Sustainable Development Goals: IAESTE's Contribution to the UN mission

Our response will determine how fast the world recovers, whether we achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, and how well we handle pressing challenges: from the climate crisis to pandemics, inequalities, new forms of violence, and rapid changes in technology and in our population. But just when we need collective action more than ever, support for global cooperation has been flagging. In many countries, public trust in traditional institutions is in decline and relations between countries have been under strain. Will this pandemic bring the world closer together? Or will it lead to greater mistrust? Global dialogue – and action – is now more urgent than ever. - says the UN 75th Anniversary website. 


IAESTE has been in close contact with the UN since our early times. In 2019 we were recognised as an NGO with General Consultative Status - the highest level, which may be granted to organisations that are concerned with most of the activities of the council, that are making substantive and sustained contributions in many fields, with a considerable membership, and that are broadly representative of major segments of society in a large number of countries. With this article, we start a series to explain our contribution to achieving SDG’s. Today we write about SDG4: Quality education.

SDG Goal 4: Quality education says "Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all." This goal is divided into 10 targets.


4.3 By 2030, ensure equal access for all women and men to affordable and quality technical, vocational and tertiary education, including university


IAESTE operate irrespective of race, colour, gender, culture, religious or political beliefs, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression. Our international internship exchange programme provides equal opportunities in the STEM area for women and men. We are especially proud that we are almost equal participation of young female and male engineers and scientists in our programme: 47% female and 53% male. Details can be found in the IAESTE Annual Review.


4.4 By 2030, substantially increase the number of youth and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship


IAESTE operates mainly in Science, Technical, Engineering, Mathematics & Applied Arts area and provides students with the opportunity for professional, practical training abroad. We enhance the technical skills, but also we enhance the cultural awareness and global competencies of the young generation. Additionally, we support the development of the employability and career competencies skills (knowing why, knowing whom, knowing what) as proven by the research conducted among alumni of IAESTE. Article with results of this research (IAESTE impact on interns' careers) is published in the IAESTE Annual Review.


4.5 By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations

4.5.1. Parity indices (female/male, rural/urban, bottom/top wealth quintile and others such as disability status, indigenous peoples and conflict-affected, as data become available) for all education indicators on this list that can be disaggregated


IAESTE members are obliged to provide equal access to international internships. In average each IAESTE committee is hosting 15 different nationalities in their county. As outlined above we successfully eliminate gender disparities in the professional STEM internships area.


We have also launched a remote internships program through we enhance diversity & inclusion. It opens opportunities for people with disabilities and who are not able to travel to participate in international experience online. 


4.7 By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development

4.7.1 Extent to which (i) global citizenship education and (ii) education for sustainable development, including gender equality and human rights, are mainstreamed at all levels in: (a) national education policies, (b) curricula, (c) teacher education and (d) student assessment


The research IAESTE impact on interns' careers, introduced above, has also proven that the IAESTE internship programme enhances the international understanding, intercultural skills, foreign language proficiency and global mindset. IAESTE interns say, just to quote a few of them:

  • “IAESTE changed the way how I see the world and yes, IAESTE changed my life, too”
  • “It changed my way of thinking about how the processes in the world are implemented. One can understand that the value of the human factor is highly appreciated when one works abroad.”  
  • “It not only made me help realize what I want to work in life, but also helped me not to be afraid to travel alone to some other country where I didn't have friends from before. After that, I got motivated to travel abroad even more and I try to join as many international IAESTE events as I can. Definitely recommend it!”
  • “It has impacted my life and career immensely: it enabled me to get employed by one of the top companies, to be promoted there, to be relocated several times inside this company. It made me qualified to perform the job in the (narrowly) chosen field almost all over the globe (in countries which value diversity and skills). From the other side, in countries which are in the period of transition (like my homeland Ukraine), which still remain post-soviet heritage and culture, employers have strikingly different opinions on international experience: some encourage it, another can even bully person for having it.”


4.B By 2020, substantially expand globally the number of scholarships available to developing countries, in particular, least developed countries, small island developing States and African countries, for enrolment in higher education, including vocational training and information and communications technology, technical, engineering and scientific programmes, in developed countries and other developing countries


IAESTE is active in 25 countries (30% of IAESTE member countries) defined as developing countries with strong to strengthen their ability to participate in the internship exchange programme. IAESTE Development Fund founded by the high GNI countries is supposed to support financially participate in the programme of the less developed countries. 


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