Activities & Events

In this particular section of our portal, you will not only learn about past and upcoming events, but also about our specific areas of activities and concrete ways how to engage!

Our activities at a glance:

Current and upcoming activities and events:

Past activites and events:


How to engage: You can discuss with us new ideas and participate in one of our initiatives. Check for our upcoming activities or send us an email!


With UNSAnet, we offered a web-based social community platform for academics and practitioners interested in engaging in a virtual dialogue on UN Studies.

We are planning to this part of the website into a state-of-the-art multistakeholder UN expert platform; therefore, this part of the website will become inactive.

Our Online Community enabled members to:


UNSAnet Services. As a member of our Online Community, you are entitled to access the UNSAnet and use all of its services (see our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy); moreover, you will receive our newsletter. You can always opt out our newsletter services or cancel your memberships, which leads to the dissolution of your Online Community account including all profile information.

Our Services in detail / our features:



Current & Upcoming

JIOS logo

Journal of International Organizations Studies

One of main projects is the Journal of International Organization Studies.  We are calling for papers as well as for IO specialists, including practitioners, to act as reviewer for the Journal of International Organizations Studies. If you are interested in serving as a reviewer for JIOS, please contact the Editors at editors(at) and send your CV with details of your field of specialisation.

For more information please visit the JIOS homepage:

UNSA at the ACUNS 2014 Annual Meeting in Istanbul

For more information about the UNSA presence at the ACUNS AM, please click here or visit the ACUNS conference website at:


UNSA at the ACUNS 2015 Annual Meeting

Peace Care

Mindfulness in Peace Care

A Project by the UN Studies Association (UNSA)

We aim to develop a mindfulness-based training for civilian personnel involved in peace and development work to foster and increase:

Personal development and skills („emotional and social intelligence")


What is Mindfulness and how does it work?

Being mindful means to be able to keep our mind focused on the present moment. Beyond being a practical faculty of our consciousness (present-moment awareness), mindfulness can be described as an attitude towards ourselves and our life. This posture includes being open to all experiences that we make such as bodily sensations, emotions and thoughts. Meeting experiences - pleasant as well as unpleasant - in a non-judgmental, accepting manner means to cultivate a conscious, non-reactive way of experiencing things.

Mindfulness-trainings have manifold therapeutic effects such as it well-being, changing unwholesome patterns of thinking and of behavior. The suggested mindfulness-training is a 6-week group training based on diverse techniques of meditation (bodyscan, breathing meditation, observation of thoughts). These techniques are combined with cognitive elements (e.g. how to deal with the "monkey mind," how to cope with strong emotions).


How does peace work benefit from Mindfulness?

  • Prevention: Field workers are prepared prior to their deployment (to cope with stressful situations and other challenges in the field).
  • In the field: Mindfulness as an approach to conflict mediation and negotiation
  • Post-deployment: Supporting field workers coping with experiences, depression, burnout


Call for partners and interested stakeholders!

...Interested in collaborating?

...Any ideas and suggestions on who could benefit from this training?

...Any ideas on how to integrate mindfulness as a modular training in existing educational programs / trainings for civilian peace personnel?

Please contact us at: workinggroup (at)


Photo Credit:  © willpower -


UNSA at the ACUNS 2013 AM

UNSA presented at the ACUNS AM:

Title: Building a future for UN Studies

The paper builds on the perceived shortcomings and diverse expectations vis-à-vis the field of UN Studies, according to a poll conducted among UNSA and ACUNS members. This year's meeting offers an excellent opportunity to discuss the poll*s findings with an expert audience that wishes to reflect about their own UN research and teaching experiences, to gain a better understanding of the larger context, and to identify new approaches, methods, topics - and possible key "connectors" to improve overall cohesion of a yet scattered field.

Key questions include: How do we explain the rather poor knowledge about UN Studies, and what can we do about it? Shall we advocate more UN Studies programs? What lead role can ACUNS and UNSA take?

The poll shows that the problems UNSA identified five years ago are still pressing, such as the predominance of Western views. UN Studies programs, albeit they exist, are not well known. At least some of the topics and approaches that were marked as being underdeveloped have, in fact, been addressed in the ACUNS context, in GG or JIOS. The author will make a strong case in favor of further raising awareness of UN Studies. Instead of overly focusing on institutionalization (i.e. UN study programs), she pleads for intensified network-building to further advance conceptual work.

