Raise the Torch for a sustainable future – Dr. Brundtland received an honorary doctorate from NCKU President Dr. Su
Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland received an honorary doctorate degree of Medicine of from the National Cheng Kung University President Dr. Huey-Jen Jenny Su (蘇慧貞) at the closing ceremony of the third Gro Brundtland Week of Women in Sustainable Development on April 3rd. The lecture was attended with NCKU faculty and students from Tainan First Senior High School and Tainan Sheng Kung High schools. On the same day, Dr. Brundtland presented a plenary lecture on “Sustainable Development Goals, a Thirty Year Story of International Collaboration” and attended the 2018 Brundtland Week closing ceremony.
“We are privileged to present the honorary doctorate of Medicine to Dr. Brundtland,” said Dr. Su. “Dr. Brundtland’s path-taking endeavors have profoundly inspired hundreds and thousands of public health practitioners, environmental scientists, and to some extent the politicians around the world to believe that there can always be a great calling and higher aim regardless of the disciplines if we bring passion and vision into each and every one of our profession.”
At the commencement of the lecture, Dr. Brundtland gave her word of appreciation to Tang Prize Foundation for the grant, with which NCKU has successfully assembled the Brundtland Week of Women in sustainable development for three years. Dr. Brundtland started to share her thirty year journey in sustainable development with a phenomenal global event back in 2015, when The United Nations approves the Sustainable Development Goals. “It brings the global countries and leaders together for a common future. This is my life story of 30 years, to engage for sustainable development and our common future.”
“When there is a hope, push for a change.”
“I want to change the society and the attitude,” said Dr. Brundtland. “A doctor is who wanted to heal and who wanted to change. Not least to change the causes of suffering and injustice. There is a very close connection between being a doctor and a politician. The doctor tries to prevent illness, the tries to treat it if it comes. That’s exactly the same as what you try to do as a politician, but regard to society.”
Gro Harlem Brundtland, A medical doctor and Master of Public Health (MPH), spent 10 years as a physician and scientist in the Norwegian public health system, before she was nominated as Norwegian Environmental Minister in 1974, and the first female Prime Minister of Norway in 1981. With her domestic political career, Dr Brundtland has developed a growing concern for issues of global significance. In 1983, she chaired the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development, and published the 1987 Brundtland Report, “Our Common Future”, which introduced sustainable development into global agenda at the Earth Summit in 1992 and Kyoto Protocol in 1997.
Dr. Brundtland continues to tackle on the global challenges of public health and climate change. Elected as the Director-General of the World Health Organization in 1998, she set the tone to “be combating disease and ill-health - promoting sustainable and equitable health systems in all countries” in her acceptance speech for the World Health Assembly. Among her accomplishments were negotiating a major multilateral treaty on tobacco, as well as the rapid response to the SARS epidemic, for which she was named Policy Leader of the Year by Scientific American Magazine.
Dr. Brundtland was appointed as the UN Special Envoys for Climate Change in 2007 and a member of UN Secretary Generals’ “High Level Global Sustainability Panel” in 2010. With her effort, the approval of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 and the Paris Agreement show that there is a global commitment now to acknowledging the problem and working together to solve it.
Recognized as “the mother of sustainable development, Dr. Brundtland travels and lectures extensively as a leading voice on climate change, an advocate for a healthier and better educated world, and a champion of sustainable development.
“Sustainable Development is s development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” – Our Common Future, 1987 the Brundtland Report
“Everything is linked to everything else. Environment and development are to be integrated,” said Dr. Brundtland on April 3rd. “We care for the quality of growth. We need to make the consequences transparent, to education the generations, to engage the private sectors, to take on global responsibility, to introduce innovation and change policies. We need to reduce the impact of global warming and climate change, for our common future.”
Brundtland Week of Women in Sustainable Development (2016-2018)
“The Brundtland Week of Women in Sustainable Development is a generous and visionary initiative from Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland,” said Dr. Su. “The Gro Brundtland Week of Women in Sustainable Development was made possible by her generosity aimed to enhance the involvement of younger women researchers from developing countries in the issues of sustainable development and public health, and to build a network and support system among female scientists from different countries.”
The Brundtland Week is a three-year project, from 2016 to 2018, granted with Dr. Brundtland’s Tang Prize in 2014. With Dr. Brundtland’s grant her 2014 Tang Prize award, the Brundtland Week awards fifteen outstanding female scientists to visit Taiwan. Tang Prize Foundation CEO Chern Jenn-Chuan (陳振川) said, “Tang Prize grant is used for a good cause. It is the partnership that matters.” With her 2014 Tang Prize money, Dr. Brundtland also grants the community hygiene programs in Tanzania.
The 2018 Brundtland Week award was given to Dr. Natisha Dukhi (South Africa), Dr. Barbara Burmen (Kenya), Dr. Neha Dahiya (India), Dr. Weena Gera (Philippines) and Dr. Sarva Mangala Praveena (Malaysia). They co-presented on “Healthy Cities in Asia and Africa: Exploring Community Initiatives to Address Air Pollution in Complex urban system” to NCKU President Dr. Su and Dr. Brundtland, after the award ceremony.
Raise our torch for a sustainable future
At the closing of 2018 Brundtland Week, Dr. Su said, “I am also hopeful and motivated when we officially close to the weeklong activities as what you have presented which are comprised of diverse disciplines and carrying the ultimate spirit of sustainability…the network and capacity to facilitate sustainability development is seeded in another corner of the globe. Taiwan, as a country, and I myself as the professor, are proud to showcase you the next batch of capable cadets as we raise our torch for a sustainable future!”