Last updated: January 5, 2024

RCE Detroit Windsor

Photo Credit:
Rce details
United States of America
Date of RCE acknowledgement:
January, 2021
Description of RCE and Geographic Region:

RCE Detroit Windsor is a joint effort between the two universities. Focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, it will identify actions that address climate change, economic and health disparities, and social inequity to create a more sustainable future for the two communities that share an international border.

Photo credit: Samantha Pickering (WSU-Graduate student)
United Nations Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) on Education for Sustainable Development in the Detroit-Windsor region launch symposiums at Wayne State University, Detroit, MI. USA

Goals and Objectives:

The UN’s RCE program will draw together key stakeholders across the international border and subsume activities related to sustainable development challenges. The Detroit-Windsor RCE has the following goals:

  • Focus on the challenges that the region faces as a transnational metropolitan area where water is one of the most vital and precious resources and where our shared automotive economic history provides common challenges in the need for transformation.
  • Connect key stakeholders from area schools, municipal governments, and nonprofit organizations to articulate areas of research expertise and collaborative projects.
  • Support research, teaching, and community participation in Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).
  • Promote cross-border collaboration on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), focusing on goals that draw both on our most significant strengths and our most pressing challenges. We have divided these goals into two categories for implementation with respect to the Detroit-Windsor region. These categories are not rigidly divided but provide both context and structure to our region’s specific RCE needs and circumstances.
Organisation Hosting RCE Secretariat:

Wayne State University

Key Partners:

Name of organisation: Wayne State University
Role: Director
Contact name: Donna Kashian
Contact email:

Name of organisation: University of Windsor
Role: Faculty
Contact name: Anneke Smit
Contact email:

Current Activities:
  • Establishing working groups related to our targeted Sustainable Development goals and identifying working group leaders on both sides of the border, forming a Sustainability Council which will convene regularly to talk about progress and steps to move forward.
  • Designing and uploading a website specific to the RCE and a LinkedIn page. Both are in the beginning stages of being live to the public but will be regularly updated and monitored by RCE leaders.  These media platforms will serve as the primary means of communication with community members and university members for upcoming events and professional development opportunities.
  • Leading a course on Urban Sustainability at Wayne State University, which attracts students (undergraduate and graduate) from multiple disciplines because of the structure with new speakers (professors, non-profit organizers, and municipal government leaders) with expertise in different urban sustainability issues each week.

Photo credit: Donna Reincke
Wayne State University Campus, Detroit, MI. USA tree planting event with local community partner The Greening of Detroit

Photo credit: Donna Kashian
Local Detroit high school visits Wayne State University to learn about water quality, Detroit, MI. USA

Upcoming Activities:
  • Submitting a joint session for the International Association of Great Lakes Research 2023 conference to be held in Windsor, CA May 8-12. This session will highlight the importance of true cross-border collaboration to protect our shared water sources, the Detroit River and the Great Lakes.
  • Co-Hosting a 2- week long series of Sustainability/Environmental Events "Green Street".  Which celebrates Sustainability in Higher Education Month in October.  Events in this series will be inclusive and engaging, we hope to spur individual action with speaker panels, highlights of local businesses, and volunteer activities around Detroit. UWindsor will also host related events in October specifically highlighting Fair Trade Month, Circular Economy Month (and Waste Reduction Week), and creating a Bird-friendly campus with Peele Island Bird Observatory.
  • Hosting the inaugural meeting of the Sustainability Council with RCE leaders from both Wayne State University and the University of Windsor.  In this meeting, discussions around what the cross-border collaboration will look like and any programming planning will take place.
  • Secured effective and cost-efficient virtual and physical spaces for stakeholders to connect
  • Identified and established a director of the RCE: Detroit-Windsor at Wayne State University
  • Established two UN-RCE graduate research assistant fellowships (2 fellowships available/year) and awarded our first student
  • Submitted a National Science Foundation (US) collaborative grant to support graduate education and increase educational partnership between the University of Windsor and Wayne State University
  • Convene a listening session of university, municipal, and community stakeholders to identify how the UN RCE WSU UW can best support the Detroit-Windsor sustainability/educational community
Communication Channels
Facebook page:
Twitter handle:
YouTube page:
Contact Details
Main RCE Contact:
Donna Kashian
Secondary RCE Contact:
Anneke Smikt
RCE Youth Coordinator(s):
General RCE email:
RCE mailing address for correspondence:

Wayne State University
3115 Biological Sciences
5047 Gullen Mall
Detroit, Michigan USA 48202
c/o Donna Kashian