United Nations University


The United Nations University (UNU) is a global think tank and postgraduate teaching organization headquartered in Japan.

The mission of the UN University is to contribute, through collaborative research and education, to efforts to resolve the pressing global problems of human survival, development and welfare that are the concern of the United Nations, its Peoples and Member States.

In carrying out this mission, the UN University works with leading universities and research institutes in UN Member States, functioning as a bridge between the international academic community and the United Nations system.

Through postgraduate teaching activities, UNU contributes to capacity building, particularly in developing countries.

The Rector is the chief academic and administrative officer, with overall responsibility for the direction, organization, administration and programmes of the University. The Rector holds the rank of UN Under-Secretary-General.

The UNU Council is responsible for devising the principles and policies that govern the University’s operations, and for considering and approving the budget and work programme.

The University is comprised of 13 institutes and programmes located in 12 countries each with its own Director, advisory board and staff.

As part of the UN family of organizations, the University maintains close working relationships with other UN agencies, programmes, commissions, funds and convention secretariats. In order to enhance these collaborations, two liaison offices are maintained at the UN Secretariat in New York and at UNESCO in Paris.

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Key staff:

Dr David M. Malone

Dr David M. Malone

 Rector of the United Nations University; 
 Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Canada

Prof. Taikan Oki

Prof. Taikan Oki

 Senior Vice-Rector, United Nations University; 
 Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations Japan

Prof. Jakob Rhyner

Prof. Jakob Rhyner

 Vice-Rector in Europe, United Nations University


Key facts:

- In 2012, there were 265 research and study projects; 133 of those projects were conducted primarily in developing countries. 84 projects were new, 107 were ongoing, and 74 were completed.

- 146 training courses were held, and were attended by over 5,580 students worldwide. 110 courses were held in developing countries.

- 679 people were employed at UNU in 2012. 287 women, 392 men and 254 people of the total are from developing countries.

- 54 people attended UNU postgraduate programmes in 2012. 30 woman, 24 men and 26 of the total from developing countries.