The ACUNS Vienna conference series has revealed an enormous richness of views, approaches, and contents - a huge potential worth tapping into. The author ultimately aims to discuss these and other possible roads for action with the audience and co-presenters.


UNSA at the ACUNS 2014 AM


UNSA attended the 2014 ACUNS annual meeting in Istanbul, June 19 - 21, 2014.

"Fostering innovation and excellence in UN Studies"

The presentation aimed at clarifying what constitutes innovative and excellent UN research and teaching.


The field of UN-focused research and teaching continues to remain a black box, with no agreed definition of its boundaries, stand-alone attributes and conceptual foundation. ACUNS and UNSA have encouraged discussion and reflection about this unique field of study, resulting in an overwhelming account of (topical) interests, views, approaches, methods, theories, opinions and experiences from practice. This diversity is reflective of the complex nature of both the UN system and the scattered UN expert community.

In the attempt to define standards and identify commonalities, UNSA struggled to classify truly innovative and excellent UN research and teaching- by which we mean s) work that introduces new views, theories, methods and other novelties, to be translated into new knowledge products and transferred to practice; and b) work of high-quality and usability.

As part of a larger UNSA initiative to foster UN expert knowledge, the workshop panel aimed to create a joint understanding of innovation and excellence in UN Studies. We discussed as to what extent the field has moved forward, as well as possible restraints and potentials, next to concrete criteria.

Download the presentation here.

Photo credit: © Sergey Nivens -

RAUN 2013-2014 Session in Prague

By Billy Batware

The first session of 2013-2014 Regional Academy on the United Nations was a success.

43 good minded young scholars from 13 countries (Austria, Australia, Czech Republic, Hungary, France, Germany, Lithuenia, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Slovakia,  Ukraine, and USA) gathered in Prague and will be working on challenging project topics throughout the year including:





  • Can Green Energy really solve the energy needs?
  • Organized crime and state responsibility
  • What UN do about culturally sanctioned violence against women?
  • Refugees and asylum policies
  • Trafficking of men
  • How was the Arms Trade Treaty negotiated?
  • The role of arms manufacturers and the civil society
  • How will SDGs be determined?
  • What should be done about North Korea?
  • How to overcome the Security Council deadlock in Responsibility to Protect situations?
  • Modern slavery.

Presentations of the outcome of these projects will take place at the UN HQ in Vienna on January 17, 2014.

2012 ACUNS Conference UN Vienna

UN Agencies connecting with Academics and the Civil Society

January 11 -13, 2012 at the UN Office in Vienna

- a conference of the  Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) in cooperation with the University of Vienna, Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, University of Graz, Economic University of Prague, University of Szeged, United Nations Association Hungary, United Nations Association Czech Republic, Austrian Institute for International Affairs, Academic Forum for Foreign Affairs, Transparency International, Danube Secretariat.

This conference was a follow-up of the conference on Connecting UN Practitioners and Academics in Vienna in February 2011. For a summary of the 2011 event, please click here.

This year's three-day event was attended by over 300 academics and UN practitioners, including a remarkable number of students. They discussed various topics of primary concern to UN agencies in Vienna, presented teaching materials, and introduced networking initiatives. Download the program here.

Read our in-depth reports provided by our young team of rapporteurs!

On Friday, January 13, the Young Scholars' Conference marked  the inauguration of the UN Regional Academy, a tri-national effort (Austria, Czech Republic and Hungary), aiming at providing graduate and post-graduate students with the opportunity to further their understanding of the UN and its activity. Students presented papers focusing on the following themes:

  • Energy: access for all
  • Nuclear security and global governance
  • Global  zero (complete nuclear disarmament: fiction or reality)
  • Green economy and development
  • Corruption
  • Education and public awareness.



ACUNS 2012 Conference Report

The conference was a major success, with more than 300 interested parties from the region, the Balkans, Europe, Africa, and North America registering and participating. General information about the conference.

On this site, you will find all reports provided by our young rapporteurs - Thanks to all of you for your excellent work. These in-depth reports are not only  helpful for all those who wish to know what was discussed, and to what end. They also serve as food for thought for our follow-up discussion with panelists and rapporteurs that has been launched in the UNSAnet's discussion forum.

Register now and join the debate!



January 11, 2012


Energy Access for All

Global Zero: Reality or Fiction?

