Ideagen’s “2020 Ideagen EU Global Goals Digital Summit” took place last week from July 22 to July 24. Hosted by Ideagen, a US-based civic & social organization specializing in cross-sector collaborations and convening the world's leading companies, NGOs, and public sector organizations, this three-day summit’s aim was to bring global leaders together in a cross-panel discussion on finding ways through cross-sector collaborations from all fields and industries to achieve the 17 UN Sustainable Goals by 2030.

Evolution throughout history has been in nature’s hands but it is becoming more and more apparent that this dynamic has shifted, leaving a large role to be played by humans. This is why it is imperative that we tread cautiously and wisely using all the scientific knowledge and resources available. A massive transition is necessary if we are to restore an equilibrium. To achieve this, a crusade-like determination will be necessary and we will all have to play our part.

Chosen by Ideagen to be interviewed and also to moderate two panels, Peggy Pelonis, ACS Athens President, topped the list from the Education sector. In his introductory announcement, George Sifakis, Ideagen Global Chairman, Founder and CEO, referred to Dr. Pelonis as a “ leader in the field of education”.

Education is a vital success factor. Why? Because it is this generation, currently dubbed the "Transition Generation," that will get humanity through this next great shift of evolution. As Dr. Pelonis stated in the conference, …”we need to provide an example and framework that will guide the younger generation towards this huge endeavor”. 

Day one of the summit discussed the importance of making a social impact through entrepreneurship, relief work, community serving start-ups, communication, and volunteerism.The panel included Hanne Dalmut - Sr. Director / Partnership Development at Concordia, Melina Taprantzi -  Founder of Wise Greece, Michalis Stangos - Co-Founder ID-GC, Vassilis Michailidis - Chief of Staff at The HOME Project, Yanna Darili - Media Executive and Elina Pipa - ACS Athens student.

The second day of the summit focused on ways of fulfilling the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals from an educational as well as an entrepreneurial perspective, with industry leaders from the field of aviation, finance, and leisure sharing knowledge and expertise. The panel included Maria Gabriella Anagnostopoulos - Project Manager & Financial Analyst/Envolve Entrepreneurship, Jimmy Athanasopoulos -  Libra Social Programs and Chair of Envolve Entrepreneurship, Effie Tsiotsiou - Executive Director & Director of Education/Onassis Foundation, Kiran Bir Sethi - Founder/The Riverside School and Design For Change, Kam Chohan - COO at ECIS, Mark Wolper - President and Executive producer/The Wolper Organization and Lydia Pinirou - Student/Royal Holloway University.

On the third and final day of the summit, George Sifakis, Ideagen Global Chairman, Founder and CEO, interviewed ACS Athens President Dr. Pelonis, along with ACS Athens faculty member Christina Venos, and Archica Dogra, Founder and Executive Director of  Innoverge. In his opening question, George Sifakis referred to the “Transition Generation” and how we can guide this next generation to get us through this time of great upheaval and change and what ACS Athens was doing specifically in that direction. Dr. Pelonis responded by stressing the importance of helping children understand other cultures and how this is even more possible in international schools. Even more important is the type of education that students receive, a change in mindset that stresses tolerance, engagement and collaboration, and the understanding that we are all interconnected. In this way, students become stakeholders in the environment and future of this planet. This is why ACS Athens has included the UN Sustainable Development Goals in its K-12 curriculum. 

Archica Dogra from Innoverge went on to discuss the importance of taking education outside of the classroom into the real world to solve the problems of today. Christina Venos shared with the panel the exciting and innovative way that she is using the 17 SDG’s with her second-grade students and the enthusiasm with which they embraced them.

The summit was expected to attract an audience of over 20 million viewers from across the globe. ACS Athens would like to sincerely thank George Sifakis and the entire Ideagen team for making the summit possible, and all the speakers that agreed to collaborate in this honorable endeavor. If each and every one of us plays our part, we just might have a chance and change “what if” into “we just might can”.