ASU partners with UN, World Bank on gender equality training for world leaders

October 19, 2020

Only eight countries have legislated full gender equality, according to the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law database. (No, the United States isn’t one of them.) And an estimated one in three women worldwide experience physical violence.

To accelerate the adoption of policies that empower women and ensure equal rights, Arizona State University’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory and EdPlus partnered with global organizations — including the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the United Nations and the World Bank — on a unique video training series: SDG 5 Training for Parliamentarians and Global Changemakers. graphic that says "zero countries have achieved full gender equality. Let's change that." Download Full Image

This series will inform members of parliaments and other leaders on gender issues and trends, providing actionable steps they can take to advance gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls (UN Sustainable Development Goal 5) in their countries.

In 2015, 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted by all 193 United Nations member states. SDG 5 is an especially important goal because “gender equality is intrinsically linked to all our development challenges,” according to Sanda Ojiambo, executive director of the United Nations Global Compact.

Head of EdPlus Social Impact, Erin Carr-Jordan, worked with ASU students at Luminosity Lab to build an interactive prototype tool that allows users the ability to compare country-level data and utilize a notification system that aligns with the UN’s Universal Periodic Review. This tool will “amplify impact and proactively encourage our partners all over the world to make positive change to discriminatory laws in advance of their public review at the UN Human Rights Council," Carr-Jordan says.

The SDG 5 training was developed during the beginning of the United Nations Decade of Action. 2020 is a landmark year to commemorate commitments to gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. To take stock, it has been:

  • 25 years since the Beijing Platform for Action and the Millennium Declaration.
  • 20 years since the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.
  • 10 years since the creation of UN Women and the launch of the Women’s Empowerment Principles.

"The Global Futures Laboratory is thrilled to partner with so many wonderful organizations in a collaborative SDG 17 multi-stakeholder initiative to promote SDG 5,” said Amanda Ellis, director of global partnerships for the Global Futures Laboratory and co-chair (with Thunderbird Dean Sanjeev Khagram) of the universitywide UN SDG and Beyond Task Force.

Ellis was previously New Zealand’s ambassador to the UN and lead gender specialist for the World Bank. Other partners on this training series include the Council of Women World Leaders, Women Political Leaders and the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians.

This SDG training for world leaders won’t be ASU’s last.

“Based on the quality of ASU’s work with the SDG 5 training, the Inter-Parliamentary Union has asked us to create a new training series for SDG 13: climate action, which will be key in the run up to COP 26,” Ellis said. “It’s wonderful to be able to align key global partnerships with the brilliant work going on at ASU.”

View the training videos below and learn how to take action on the SDG 5 Training for Parliamentarians and Global Changemakers site.


Only eight countries have legislated full gender equality. Time for change to benefit not only women and girls, but also everyone, everywhere.


Did you know that companies with more gender representation perform better? Yet there is still a gender gap in leadership positions in corporations. Similarly, gender representation in the government correlates with stronger governance, but the majority of the global population is still uncomfortable with a female head of state. 

Violence against women and girls

One in three women are expected to experience some form of sexual harassment or assault in their lifetime, according to the World Health Organization. Additionally, violence against women and girls costs approximately $1.5 trillion every year. Learn how to be an effective advocate against violence against women and girls.

Women, peace and security

Women are overly impacted by conflict, yet they’re often left out of peacekeeping processes. Agreements are more likely to succeed when women are involved. Learn how your country can develop a comprehensive "Women, Peace and Security" plan.

Kayla Frost

Communications Specialist, ASU Knowledge Enterprise


MORE program funds research for ASU master's degree students

October 19, 2020

The Master’s Opportunity for Research in Engineering, also called the MORE program, offers support for master’s students in Arizona State University's Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering to conduct research under the guidance of a faculty mentor.