  • Simon Tauer

Nuclear Security and Global Governance

Green Economy and Development

Lecture by Dr. Abiodun Williams at the Diplomatic Academy

January 12, 2012


Effective Measures to Fight Corruption

Teaching Materials and E-Learning Platforms I + II

International Networks

January 13, 2012


Young Scholars Conference

Young Scholars Conference - ACUNS Award - UN Career Opportunities

UN Regional Academy


2011 Conference on Connecting Academics and Practitioners in Vienna

Connecting Academics and UN Practitioners –

A Unique Encounter at the UN Vienna

28 February and 1 March, 2011

at the Vienna International Centre, Vienna, Austria

A project of  the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS)  and UNSA

in cooperation with

the UNIS-Vienna, CTBTO, UNEP-Vienna, UNODC, UN Office of Outer Space Affairs, Foreign Policy and United Nations Association-Austria, Academic Forum Austria, Austrian Institute for International Affairs, Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, UN Studies Association, UNA-Czech Republic, UNA-Hungary, UNA-Serbia, UNA-Slovenia, ASO-Ljubljana, Center for Non-Proliferation Studies (Monterey, USA), Boltzman Institute for Human Rights, Economic University of Prague, Sigmund Freud Private University, University of Belgrade, University of Vienna Law School, Webster University.


Regarding the United Nations, we have two kinds of experts: academics and UN practitioners. Although both are supposed to posess expert knowledge about the UN, academics' and practitioners' knowledge about the UN differs in many regards.

As for example, practitioners possess more implicit knowledge about the world institution - more of a "know-how" they have obtained while working at the UN. Academics mostly have learned from the "outside" about the UN, via textbooks and other learning material. Their knowledge is explicit in that it can be put into words, expressed in concepts and theories. Despite a growing exchange between UN practitioners and academia, the gap between practitioners' know-how and what is taught in universities is still patent. This includes world views regarding the UN, problem definitions, terminology and other fundamental aspects.

This conference aspires to contribute to bridging the divide between the two dimensions of UN expertise in bringing together UN-related academics and practitioners. Therefore, academics have the opportunity to listen to first-hand reports of UN practitioners on actual developments in specific areas of UN policy (justice and rule of law, outer space, environment and disarmament). Based on these insiders' views, didactic and other questions related to teaching the UN will be discussed. Participants are encouraged to share their teaching experiences, teaching material and other resources.


New! Conference Summary New! New! New!

Please click here for a global summary of the conference, detailed panel reports, and presentations.

Conference Program and Guidelines for Participants

Conference Flyer

Download flyer here.

Conference Flyer

Conference Information

Guidelines for Participants


UN Officie at Vienna,

Vienna International Centre (VIC)
Wagramer Strasse 5
1400 Vienna

Conference Rooms: Multimedia Room G0545, and Briefing Room G0542. Both are located in Tower G, 5th floor.


How to Reach the UN Vienna International Centre (VIC)?

Take the underground line U1 in the direction of Leopoldau until you reach Kaisermühlen/Vienna International Centre and then follow the signs to Gate 1 of the VIC, the main entrance. The VIC is also easy to reach by car via the A22 motorway or from the city centre via the Reichsbrücke. Buses may park in the side street off Wagramer Strasse and in the car park beside Gate 2. The VIC is accessible to people with disabilities.

For more Information on the VIC click here.


Registration at the VIC

Participants will have to register at the entrance of the VIC (on each conference day, February 28, and March 1). Please make sure to arrive timely since you will have to pass a security check and the registration procedure does require some time.

After having registered please ask the UNIS desk or the information desk at the entrance area, how to find the conference rooms (Multimedia Room G0545, Tower G, 5th floor).

Registration Location and Time: 9:00a.m. - 10.00a.m, Gate 1, VIC

Required documents: valid ID or passport (with photo)

Please note that once you have left the VIC building with your day-pass you cannot re-enter.


Participation Fees and Catering

The conference participation is free. However, all meals will be at own expense. Lunch and coffee will be taken at the VIC cafeteria.


Conference Purpose and Format

The conference is inspired by the idea to advance UN research and teaching and to do this by bringing together academics and practitioners. In order to trigger active engagement and joint thinking, an innovative conference format is employed that seeks to involve both practitioners and academics into discussion:

First, two sessions of colloquia are scheduled, where practitioners are invited to share all kinds of knowledge products which are generated at the UN and probably are not known in public  such as first-hand reports, studies, publications and other material with the audience. In each session, two colloquia will run in parallel.

