Opening plenary

Monday 22 May 2017 -
15:30 to 17:30

Sir Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive of the British Council officially opens Going Global 2017 followed by a governmental address and a sector address from Professor Janet Beer, Vice-President, Universities UK.

Our keynote speaker, Aromar Revi, thought leader on urbanisation and a global expert on sustainable development, will explore future global challenges and the role of cities as catalysts for solutions. 

Cities are home to half the world’s seven billion people and contribute to about 75% of global economic output. An additional three billion people are estimated to live in cities by 2050, increasing the urban share of the world’s population to two-thirds. 

Yet, cities and urban areas across the world face major challenges: poverty, unemployment, poor housing and lack of basic services for over 1 billion slum dwellers, constraints on productivity due to lack of basic infrastructure, and a concentration risk due to natural disasters and climate change. This classical view of the city, as a site of inextricable problems has inhibited interest and investment in them as sites of opportunity and change.

Sustainable cities build on the extraordinary potential of urban areas to enable change due to concentration of economic activity, innovation and job creation; the potential for social transformation, high levels of concentration of culture, people, infrastructure and buildings and the ability to redefine the relationship between rural and urban, to enable rural prosperity.