty-mentors in multiple disciplines to address real-world issues and challenges such as:

  • Equality and Inclusion

  • Conflict Transformation

  • Climate Change and Adaptation

  • Global Health

  • Community Resilience

  • Educational Opportunity

  • Displacement and Migration

  • Food and Water Security

  • Poverty and Economic Development

The specific global research partnerships reviewed last night included:

Bangladesh: Project: Reduce the vulnerability of women to climate change by enhancing the effectiveness of research-to-policy translation

Chile: Project: Transform opportunities for teachers to enhance school performance, build community, and foster continual school-wide innovation and learning

Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania: Project: Collaborate with national ministries of health to catalyze and mobilize worldwide improved access to quality surgical care

Ghana, India, Malawi: Project: Adapt global supply chains to accelerate transformation toward a more sustainable, equitable food system

Kenya: Project: Develop scenarios for the future of Kenya’s devolution that promote democratic participation, equitable distribution of resources, and peaceful conflict resolution

U.S.-Mexico border, Greece, Germany: Project: Explore and document best practices to respect the human rights of migrants as they navigate complex immigration enforcement systems

The Philippines: Project: Enhance the resilience of local housing markets essential to delivering safe and dignified shelter

SAP has been a contributor to the key concepts of the Integration Lab through training of its leaders in Human Centered Design and other Design Thinking related disciplines. The unique space of the i-Lab is modeled after similar co-creation spaces at SAP Labs and SAP ecosystem partners.