Ivey students Emma Hogeterp and Sanket Mehta don’t just want to learn about social development issues, they want to solve them.
Hogeterp, HBA/Huron Global Studies ’19 candidate; and Mehta, MBA ’18 candidate, are participating in the 2018 Winter Youth Assembly at the United Nations (UN) headquarters in New York City Feb. 14-16. The three-day conference brings together around 1,000 youth volunteers from more than 100 countries to discuss the importance of innovation, civic engagement, and collaborative partnerships.
The 21st session of the annual event focuses on the theme, Innovation and Collaboration for a Sustainable World, and will look in depth at five goals on the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development:
- Clean water and sanitation;
- Affordable and clean energy;
- Sustainable cities and communities;
- Responsible consumption and production; and,
- Life on land (protecting ecosystems).
“The purpose of the conference is to not only discuss ideas, but also how they can be applicable in your country,” said Mehta. “What works in one country might not work in another because every country has a different set of economic indicators, such as life expectancy, income levels, and population.”
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A conversation that might change the world
Both Mehta and Hogeterp are well-equipped to discuss social development.
Mehta previously worked with non-profit organizations in India, is the former president of the MBA Program’s Ivey Social Impact Club, and now wants to start his own social enterprise. He led the MBA Ivey Impact Day in August 2017.
“I believe the world is at the cusp of social innovation. There are already solutions in different parts of the globe to tackle most of the world’s biggest problems. Life expectancy is increasing, poverty levels are dropping, health-care delivery is improving, literacy rates are going up, and much more,” he said. “I am looking forward to the UN conference as a means of coming together and brainstorming ways to innovate, collaborate, and co-create social impact globally.”
Hogeterp is taking the HBA Sustainability Certificate and helped organize the inaugural Social Impact Conference at Ivey in January. She also participated in a ME to WE trip to Kenya while in high school and a trip to Ghana through Ivey’s Ubuntu Management Education Initiative. While in Ghana, she wrote a business case on iSpace, a startup hub that provides funding and support to entrepreneurs. Aiming for a career involving microfinance in developing communities, Hogeterp said she hopes to also discuss with the delegates support for female social entrepreneurs.
“I believe social entrepreneurship for women has the potential to support more sustainable communities as well as create a more equitable environment for men and women both inside and outside of the home,” she said. “I’m looking forward to learning more about the intersection of business and global development at an organization as well-known and experienced as the United Nations.”
Both of the students said their Ivey education helped prepare them for this opportunity.
“At Ivey you don’t just learn about the business side of things, but also the societal side of things,” said Mehta. “Throughout the program, embedded within the lectures of finance, accounting, marketing, strategy, and leadership is the famous two-by-two matrix – business and society versus short and long term.”