“The MORE program came about three years ago when we realized that the majority of our graduate students are master’s students rather than doctoral students, and the majority of those master’s students are here mostly to do courses rather than applied projects,” said Pat Phelan, the program faculty director. “A lot of students, regardless of whether they do a thesis or not, want to do some kind of research, and we wanted to give them that opportunity.” Professor and student working together in a lab Pallavi Shintre, a master's student in electrical engineering, works with her faculty mentor, Wenlong Zhang, on a research project analyzing human-robot interactions as part of the Master's Opportunity for Research in Engineering program. Photo by Connor McKee/ASU Download Full Image

Through the program, master’s students who are not already supported by research funding as paid research assistants have the opportunity to work one-on-one with a faculty member on a research project over the course of a semester. Students are able to apply for up to two semesters at a time under the same faculty mentor.

“What’s special is it gives all our master’s students a chance to write a short proposal together with a faculty member and actually get funding as well as access to travel funds to present their work at a conference,” said Phelan, who is also a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering in the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy, one of the six Fulton Schools, and the assistant dean of graduate programs for the Fulton Schools. “It’s also really important from a faculty point of view because we’re always looking for talented students who are eager to do research.”

At the end of each semester, alongside undergraduate students in the Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative, MORE students share their findings at the FURI symposium.

Participating MORE students earn a stipend of $1,500 upon completion of the program and are eligible for up to $400 in funding for research supplies to support their projects.

Engineering better computer-aided design tools

Cole Brauer

Daniel Aukes, assistant professor in engineering at The Polytechnic School, mentored Cole Brauer, a master’s student in engineering, through the MORE program.

During fall 2018 and spring 2019, Brauer conducted research with Aukes to investigate ways to automate the planning of multi-material manufacturing processes.

“Cole worked — and continues to work — on developing multi-material design and manufacturing tools that permit one to specify and compute with multi-materials geometries and subsequently simulate and manufacture multi-material designs using rapid prototyping tools like 3D printers,” Aukes said. “This work is important because today's computer-aided design tools don't have that capability, which makes them ill-suited at meeting the needs of the kinds of manufacturing advances we've seen in the last decade.”

Brauer returned to the MORE program in spring 2020 to expand his research on multi-material design and manufacturing tools and has since graduated.

Aukes was thankful for the opportunity to explore new avenues of research by mentoring Brauer.

“I get the chance to expand on my own interests and to see the results play out in interesting ways, perhaps seeing progress on a topic I myself am unable to work on but feel passionate about,” Aukes said. “MORE research helps me make connections between different threads in my lab and current trends in science and engineering. And the results from MORE research can serve as important steppingstones to gain funding by showing tangible and promising initial results in a new area.”

Research antimicrobial surfaces for use in space

Kiarash Ranjbari

Kiarash Ranjbari, a master’s student in civil, environmental and sustainable engineering, conducted research in the MORE program during spring 2020 under the mentorship of Francois Perreault, an assistant professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment.

“My research project proposes to develop antimicrobial surface coatings using silver nanoparticles to prevent biofilm formation on metallic surfaces at the International Space Station,” Ranjbari said. “This is expected to reduce the costs for water quality control and reduce potential health risks or system damage caused by biofouling.”

Ranjbari is continuing his research in the program this semester as well, and looks forward to expanding his project to improve the long-term performance of silver coatings.

“The MORE program gave me the opportunity to work one-on-one with faculty, make connections with other graduate students and contribute to the creation of a new water treatment method,” Ranjbari said. “It helped me explore my primary research interests, clarify my career goals and significantly improve my academic writing skills.”

So far, Perreault has mentored three students in the MORE program and says he values the opportunity to engage with them on impactful research.

“I was part of the first cohort of MORE faculty mentors,” Perreault said. “It’s great to have a program that supports master’s students at ASU. The program also allows us to explore research areas where there is otherwise not a lot of funding or people working on them. It’s great to be able to leverage the work we’re doing here to secure funding for the future.”

Apply for the MORE program for the 2020–2021 academic year by noon Wednesday, Oct. 21. Faculty mentor support letters are due by noon Thursday, Oct. 22.

Karishma Albal

Student Science/Technology Writer, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering