The United Nations University (UNU), established in 1973, is the academic and research arm of the United Nations. It is headquartered in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan, with diplomatic status as a UN institution. Since 2010, UNU has been authorized by the United Nations General Assembly to grant degrees. It also provides a bridge between the UN and the international academic, policy-making and private sector communities.
Organisation and leadership
The university is headed by a rector, who holds the rank of Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations.
To date, there have been six Rectors at UNU. The current Rector, since March 2013, is Dr. David M. Malone of Canada.
List of Rectors of United Nations University:
|#||Rector||Took office||Left office|
|1||James M. Hester||11 November 1974||10 April 1980|
|2||Soedjatmoko||10 April 1980||30 March 1987|
|3||Heitor Gurgulino de Souza||30 March 1987||1 September 1997|
|4||Hans J.A. Van Ginkel||1 September 1997||1 September 2007|
|5||Konrad Osterwalder||1 September 2007||28 February 2013|
|6||David M. Malone||1 March 2013||Incumbent|
The Council of UNU is the governing board of the University and is composed of 24 members who are appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations with the concurrence of the Director-General of UNESCO.
The University was established in 1973 and formally began its activities in 1976 following the signature of the permanent headquarters agreement between the United Nations and Japan.The creation of the United Nations University was set in motion by Secretary-General U Thant in 1969.
UNU Institutes and Vice-Rectorate
Over the years, several Institutes of UNU were created to help with the research initiatives of the United Nations. Most notably, in 2007, a vice-rectorate was established in Bonn (UNU-ViE), Germany, as a way of strengthening UNU’s presence in Europe. UNU-ViE is dedicated to developing knowledge-based sustainable solutions for global problems and is, therefore, an active organizer of international science policy dialogues for sustainability.
UNU as a degree-granting institution
In December 2009, the UN General Assembly amended the UNU Charter to make it possible for UNU to “grant and confer master’s degrees and doctorates, diplomas, certificates and other academic distinctions under conditions laid down for that purpose in the statutes by the Council.”
In 2013, UNU-ISP announced its intention to seek accreditation from the National Institution for Academic Degrees and University Evaluation (NIAD-UE) which is the Japanese accreditation agency for higher education institutions. UNU-IAS was formally accredited in April 2015, making it the first international organization to be recognized by the NIAD-UE.
The university has several campuses spread over five continents. Its headquarters are located at the UNU Centre in Tokyo, Japan.
Brugg – Hamilton – Macau – Helsinki – Bonn – Dresden – Accra – Reykjavik – Tokyo – Kuala Lumpur – Barcelona – – Maastricht – Caracas .
The role of the UN University is to generate new knowledge, educate, enhance individual and institutional capacities, and disseminate its useful information to relevant audiences. Within the scope of these five thematic clusters, the UN University undertakes:
- Cross-cultural, interdisciplinary research (utilizing innovative, science-based techniques and methodologies to study important global processes and elaborate forward-looking solutions) and targeted foresight and policy studies (aimed at developing policy-relevant prescriptions and evaluating the feasibility and comparative advantages of each option);
- Postgraduate-level education (degree-oriented programmes and specialized training focused on problems and solutions rather than academic disciplines) and capacity development activities (aimed at helping developing and transitional countries to enhance local potential to address current problems/confront emergent challenges); and
- Knowledge sharing and transfer (to deliver relevant information about UN University research, current scientific advances and best practices, in a timely manner and in a usable form, to those who most need it and can best utilize it).
As prescribed in the United Nations University Strategic Plan 2011–2014, the 26 major topics of focus of the UN University’s academic work fall within five interdependent thematic clusters:
- Peace, Security and Human Rights; Peace building and peace keeping, Conflict resolution and human security, Fostering dialogue among civilizations, religions and cultures, Human rights and ethics, Gender equality and mainstreaming,
- Human and Socio-economic Development and Good Governance; Growth and economic development, Alleviating poverty and inequalities, Good governance, Enhancing educational capacities, Fair trade, Processes and consequences of regional integration and cooperation, Leadership, management and entrepreneurship.
- Global Health, Population and Sustainable Livelihoods; Global health, Safe water and sanitation, Food and nutrition for human and social development, Combating HIV/AIDS, Population changes and migration.
- Global Change and Sustainable Development; Climate change — adaptation and mitigation, Ecological health and biodiversity, New risk and vulnerabilities, Sustainable land, agriculture and natural resources management, Green economy.
- Science, Technology, Innovation and Society; Science, technology and innovation, Sustainable energy futures, Sustainable urban futures, Sustainable housing and construction.
Collectively, these thematic clusters define the programme space within which the UN University undertakes its academic activities. Some key perspectives (such as gender equality, human rights and sustainability) pervade all aspects of the UN University’s work.
Institutes and programmes
The academic work of the United Nations University is carried out by a global system of research and training institutes and programmes.
- UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies in Bruges, Belgium
- UNU Institute for Environment and Human Security in Bonn, Germany
- UNU Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES) in Dresden, Germany
- UNU Institute of Advanced Studies in Yokohama, Japan (will be merged with UNU –ISP)
- UNU International Institute for Global Health in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- UNU Institute on Computing and Society (UNU-CS) in Macao, China
- UNU Institute for Natural Resources in Africa in Accra, Ghana
- UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP) in Tokyo, Japan
- UNU Maastricht Economic and Social Research and Training Institute on Innovation and Technology in Maastricht, Netherlands
- UNU Institute for Water, Environment and Health(UNU-INWEH) in Hamilton, Canada
- UNU Institute – World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) in Helsinki, Finland
- United Nations University International Institute for Software Technology (UNU-IIST)) in Macao, China
- UNU Programme for Biotechnology in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNU-BIOLAC) in Caracas, Venezuela
- UNU Food and Nutrition Programme for Human and Social Development (UNU-FNP) in Ithaca, United States
- UNU Fisheries Training Programme (UNU-FTP) in Reykjavik, Iceland
- UNU Geothermal Training Programme (UNU-GTP) in Reykjavik, Iceland
- UNU Land Restoration Training Programme (UNU-LRT) in Reykjavik, Iceland
- United Nations University, International Gender Equality Studies Training Programme, UNU – GEST, Post Graduate Diploma, Reikjavik, Iceland.
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