These sessions will provide a basis for the following open discussion rounds. In these rounds, researchers, teachers and practitioners are called upon to share their own views, experiences and visions. Discussants are called to prepare for brief introductory statements or presentations that will serve as food for thought for further brainstorming regarding the following aspects of teaching the UN: How to communicate UN concepts and issues to the next generation? How to improve relations between academia and UN organizations? How can practitioners' knowledge be brought into the classroom? How to establish a sustainable network of engaged teachers and  practitioners? How fo foster exchange between these parties?

   Please note that we will close the speakers' list after the first ten incoming applications for  presentations.


How to Participate

With respect to the colloquia-sessions, participants will be able to discuss with panelists. As to the joint discussion sessions, participants are invited to hold short presentations from 5-10 minutes. If you are interested in holding such a "lightening talk", please send us an email with your name, the discussion session, and the topic you would like to speak about.


Conference Program

Conference Program

Conference on Connecting Academics and UN Practitioners


February 28, 2011 - Introduction and Colloquia


9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.


VIC, Gate 1

10:00 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.


Location: M 1

Welcome remarks

  • Sonja Wintersberger (Officer-in-Charge UNIS-Vienna)
  • Christer Jönsson (Chair of the Board of Directors of ACUNS)
  • Tibor Toth (Executive Secretary, CTBTO Preparatory Commission)
  • Hans Winkler (Director, Diplomatic Academy Vienna)
  • Maher Nasser (Director, Outreach Division, UNDPI)

 10:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m. 

 UN Colloquia - Session I

Location: M1

The Rule of Law and Justice

Moderator: Gorazd Mesko (University of Maribor, Slovenia)


12:45 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.

lunch break

VIC Cafeteria

1:45 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.

UN Colloquia Session II

Location: Multimedia Room G0545

Natural Resources and Security: Precautionary Dimensions 

Moderator: Matthias Jurek (UNEP)


  • Karin Kneissl (Webster University)
  • Andjelka Mihajlov (Environmental Ambassadors, Former Minister of the Environment, Serbia)
  • Pasi Rinne (Gaia)
  • Claude Kalume Wa Mjukadi Dah Vignon


3:45 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.



4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

UN Colloquia - Session III

Location: see according session

Outer Space

Location: Briefing Room G0542

Moderator: Walter Lichem (Visiting Professor, former Austrian Ambassador)


Disarmament/Non-proliferation Education 

Location: Multimedia Room G0545

Moderator: Heinz Gaertner (Austrian Institute for International Affairs, Vienna University)


6:30 p.m.

Reception by the Austrian Foreign Ministry

 VIC Dining Room

March 1, 2011 - Joint Discussions


9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.           


VIC, Gate 1

For interested parties: Preparatory meeting of Delhi conference*


10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

Discussion Round I and II

Location: Multimedia Room G0545

Round I: How to communicate UN concepts and issues to the next generation?

Moderator: Gregory Weeks (Webster University, Vienna)


  • Jovan Kurbalija (Diplo Foundation)
  • Michael Platzer (ACUNS)
  • Roland Schmidt (Boltzmann Institute)
  • Mihaly Simai (UNA Hungary) 
  • Radim Srsen (University of Economics, Prague)
  • Dana Vyzinkarova (Youth Delegate to the UN)
  • Gregor Waldhauser (UNA Austria)

Round II: How to improve relations between academia and UN organizations? How can practitioners' knowledge be brought into the classroom? 

Moderator: Otmar Hoell (Austrian Institute of International Affairs)


  • Alistair Edgar (ACUNS, Executive Director)
  • Julia Harfensteller (UNSA)
  • Alexander Milanov (University of Vienna)
  • Joachim Müller (WMO)
  • Elena Sokova (Monterey Institute of International Studies)
  • Istvan Szilard (University of Pecs)


1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

lunch break

VIC Cafeteria

For interested parties: UNIS Special Guided Tour of the Vienna International Centre

Time and venue: Multimedia Room G0545, 1:00 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.

2:00 p.m.- 4.00 p.m.

Discussion Round III

Location: Multimedia Room G0545

Round III: How to establish a sustainable network of engaged teachers and practitioners? How to foster exchange between these parties?

