Dynamic, connected and engaging – the UN Summer Academy is a critical global forum for advancing sustainable development. Since 2012, the programme has convened an exceptional group of changemakers annually to address the challenges that are impacting the UN system and its partners.

Once again, the Summer Academy is welcoming participants from civil society, academia, youth-led organizations and the private sector to engage in robust discussions and knowledge exchanges on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This exciting event will take place from 12-16 August 2024.

Key faculty and alumni have included Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed,  former Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, former Chef de Cabinet Susana Malcorra, former Under Secretary-General Sigrid Kaag, former Assistant Secretary-General Sir Richard Jolly, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa, German Development Institute Deputy Director Imme Scholz, and the heads of UN Bonn agencies. Together they have made the UN Summer Academy a success in the last decade.

A visual representation of the activities at the virtual UN Summer Academy
A vehicle for stakeholder engagement

The UN Summer Academy has played a pivotal role in fostering stakeholder engagement – a key vehicle for bringing about system-level change. As a tool to accelerate progress towards the 2030 Agenda, multi-stakeholder engagement can help different actors understand  the interlinkages that exist between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Stakeholder engagement is also important for shifting power imbalances and enabling people from different sectors to work towards a shared goal to co-create solutions.

UN Summer Academy logo

The UN Summer Academy provides a platform to:

  • foster inclusive exchanges that build skills and knowledge to address global challenges;
  • inspire action, cutting-edge approaches and solutions from around the world;
  • build enabling environments where participants can co-create solutions towards a set of shared goals.
A graphic visual of futures thinking and economic transformation
The UN Summer Academy today

Delivered virtually over five-days, the programme offers an engaging and immersive online learning experience. It is made up of plenaries, working group sessions, and side events, and covers over 50 separate sessions in an action-packed agenda. The virtual format builds on the rich legacy of the face-to-face editions.

The highly competitive selection process brings together a cohort of exceptional development actors. The programme features substantive expert inputs, hands-on collaborative participant interactions and engaging networking spaces that allow participants to share their expertise and learn from  peers around the world.

Read article: Climate experts share their UN Summer Academy learning experiences  

Find out more about the 2024 edition of the UN Summer Academy
UN Summer Academy at a glance

Plenaries are live webinars where participants come together to gain insights from experts and to exchange ideas. A wide array of  formats and digital tools are used to ensure engagement and collective reflection.

Working group sessions

Small groups of participants collaborate on a group project to co-create solutions to the issues under discussion. Participants engage in an in-depth exchange of sustainable development knowledge and best practices. The sessions are designed to promote the development of scalable and cross-cutting sustainable development solutions.

Side events

Interactive side events offer participants a variety of expert perspectives and social activities. They also provide a space for greater interaction, peer networking and building communities of exchange.

Share Fair
The Share Fair is an exhibition where different organizations showcase their work on sustainable development. It provides an opportunity for participants to connect with other global changemakers in a relaxed networking atmosphere. 

Immersive learning experiences
The UN Summer Academy provides a virtual excursion to a city undergoing transformative change. The excursion is enabled through interactive 360-degree videos. Participants also get an opportunity to take part in a gamified high-stake decision-making gathering where they can build their communications skills and learn how to convey new ideas and manage conflicts in multi-stakeholder settings.   

SDG Roundtable Discussions
To harness the collective expertise of the UN Summer Academy participants, the UN Summer Academy provides dedicated spaces for in-depth discussions about real-life examples, concrete sustainable development practices, challenges, and opportunities.

Trend Talk
The UN Summer Academy Trend Talk features inspiring leaders who are creating new opportunities for disruptive and innovative development solutions. During these sessions the cohort engages leaders on emerging issues that can impact how we live tomorrow.

Key numbers
Key numbers
Sharon Rose Aggrey
Founder and Executive Director, Global Foundation for Community Development

After the UN Summer Academy, I committed to creating awareness and educating my community about climate change. My NGO is implementing a project designed to help coastal and farming communities in Ghana. I learned design thinking and futures thinking in the programme. I applied these learnings in my work and taught my team about these approaches.

Toral Gala
Programme Officer, United Nations Resident Coordinator’s Office India

The UN Summer Academy had outstanding speakers and an amazing team. The meticulously designed curriculum opened a space for enriching discussions and new tools - design, system, and future thinking. The stories and experiences shared by peers from different countries gave me a glimpse of nuanced outcomes from translating macro issues to micro-level.

Josh Dotse
Head, African Continental Coordinator, Climate Science

My experience at the UN Summer Academy has been extremely insightful. I couldn’t agree more with the thought-provoking and diverse perspectives from the participants. As a young person, the capacities I have built and the knowledge I have gained will be helpful in my activism and commitment to climate action. The UN Summer Academy made me commit to ‘leaving no one behind’ in the race to a sustainable future.

Nantomah Adam Baani
Regional Director, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice

I received additional knowledge at the UN Summer Academy that I shared with my staff. Together, we can educate the public and help them create a world where we live in dignity and on a healthy planet and live the principles of the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Mauricio Cote
Climate Change Advisor, GIZ Colombia

The UN Summer Academy gave me essential insights into addressing complex problems. I loved the Mural activities, and the different options offered to present our diverse opinions. At a practical level, the programme inspired me to give more thought to how best to implement systems thinking in climate change initiatives.

Media Gallery
Media Gallery
Interested in organizing a virtual or face-to-face sustainable development academy in your country?