Award for Advancing the UN SDGs through Education Abroad

The Forum’s Award for Advancing the UN SDGs through Education Abroad honors member institutions and organizations whose education abroad programs promote economic, environmental, and social sustainability. By recognizing members who have made significant progress towards the SDGs, The Forum hopes to inspire the field as a whole to contribute to a more sustainable future for all.

Award recipients will be acknowledged at The Forum’s hybrid Annual Conference.

The deadline to submit for the 2022 award is September 16, 2022.

Submit a Nomination


Criteria and Rating


Nominees for the Award will be judged on their implementation of the guidelines for Advancing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through Education Abroad over the past academic year. 

To be considered for the award, applicants must be Forum member institutions or organizations in good standing.


Nominations are rated (on a scale of 0 to 5) on effective application of the guidelines’ sections.


Section Clause Description of Evaluation Criteria
Guiding Principles Mission and Goals How well does your mission statement align with SDGs?
Collaboration and Transparency Between Partners How well do you embed sustainability into your study abroad partnerships?
Ethics How do you incorporate ethical considerations such as wellbeing, education, equality, responsible consumption and production into your programming?
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion How do you address systemic biases and enhance equity, diversity and inclusion at every level: internal (students, faculty, staff) and external (partners, local communities)? 
Administrative Framework Operations How do your operational policies and practices reduce your programs’ carbon footprint on campus and abroad?
Program Planning and Development How do your program designs impact student learning outcomes around SDGs and improve medium- and long-term wellbeing of local communities? 
Personnel How do you engage, upskill and reward personnel on the basis of their SDG awareness and contributions?
Partnerships and Collaboration What partnerships have you developed and how do you engage with them to enhance progress towards SDGs?
Community Engagement How do you engage with local communities to promote awareness and achievement of SDGs?
Student Learning and Development Before Program How do your programs integrate sustainability topics and sustainable practices into program design & promotions?
During Program How do your programs try to understand sustainable development within the local context and include sustainability-related curricular / co-curricular activities?
After Program How do you encourage post-program reflection on sustainability issues? How do you reward, recognize and encourage students championing sustainability?

As the members of the selection committee read your entry, they will be asking:

  • How effectively do your programs and/or operations meet the criteria?
  • Is there evidence of measurable, sustainable change as a result of your efforts?
  • Do your efforts exceed standard sustainability practice(s)?
  • What were the challenges your office had to overcome?

2021 Award Recipient: Penn State Global

Penn State Global

The recipient of the 2021 Award for Advancing the UN SDGs through Education Abroad is Penn State Global.

Penn State Global is proud to partner with academic units and the Sustainability Institute to implement curricular integration, programmatic updates, and operational changes to continue its mission of advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals. They incorporate the SDGs into all areas of their work, including:

  • They have invested in faculty development workshops and a new sustainability scholars award for students.
  • Their online program pages information include the SDG icon related to the curriculum and activities of that study abroad program.
  • For events and marketing, they make informed decisions on reduction of plastic waste and shipping impacts and have prioritized local vendors for all material and catering needs.
  • They feature one SDG at each weekly staff meeting and now include reference to sustainable practices in all job postings.

Penn State Global will be acknowledged as the inaugural award recipient during The Forum’s 18th Annual Conference, “Globally Interconnected: New Opportunities and the Challenge of Change”, which will take place on March 21-25, 2022 in Chicago and online.

The Forum also congratulates the following finalists:


Global Learning Collective





Intercultural Outreach Initiative (IOI)





University of Oregon – Global Education Oregon








Special thanks to Authentica for sponsoring the inaugural Award.