Mount Madonna School Announces Sustainable Development Goals Speaker Series; Feb. 25 Lecture

The series begins on February 25 with “Shifting Perspectives: Adventures in Tech Policy and Beyond” featuring guest Amita Kuttner, Ph.D.


Mount Madonna School (MMS) is pleased to announce the launching of a series of public lectures based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The MMS Sustainable Development Goals Speaker Series begins February 25 at 7:00pm with “Shifting Perspectives: Adventures in Tech Policy and Beyond,” featuring Amita Kuttner, Ph.D., a 2008 MMS graduate.


“Artificial intelligence, automation, and other emerging technologies are upending our ways of life,” commented Kuttner. “Policy and policymaking are generally reactive, and yet with the changes coming due to technology we need proactive policy. Approaches to influencing policy, and political conversation are intertwined with the underpinnings of how our societies are structured. What we need now is to reevaluate how we approach living life, and how we see Sustainable Development Goal number 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.”

All of the events in the monthly series (six talks are currently scheduled) will be offered via Zoom. Tickets are available for a suggested donation of $20, and can be ordered via the speaker series website, sdgspeakerseries.org.


Each seminar will be moderated by MMS senior students as part of their Values in World Thought curriculum. Students and the audience will participate in meaningful conversations with guests – most of whom are Mount Madonna alumni – as well as friends who are working on critical societal issues.


“Alongside the speaker series, we are excited to launch the Mount Madonna School Sustainable Development initiative to measure our school’s progress and contributions to the global U.N. Sustainable Development Goals,” commented Head of School Ann Goewert, Ph.D. “The school has a rich tradition of developing its students’ capacity to think critically, creatively and empathically to solve pressing global issues.”


School leadership envisions creating an interactive database to measure and visualize its students’ contributions to the global sustainable development goals.


“The SDG speaker series perfectly aligns with what we do at MMS,” commented Director of Upper School, Shannon Kelly. “Our commitment to sustainability, environmental stewardship, and global citizenship permeates our Pre/K through twelfth grade curriculum. I am proud of the amazing work our alumni are doing in the world. It speaks volumes about the type of education we offer.”


The U.N. SDGs are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.” The SDGs were set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and are intended to be achieved by the year 2030.

Kuttner is the co-founder of Moonlight Institute, a nonprofit organization that seeks to create frameworks for an equitable and just future, taking into account the realities of the climate emergency, technology and decolonization. Kuttner holds a Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of California, Santa Cruz; and ran for Canadian Parliament in 2019. Kuttner served as a Critic for Science and Innovation for the Green Party of Canada from September 2018 to February 2020, to bring forward policy on artificial intelligence and emerging technologies; and ran for leadership of the Green Party of Canada in 2020 on a platform of justice, science and resilience.


“The speaker series coupled with our initiative to measure our school’s progress and contributions helps develop the agency of our preschool to twelfth grade students to meet these ambitious goals to improve the world,” commented Goewert. “This work will deepen students’ vision of the world and the impact of their actions by thinking globally and acting locally.”


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Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, director of marketing & communications, mmsmarketing@mountmadonnaschool.org

Nestled among the redwoods on 375 acres, Mount Madonna School (MMS) is a diverse learning community dedicated to creative, intellectual, and ethical growth. MMS supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware, discerning and articulate individuals; and believe a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships and service to society. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville. Founded in 1979.