BE OPEN will be part the MED9 and UNECE events dedicated to education and sustainability with its SDG-focused competition programme

In June 27 and 28, 2024, BE OPEN Foundation will take part in the MED9 Ministerial Summit for Education for Sustainable Development and the UNECE Forum on ESD: Empowering Youth for Sustainable Futures in Cyprus, two of the most important education and sustainability focused events in the global agenda.


UN Secretary-General António Guterres offered his vision on transforming education in the contemporary world: “Education is a fundamental human right. Throughout history, it has been a source of personal dignity and empowerment and a driving force for the advancement of social, economic, political, and cultural development. If we are to transform our world by 2030 as envisaged by the Sustainable Development Goals, then the international community must respond decisively, with conviction, imagination and in solidarity to transform education and contribute to the upcoming Summit of the Future, and as a manifesto for collective action.”

The Mediterranean Region faces significant challenges arising from both natural phenomena, such as increasingly harmful climate change, and human-related factors – conflicts, pollution, unemployment and many more. The MED9 Summit strives to address these challenges by developing public policies able to raise awareness, improve the knowledge, and build positive tendencies to orient the society towards more sustainable practices.

Minister of Education, Sports and Youth of Cyprus Dr. Athena Michaelidou stressed the great significance of the MED9 summit and the UNECE Forum on Education for Sustainable Development in promoting discussions and exchanging know-how and scientific data to address the multidimensional challenges of climate change and environmental degradation:  “The message of these two summits is none other than the urgent need to address environmental challenges and our obligation to protect our planet. The focus and protagonists are our young people, whom we see as leaders of tomorrow and subversive agents of today’s changes.”

In sync with these goals, the UNECE Forum on ESD hosted by the Republic of Cyprus and organised in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), seeks to harness the potential of entrepreneurship education in empowering youth to shape a sustainable future.

Moreover, it aims to explore how education for sustainable development can influence entrepreneurship education to cultivate entrepreneurs who are not only driven by profit but also committed to creating positive environmental, social, and economic impacts for a sustainable future.

The forum is designed for young sustainability leaders, including entrepreneurs, educators and activists, as well as policymakers, and representatives from NGOs and businesses interested in fostering youth engagement in sustainability solutions.

For both the events, BE OPEN intends to share the very relevant results and findings of its SDG-themed student competition programme, the positive outcome of cooperating with a number of institutions and its commitment to help integrate sustainability into curriculums of educational institutions globally.

BE OPEN’s work related to sustainability and education is rooted in the principles, formulated by the Founder Elena Baturina: “Everyone is needed to reach the ambitious targets set by the UN’s SDG programme – the creativity, knowhow, technology and financial resources from all of humanity. BE OPEN’s programme strives to help educate wider audiences that sustainable future is dependent on all of us, yet I am convinced that the younger generation today is a more responsible and aware one. I see incredible commitment, responsiveness and audacity in how they approach whatever problems we ask them to tackle.”

In order to help the younger generations address the multifaceted challenges ahead, BE OPEN has organised a lecture on the future of education to be held at the forum by a world-renown futurist Gerd Leonhard.

The SDG competition programme developed by BE OPEN chooses to focus on one particular goal every year, and has so far covered SDG13: Climate Action, SDG12: Responsible Consumption and Production, SDG11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, SDG2: Zero Hunger, and SDG7: Affordable and Clean Energy. The programme aims to encourage creation of innovative solutions by younger creatives, for a more prosperous and sustainable future.

BE OPEN strongly believes that creativity is integral in the shift to sustainable existence. To attain the UN SDGs we need to think out of box the goals. We need creative thinking – design thinking – and creative action. Design has a crucial role to play as an instrument or vehicle for the implementation of the UN SDGs.