digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















United Nations University
Abbreviation UNU
Formation 1973
Legal status
Headquarters Tokyo, Japan
David M. Malone
Website www.unu.edu
United Nations University in Tokyo

The United Nations University (国際連合大学 Kokusairengōdaigaku?), (UNU), established in 1973, is the academic and research arm of the United Nations. It is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, with diplomatic status as a UN institution. Since 2010, UNU has been authorized by the UN 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[edit]

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, Dr. David M. Malone being the current Rector since March 2013.

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.[1] The creation of the United Nations University was set in motion by Secretary-General U Thant in 1969.[2]

UNU Institutes and Vice-Rectorate[edit]

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[edit]

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.”[3]

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.[4]


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:

  1. 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,
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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[edit]

The academic work of the United Nations University is carried out by a global system of research and training institutes and programmes.




  1. ^ http://treaties.un.org/Pages/showDetails.aspx?objid=0800000280102344
  2. ^ United Nations General Assembly Session 24 Resolution 2573. International university A/RES/2573(XXIV) 13 December 1969. Retrieved 2008-05-02.
  3. ^ http://unu.edu/about/charter#ART-1
  4. ^ http://isp.unu.edu/about/jobs/2013/programme_administrative_consultant.html[dead link]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Video clips[edit]

Coordinates: 35°39′45″N 139°42′30″E / 35.66237°N 139.70836°E / 35.66237; 139.70836

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_University — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

67 news items

Fox News

Fox News
Fri, 01 Aug 2014 03:41:15 -0700

Richard Falk, the notorious former United Nations human rights official who was widely castigated for his anti-Semitic statements and aggressively anti-Israeli stance before finally leaving office in May, is at it again. Falk, formerly the U.N. special ...

Cornell Chronicle

Cornell Chronicle
Fri, 01 Aug 2014 07:37:30 -0700

... International Development Research Centre, Egypt; David M. Malone, undersecretary-general of the United Nations and rector of United Nations University, Japan; and Rohinton Medhora, president, Centre for International Governance Innovation, Canada.

Voice of America (blog)

Voice of America (blog)
Fri, 01 Aug 2014 09:03:38 -0700

E-waste is one of them. Today's tech-addicted world produces about 50 tons of e-waste every year, according to the United Nations University, a UN think tank. That ranges from cellphones to major appliances – anything with a plug, cartridge or battery.
Chicago Tribune
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 19:01:51 -0700

When Genevieve Liu lost her dad, pediatric surgeon Donald Liu, she immediately knew she needed to help other kids who suffered a similar loss. Donald Liu drowned on Aug. 5, 2012, while successfully rescuing two boys from a undertow in Lake Michigan.
New Zealand Doctor Online
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 17:45:00 -0700

Patients and healthcare professionals will benefit from greater access to an innovative intravenous iron preparation that is cost effective and substantially faster to administer, with the listing of Ferinject® (ferric carboxymaltose) on the Hospital ...
Tower Timberjay News
Wed, 30 Jul 2014 15:22:04 -0700

According to the United Nations University (Sept. 17, 2009), “A ton of used mobile phones ... - or approximately 6,000 handsets (a tiny fraction of today's 1 billion annual production) - contains about 3.5 kilograms of silver, 340 grams of gold, 140 ...
Tue, 29 Jul 2014 00:08:11 -0700

What's more interesting is the results of the survey conducted by The United Nations University Merit program in 2010, which had over 58,000 self-selected Wikipedians from 22 language editions in 231 countries respond. According to this report the ...
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 07:48:45 -0700

... Governor of the Bank of Japan Haruhiko Kuroda and the President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Akihiko Tanaka, along with representatives of United Nations agencies and country offices at the United Nations University in Tokyo.

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Talk About United Nations University

You can talk about United Nations University with people all over the world in our discussions.

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!