United Nations University
|Type||Research university, Think tank|
|Founder||United Nations General Assembly|
|Budget||$111.1 million (2017–18)|
|Rector||Dr. David M. Malone|
The United Nations University (国際連合大学, Kokusai Rengō Daigaku) (UNU) is the academic and research arm of the United Nations. Headquartered in Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan, with diplomatic status as a U.N. institution, its mission is to help resolve global issues related to human development and welfare through collaborative research and education.
In 1969, U.N. Secretary-General U Thant proposed "the establishment of a United Nations university, truly international and devoted to the Charter objectives of peace and progress". Following three annual sessions discussing the matter, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) approved the founding of the United Nations University in December 1972. Tokyo was chosen as its main location due to the Japanese government's commitment of $100 million to the UNU endowment fund.
Since 2010, UNU has been authorized by the UNGA to grant degrees, offering several master's and doctoral programs. It also facilitates the U.N.'s engagement with academic institutions and policymakers around the world.
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 12 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 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.
In 2014 UNU-MERIT, in collaboration with Maastricht University, started to grant a double-degree Master of Science in Public Policy and Human Development. In 2018, the programme was re-accredited by the Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) and received the official EAPAA accreditation by the European Association for Public Administration Accreditation.
The university has several campuses spread over five continents. Its headquarters are located at the UNU Centre in Tokyo, Japan.
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 Institutes, Operating Units, and Programmes located in more than 12 countries around the world.
- Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS) in Bruges, Belgium
- Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) in Bonn, Germany
- Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-FLORES) in Dresden, Germany
- Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS) in Yokohama, Japan
- International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Institute on Computing and Society (UNU-CS) in Macau, China
- Institute for Natural Resources in Africa (UNU-INRA) in Accra, Ghana
- Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP) in Tokyo, Japan
- Maastricht Economic and Social Research and Training Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT) in Maastricht, The Netherlands
- Institute for Water, Environment and Health (UNU-INWEH) in Hamilton, Canada
- World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) in Helsinki, Finland
- Programme for Biotechnology in Latin America and the Caribbean (UNU-BIOLAC) in Caracas, Venezuela
- Food and Nutrition Programme for Human and Social Development (UNU-FNP) in Ithaca, United States
- Fisheries Training Programme (UNU-FTP) in Reykjavik, Iceland
- Geothermal Training Programme (UNU-GTP) in Reykjavik, Iceland
- Land Restoration Training Programme (UNU-LRT) in Reykjavik, Iceland
- International Gender Equality Studies Training Programme (UNU-GEST) in Reykjavik, Iceland
- International Institute for Software Technology (UNU-IIST)) in Macau, China (was closed in 2012, later gave origin to UNU-EGOV in 2014 and UNU-CS in 2016)
- Akino Memorial Research Fellowship
- United Nations Institute for Training and Research
- United Nations University Press
- University for Peace
- World Maritime University
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