Moderator: Miroslav Polzer (ASO Ljubljana) 


  • Kirsten Haack (Northumbria University) 
  • Zuzana Lehmannova (University of Economics, Prague)
  • Andraz Melansek (UNIS Vienna)


4.00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Closing Session

Location: Multimedia Room G0545

Closing Remarks

Christer Jönnson (ACUNS)

 *  During the registration a preparatory meeting for the planned India Colloquium "Justice and Security Sector Reform: Mastering Intercultural Training Skills in the Information Age" is scheduled. All interested parties are welcome to join the meeting. Time & location: 9:15 a.m., Briefing Room G0542.

Speakers Biographies

Speakers Biographies

in alphabetical order

Sandeep Chawla | Julia Harfensteller | Christer Jönsson | Karin Kneissl | Markus Kornprobst | Irmgard Marboe | Maher Nasser | Cecilia Ruthström-Ruin | Mark Shaw | Dana Vyzinkarova | Alexander Kmentt | Jean du Preez


Sandeep Chawla

Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Sandeep Chawla, Ph.D., is Director, Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs,
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). He has been Chief of Research at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) since 1994 and since then he has led the development of UNODC's research and analysis capabilities. The systematic publication of research findings, analytical studies, statistics and annual estimates of the extent of illicit drug production, trafficking and abuse, reflected in the World Drug Report, the annual Global Illicit Drug Trends publications, the Studies on Drugs and Crime series and the annual illicit crop survey reports, all occurred during this period. He is the Editor of the United Nations Bulletin on Narcotics, which is one of the oldest journals in the field, having been in continuous publication since 1949.


Julia Harfensteller Julia Harfensteller

Co-chair, UN Studies Association (UNSA)

Julia Harfensteller, PhD, is co-chair of the UN Studies Association (UNSA), an international   expert community of UN academics and practitioners that aims to foster the establishment of UN Studies as a field of studies in its own right. She has studied political science and international law at the University of Granada, Spain, and at the Free University in Berlin. Furthermore she has studied philosophy of knowledge and science at the Technical University in Berlin.



Christer Jönsson

Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Lund University, Sweden
Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Chair of the Board of Directors of ACUNS

Christer Jönsson is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Lund University, Sweden, and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. He is currently Chair of the Board of Directors of ACUNS (the Academic Council on the United Nations System). Directing the joint Lund-Stockholm research program Transdemos ("Democracy Beyond the Nation State? Transnational Actors and Global Governance"), Jönsson is co-editor of Transnational Actors in Global Governance: Patterns, Explanations, and Implications (2010). In addition to international organization, his research interests include international negotiation, diplomacy and the role of transnational networks in international cooperation. He has published numerous books, articles and book chapters and is the co-author of International Cooperation in Response to AIDS (1995), Organizing European Space (2000) and Essence of Diplomacy (2005).

Karin Kneissl

Ph.D in international law
freelance researcher and lecturer

Since she quitted the Austrian Foreign Service in autumn 1998 Karin Kneissl who holds a Ph.D in international law has been working as a freelance researcher and lecturer. The focus of her teaching and publishing encompasses the Middle East, energy issues and international law. Since 2008 she is member of the research faculty of the Vienna campus of Webster University. Furthermore, she regularly lectures at the Université Saint Joseph in Beirut, at the European Business School in Hessen/Germany, at the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and the Military Academy in Wiener Neustadt/Austria as well as the National Defence College. From 1995 to 2003 she taught Humanitarian Law, History of Diplomacy and other courses at Vienna University, Institute of Political Sciences. Since 2000 she teaches at Vienna Diplomatic Academy. Ever since 2002 she contributes comments for the Austrian radio and TV broadcaster ORF, whenever political developments in the Middle and the events in the energy market require it. Her articles are widely published in German, English and French quarterlies and monthlies. For details see below
Ms. Kneissl studied law and Arabic at Vienna University, she was a stipend at the Hebrew University Jerusalem, did a diploma in comparative European law at the University of Urbino/Italy and was Fulbright scholar at Georgetown University in Washington,D.C. She graduated from Ecole Nationale d'Administration in Paris. From 1990 to 1998 she served in the Austrian Foreign Service, where she held positions in the office of the Legal Advisor, the cabinet of the minister and the Political Section. Her assignments abroad comprise Paris, Madrid and Geneva.
Karin Kneissl is Vice-President of the Austrian Society for Politico-Military Studies, STRATEG; she was on the scientific board of the European Forum Alpbach, is an elected municipal counselor of her community Seibersdorf and holds various positions in non-profit organizations.

