Magazine article UN Chronicle

The Charter of the United Nations and the Challenges of the International Association of University Presidents

Magazine article UN Chronicle

The Charter of the United Nations and the Challenges of the International Association of University Presidents

Article excerpt


The International Association of University Presidents (IAUP) is an international association of university chief executive officers--presidents, rectors, vice-chancellors, and chancellors--from institutions around the world. A recognized non-profit charity, IAUP will celebrate its fiftieth anniversary in 2015. Every third year it holds its general assembly in a different part of the world to discuss important issues in higher education. The first of these triennial conferences was held in 1965 in England; the latest was held in 2014 in the city of Yokohama, Japan. Each triennial conference focuses on a specific theme and provides IAUP membership with an opportunity to discuss the challenges and changes that face higher education worldwide.

In addition to the triennial conference, IAUP also conducts semi-annual conferences in international locations of cultural and historical significance. These gatherings include meetings of the IAUP Executive Committee, IAUP special interest groups, commissions, task forces and IAUP Council of Senior Advisors. Semi-annual conferences often include regional meetings arranged by local universities and institutions of higher education. Since IAUP is supported by various regional university associations, its debates at semi-annual conferences are also attended by government representatives, accreditation agencies and public relations professionals. In order to promote local involvement, IAUP created Regional Councils managed by regional chairs, who volunteer to provide leadership, representing IAUP in their home regions. These distinguished educators engage college rectors, vice-chancellors, chancellors and presidents in service to the mission and purposes of IAUP in their part of the world.

The primary purpose of IAUP is to strengthen the international mission and quality of higher education worldwide. IAUP offers a regular forum for higher education leaders and institutions to identify and discuss in a global and cross-cultural context the major issues and challenges facing institutions of higher learning today. Currently, there are more than 350 registered members from 77 countries who gather to discuss various issues in academia globally and conduct activities to promote peace and international understanding through education. Our goals include providing a worldwide vision of higher education, promoting academic exchange and developing effective networking and collaboration among university leaders.


Since the goals of global education clearly resonate with the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, IAUP has been working very closely with the Organization, its programmes and specialized agencies. For example, IAUP and the United Nations work together on the Commission on Disarmament Education, Conflict Resolution and Peace. IAUP is the only external organization to manage this joint commission with the United Nations, and commission delegates are appointed by IAUP President. IAUP was also instrumental in creating the Year of Peace at the United Nations and is recognized annually at the United Nations Day of Peace activities. The Commission works with United Nations offices dedicated to peace, disarmament and conflict resolution in order to further their objectives.

Another important joint programme is the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI). This is a global initiative that aligns institutions of higher education with the United Nations in realizing the goals of the Organization through activities and research in a shared culture of intellectual social responsibility. There are 10 basic principles to be supported and advanced by the commitment of member universities (see next page).

As of August 2014, the number of UNAI member institutions is approximately 1,000. I am frankly amazed at the number of participating colleges and universities. …

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