Plenary Sessions – UN @ 75: The Future of Partnership and Multilateralism

> Damaris, Poet, Podcaster and Youth Advocate

Damaris is a highly acclaimed poet, podcaster and youth advocate determined to use her art to provoke positive change in the society. She is a UNODC Youth champion(2019) and the Winner of the UNODC Education for Justice call for artistic submissions with her powerful spoken word poem titled ‘I AM CHANGE’ which charges young people to be the change they seek in their societies. She began spoken word poetry in 2015 at the university, standing out for her moving words, powerful delivery and captivating stage presence and is rapidly becoming a household name in the art scene in Africa. An exceptional UN volunteer, passionate about the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG 4, 5 and 16 (Quality Education, Gender Equality and Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions respectively) Damaris has been a panelist at UN high level conferences and events in Nigeria, Austria and Switzerland. She has also hosted podcasts on gender equality and culture in Nigeria. She hails from Edo state, Nigeria and enjoys reading, meeting new people and cooking in her spare time.

> Ramu Damodaran, Chief of the United Nations Academic Impact Initiative

Ramu Damodaran is Chief of the United Nations Academic Impact initiative, which aligns institutions of higher learning and research with the objectives of the United Nations and the States and peoples who constitute it. He is also the current secretary of the United Nations Committee on Information. His earlier posts with the Organization have included the Departments of Peacekeeping and Special Political Questions, as well as the Executive Office of the Secretary-General.

> Sarmad Khan, Senior Advisor, United Nations

Sarmad has served as a policy, development and learning professional for almost 20 years in the areas of development cooperation, policy coordination and executive leadership learning and training. He is on assignment as Head of the UN-UAE RC Office and UN Senior Advisor on engagement in Expo 2020. Prior to this, at UN HQ, Sarmad served as the Team Leader and Policy Advisor at the UN Development Coordination Office (DCO) in New York and led its work on UN System leadership solutions for sustainable development and reform. Previously, Sarmad worked with the UN System Staff College in Turin as Coordinator of its flagship programme on UN Leadership. In the field, he spent 7 years with UN operations in Iraq and Yemen focusing on development and post-conflict transition strategies, and with UNDP’s Crisis Prevention and Recovery Bureau in Geneva working on complex emergencies. Sarmad has also held roles as Director of Communications and Advisor to the President for the UN Association (UNA) of Canada in Toronto, and Founding Member of the Knowledge & Innovation Management Professional Society. In 2019, he joined the ACUNS Board and was invited to the Advisory Board of the UAE University’s (UAEU) ‘University of the Future’ initiative launching at Expo 2020.

> Hilligje van’t Land, Secretary General of the International Association of Universities (IAU)

Dr. Hilligje van’t Land is the Secretary General of the International Association of Universities (IAU).
Educated in France, the Netherlands and Canada, Dr. van’t Land obtained her PhD in comparative francophone literature and completed a post-doc in Canada. She held teaching positions at the University of Groningen, in the Netherlands, Laval University, in Canada and Avignon, France. As Member of the Board of the International Council Canadian Studies, she helped develop Canadian Studies Centres and projects around the world. She has published intensely in that sector. She held a teaching and research position at the Université d’Avignon et des Pays du Vaucluse and served as Academic Director of the Institute American Universitaire in Avignon before joining the IAU, the global association of universities headquartered at UNESCO. She joined the IAU to work on intercultural learning and dialogue projects, doctoral education in Canada and higher education and research for sustainable development (HESD) – the work on HESD is now central to the overall IAU strategic plan. Expert in Higher Education, she published on a number of issues relating to the field and sits on International Working Groups and Expert Committees including at UNESCO – in particular the ESD Programme and the Advisory Committee to the Futures of Education Initiative, the UN – the HLPF initiatives and UNU-RCE Advisory Group, and the Council of Europe – the Expert Group tasked with the development of the Reference Framework for Competences for a Democratic Culture and the Expert Group developing a new vision for The Local Mission of the Universities. She speaks 6 languages and is strong believer in the value of international cooperation.