Markus Kornprobst 

Chair of International Relations, Diplomatic Academy of Vienna

Markus Kornprobst holds the Chair of International Relations at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. Previously, he has taught at Oxford University and University College London. His research interests encompass Diplomacy and Governance, Rhetorical Studies, Nationalism and Identity Politics, International Peace and Security, International Relations Theory, European Politics, and African Politics. His research appears in leading journals such as International Organization, the European Journal of International Relations, International Theory, International Studies Review and many more. He is the author of Irredentism in European Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2008) as well as co-editor of Arguing Global Governance (Routledge, 2010) and Metaphors of Globalization (Palgrave, 2007)



Irmgard Marboe

Associate Professor of International Law
Department of European, International and Comparative Law
University of Vienna

Irmgard Marboe is Associate Professor of International Law at the Department of European, International and Comparative Law at the Law Faculty of the University of Vienna. She studied law and languages at the University of Vienna (Austria) and at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain).
Prof. Marboe is the head of the Austrian National Point of Contact for Space Law of the European Centre for Space Law. Her publications in the area of Space Law include articles on telecommunication and space, national space legislation, European Space policy and authorisation of space activities. She is the chair of the working group on "National Space Legislation" of the Legal Subcommittee of UN Committee for the Peaceful Use of Outer Space which was established in 2008.
Other research focuses include international investment law, international arbitration, culture and religion in international law as well as Islam and international law. Her current teaching activities include courses and seminars on general international law, international economic law, international courts and tribunals, and space law.


Maher Nasser

Outreach Division
United Nations Department of Public Information

Maher Nasser has over 23 years of work experience in the United Nations System during which he has worked in various capacities in Gaza, Jerusalem, Vienna, Amman, New York, Cairo, back to Vienna and again back to New York.

Prior to assuming his current post as Director of the Outreach Division in the Department of Public Information in New York, Mr. Nasser was the Director of the United Nations Information Service in Vienna from July 2008. As Director of UNIS Vienna, Mr. Nasser was responsible for DPI's public information work in Austria, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia and for providing support and advice to UNICs in Bucharest, Prague and Warsaw. He also established and led the work of the United Nations Communications Group in Vienna.  

Mr. Nasser first joined the UN Department of Public Information in January 2006 as Director of the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Cairo. As the Director of the United Nations Information Centre in Cairo, Mr. Nasser led the work of the United Nations Communications Group in Egypt and provided support and advice to eight United Nations Information Centres in the Middle East and North Africa. To increase the delivery capacity of the United Nations information network, Mr. Nasser established and provided leadership to the United Nations Communications Group for the Arab Region to create greater coherence and impact for the United Nations communications work in the region.

Prior to joining DPI, Mr. Nasser was the Chief of the New York Liaison Office for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) from 2001. He also worked for UNRWA, based first in Vienna, from 1994 until 1996, and then from 1996 to 2001 at its Amman headquarters where he was in charge of donor liaison, representation and media relations. From 1992 to 1994, Mr. Nasser worked as an Associate Information Officer for the United Nations Drug Control Programme in Vienna (now known as UNODC). Mr. Nasser also served as UNRWA's Public Information Officer and Spokesperson in Gaza and in Jerusalem from 1987 to 1991. Prior to joining the United Nations, he worked for the Arab Thought Forum, a non-governmental organization based in Jerusalem.

From October to December 1991, Mr. Nasser was the personal assistant to Dr. Haidar Abdul Shafi, the Head of the Palestinian Negotiating Team to the Madrid Middle East Peace Conference and subsequent bilateral negotiations in Washington, D.C.

