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Public Forum: Australia and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals


The UN Sustainable Development Goals – What do they mean for Australia?

The Whitlam Institute within Western Sydney University and the United Nations Association of Australia are delighted to host a public forum on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on the occasion of the second anniversary of their adoption in 2015.

In these challenging global times, the SDGs offer us a roadmap for what it might take to achieve a sustainable future for us all. They represent in the truest sense, an opportunity to think globally and act locally for the future of humanity and the planet.

With the recent announcement by the Australian Government that it will deliver its first voluntary national review on Australia’s progress toward the SDGs in July 2018, this forum will provide an opportunity to learn more about the SDGs and how they evolved and to understand what they mean for the world and ordinary Australians. And, with WSU and UTS being the only Universities in NSW to have signed up to the SDGs it will also look at the role of Australian Universities in achieving the goals.

The forum will include a Panel Discussion between Leanne Smith, Patricia Garcia and Jen Dollin. Read their bios below.

This is a free event but RSVPs are essential, places are limited.

The evening begins at 5.30 with refreshments, discussion commences at 6.00pm.

Leanne Smith.jpg

Leanne Smith, Associate Director of the Whitlam Institute, is an international human rights lawyer by training, with a Masters in Public Policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton. Leanne has worked in the Australian judicial system, for the Australian Human Rights Commission, in the international NGO sector, regional human rights organisations, as an Australian diplomat (DFAT) and in various roles for the United Nations in New York and in the field, most recently as Chief of Policy and Best Practices for UN Peacekeeping Operations.

Leanne has published a number of articles on Australian foreign policy and international human rightsrule of law and development as well as the United Nations and women, peace and security. She is a visiting fellow at the ANU Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy and the UNSW Australian Human Rights Centre.



Patricia Garcia, Sustainable Development Goals Campaign Consultant, UN Association of Australia, is a highly respected humanitarian and human rights advocate, with experience in project design and delivery, campaigning, and fundraising. For over 20 years Patricia has lived and worked in war zones. She has managed and coordinated humanitarian relief and development programs to assist refugees and IDPs in some of the world’s longest-running conflicts, including Afghanistan, Sudan and Burma.

Patricia has worked for the United Nations and international NGOs, including Oxfam, Peace Winds Japan, German Agro Action, Norwegian Church Aid, UNHCR and UNOPS. Her program management tasks have included overall responsibility for emergency and post-conflict recovery, with annual budgets from USD 2 million (Asian Development Bank/German Agro Action in Afghanistan) to USD 12 million (EU/Norwegian Church Aid in Darfur Sudan).


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Jen Dollin is the Program Director, UN Regional Centre for Expertise in Education for Sustainable Development – Greater Western Sydney and Manager, Office of Sustainability at Western Sydney University. She has extensive experience working with university, school, community and government networks in Greater Western Sydney and a proven track record in scoping and delivering externally funded sustainability education consultancy projects.

Jen’s background is in corporate finance, environmental economics and policy development - her early career was spent in finance where she worked nationally and internationally for large corporates including AMP, Australian Consolidated Press and Cable and Wireless UK. She has experience in research and policy development with the NSW Government on product stewardships and in her current role oversees sustainability curriculum development initiatives at the University. A key focus of her work is connected to the United Nations University Institute of Advanced Sustainability RCE global network supporting the grass roots delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals 2030.