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United Nations Academic Impact

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United Nations Academic Impact

UN Academic Impact
Abbreviation UNAI
Formation 18 November 2010
Type Framework and Mechanism
Legal status Active
Parent organization UN Department of Public Information, Outreach Division

The United Nations Academic Impact, also known by its acronym UNAI, is a United Nations initiative to align institutions of higher education, scholarship and research with the United Nations and with each other.

In the words of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: “The Academic Impact aims to generate a global movement of minds to promote a new culture of intellectual social responsibility. It is animated by a commitment to certain bedrock principles. Among them: freedom of inquiry, opinion and speech; educational opportunity for all; global citizenship; sustainability; and dialogue.”[1]

Furthermore UNAI aims to support the realization of the Millennium Development Goals focusing on the reciprocal relationship between education and sustainable development.


  • History 1
  • The 10 UNAI principles 2
  • UNAI in Action 3
  • List of participating institutions 4
  • See also 5
  • Literature 6
  • References 7


The initiative was formally launched on November 18, 2010 by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at UN Headquarters in New York. On this occasion, he outlined the purpose of UNAI:

“By sharing ideas, across borders and disciplines, we can find solutions to the interconnected problems that cause so much suffering. Climate change is not just an environmental threat; it is closely tied to poverty. Poverty is not just about jobs, it is directly related to food security. Food security has an impact on health. Health affects generations of children. Children hold the key to our future. And education can lead to progress on all these fronts.”[2]

Until now more than 700 institutions in over 100 countries and some 40 academic networks joined the initiative.

The 10 UNAI principles

Academic Impact is informed by a commitment to support and advance ten basic principles:

  1. A commitment to the principles inherent in the United Nations Charter as values that education seeks to promote and help fulfill;
  2. A commitment to human rights, among them freedom of inquiry, opinion, and speech;
  3. A commitment to educational opportunity for all people regardless of gender, race, religion or ethnicity;
  4. A commitment to the opportunity for every interested individual to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary for the pursuit of higher education;
  5. A commitment to building capacity in higher education systems across the world;
  6. A commitment to encouraging global citizenship through education;
  7. A commitment to advancing peace and conflict resolution through education;
  8. A commitment to addressing issues of poverty through education;
  9. A commitment to promoting sustainability through education;
  10. A commitment to promoting inter-cultural dialogue and understanding, and the “unlearning” of intolerance, through education.

UNAI in Action

Participating institutions are expected to show their support of one of the 10 UNAI principles by undertaking one activity per year which tangibly supports and furthers the realization of those principles. Examples include lectures, publications, online activities and especially events that promote intercultural dialogue and the international exchange of ideas. UNAI established various communication channels. In order to get in contact and intensify dialogue with academia around the world UNAI uses social media, such as Facebook[3] or for the Chinese audience, Sina.[4]

Ten UNAI members have been designated hubs for each one of the principles.

  1. Commitment to the UN Charter, J.F. Oberlin University in Japan
  2. Human rights, Benedict College, USA
  3. Education opportunity for all, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan
  4. Higher education opportunity for every interested individual, Hadassah College, Israel
  5. Capacity building in higher education systems, Handong Global University, Republic of Korea
  6. Global citizenship, Lehigh University, USA
  7. Peace and conflict resolution, University of Calcutta, India
  8. Addressing poverty, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
  9. Sustainability, Black Sea University Network, Romania
  10. Intercultural dialogue and understanding and the unlearning of intolerance, Escuela Politécnica Javeriana del Ecuador, Ecuador

List of participating institutions

For a list of participating institutions see:

See also

United Nations


Millennium Development Goals

UNAI ASPIRE Branch: East Stroudsburg HS South


For more information see the magazine UN Chronicle, Vol XLVII, Nr. 3, 2010[5]


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