Professor at Notre Dame University-Louaize’s (NDU) Faculty of Law and Political Science (FLPS), Dr. Eugene Sensenig, participated in the 28th annual International Sustainable Development Research Society (ISDRS) conference in Stockholm, Sweden. This year’s theme was dedicated to the special topic, “Sustainable Development and Courage: Culture, Art, and Human Rights.”
The conference panels and sessions dealt with a range of technical, economic, cultural, and social issues. These included topics of urgent concern such as: biodiversity and ecosystem services; governance, power, institutions, and the weakness of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); cities and regions; and production, consumption, and innovation.
Uniting the universities throughout the Swedish capital, the ISDRS was organized on six campuses, including the Swedish Defence University, Stockholm School of Economics, Marie Cederschiöld University, Södertörn University, Stockholm University of the Arts, and University College Stockholm.
As part of NDU’s ongoing commitment to a faith-based approach to sustainability, the FLPS co-organized a special panel titled, “Religion, Courage, and Sustainable Development,” together with the Department of Social Sciences at the Marie Cederschiöld University and the Center for Contextual Theology at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. Dr. Sensenig presented a paper based on his original research, “Political Economy of Faith & Coexistence in a Failed State,” wherein he employs a base-superstructure dialectical approach to discuss the economic and technological roots of the current crisis in Lebanon and the role of organized religion and personal faith in confronting it. Parallels were drawn to the faith-social justice nexus in Southern Africa and other parts of the Global South.
Following the conference, Marie Cederschiöld University Professor, Dr. Johan Gärde, and University of Pretoria Professor, Dr. Stephan de Beer, plan to collaborate with professors at NDU to further develop the faith-based approach to sustainability, rooted in the principles of Catholic Social Teaching (CST), the United Nations SDGs, and the unique approach to interfaith community activism pioneered in South Africa during and following Apartheid. A special focus will be placed on the use of digital open content creation, open educational resources (OER), and online merge offline (OmO) collaboration.
Building on the results of the 2022 ISDRS conference, the FLPS is integrating its projects promoting social justice, sustainable development, the SDGs, and a faith-based approach to activist scholarship in order to increase collaboration between NDU and partners in the Global South and Global North. Topics in preparation for the 29th ISDRS in 2023 include turning the resource curse in Lebanon into a ‘resource blessing’ in the extractive industries sector, sustainable food production, tourism, and Fair Trade, and combating the culture of impunity through enhanced self-governance and self-regulation.
To be noted, the ISDRS is a global network of sustainable development professionals which links research in academia and implementation practice from all over the world. The society is a coalition of more than 2800 members from academia, government, non-governmental organizations and industry. The society promotes inter- and transdisciplinary research and education for sustainable development. NDU commends Dr. Sensenig and the FLPS for their continued global outreach and dialogue.