Cecilia Ruthström-Ruin

Deputy Director, Division for Treaty Affairs
Chief, Terrorism Prevention Branch,
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Ms. Cecilia Ruthström-Ruin took up the position as Chief of the Terrorism Prevention
Branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in September 2008. Prior to joining the Organization, she was a diplomat in the Swedish Foreign Service. In that function, Ms. Ruthström-Ruin served i.e. as Ambassador and Counter-Terrorism
Coordinator (2004 - 2008), as Deputy Secretary-General for the First Annual Review
Conference of the International Compact with Iraq, as Deputy Director in the Department
for European Security Policy and as Counselor in the Swedish Embassy in Tokyo. She
also served in the Prime Minister's Office in Stockholm as Deputy Secretary-General of the
Stockholm International Forum 2004: "Preventing Genocide: Threats and Responsibilities".
Ms. Ruthström-Ruin holds a PhD from the University of Lund in Sweden. Her doctoral
dissertation focused on international refugee aid and the early development of the UNHCR.
She holds a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University, New York, NY, where
she studied as a Fulbright grantee.
Ms. Ruthström-Ruin has published books and articles on refugee policies, on human rights
and on Japanese politics and society. She has held a number of positions in boards and
committees, including as member of the board of the Swedish Institute of International
Affairs, as member of the board of the Swedish Fulbright Alumni Association and as
Ministry for Foreign Affairs expert in the Swedish National Police Board.

Mark Shaw

United Nations Office on Drugs and CrimeOfficer-in-Charge of the Integrated Programme and Oversight Branch, Division for Operations

Mark Shaw joined the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in 2002, first working in the Anti-Organized Crime and Law Enforcement Unit, Anti-Trafficking Section. He was subsequently appointed Chief of the Criminal Justice Reform Unit, Rule of Law Section, Division for Operations, and then as the Inter-Regional Advisor for the Division for Operations. He is currently Officer-in-Charge of the Integrated Programme and Oversight Branch, Division for Operations responsible for programme development. Previous to the UN, he has held positions in the South African government, as Director for Monitoring and Analysis in the Ministry for Safety and Security, as well as in various research and civil societies organizations. He holds a BA Honours and a PhD in politics and has authored numerous articles, reports and two book on crime and security related issues.



Dana Vyzinkarova

Youth Delegate to the United Nations, Slovakia

Dana Vyzinkarova represents Slovakia's young people as a Youth Delegate to the United Nations. She participated in the 3rd Committee of the 65th UN General Assembly and currently negotiates youth resolution at the ECOSOC Commission for Social Development.

As a Youth Delegate in collaboration with National Youth Council, she works on bringing the United Nations closer to young people and encourages active youth participation at each level. She is at present time student of Environmental Technology and International Affairs at the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna.


Alexander Kmentt

Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organiztion, Special Assistant to the Executive Secretary

Alexander Kmentt is an Austrian diplomat with a specialization on non-proliferation and disarmament issues. He is currently on leave of absence from the Austrian Foreign Ministry and works in the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) as Special Assistant to the Executive Secretary. He will be returning to the Austrian Foreign Ministry shortly as new Director for Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. Affairs Previous disarmament responsibilities in the Austrian Foreign Ministry include Deputy Permanent Representative of Austria to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva and Deputy Director for Disarmament Affairs. During the Austrian EU Presidency in 2006, he chaired the EU Working Group on Non-Proliferation. Alexander Kmentt holds a Law Degree from the University of Graz and a Masters Degree in International Relations from Cambridge University, UK.


Jean du Preez

Chief of External Relations and International Cooperation at the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Vienna

Jean du Preez is Chief of External Relations and International Cooperation at the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization (Preparatory Commission) in Vienna.  He is a former professor for nonproliferation studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies where he also directed the Nuclear Nonproliferation and Arms Control Project at the Institute's James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. Before joining the Monterey Institute in 2002, Mr du Preez was a South African diplomat for 17 years. He dealt with disarmament, non-proliferation and arms control matters for more than ten years of his foreign service career and also served on the South African Council for the Non-proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction - the South African national authority for implementing the country's international nonproliferation obligations. He represented his country at the General Assembly First Committee on Disarmament, numerous international arms control conferences, including the 1995 and 2000 NPT Review Conferences and their preparatory committee meetings, the 2001 UN Conference on Small Arms and Light Weapons, the UN Expert Panel on Missiles, meetings of the Missile Technology Control Regime and conferences of the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention. He was also closely involved in the deliberations of the New Agenda Coalition countries and the Non-Aligned Movement. Mr du Preez is also a member of the International Panel on Fissile Material.

Conference Summaries and Presentations


Conference on Connecting Academics and Practitioners

Summaries and Presentations


--> general conference information

You can choose between various formats of conference documentation:

For a detailed conference summary, please click here.

For video recorded panel presentations, please cklick here.

If you are interested in the panel discussions, please find brief summaries and panel presentations below. Other than that ACUNS will offer printed conference proceedings that will be published by the Diplomatic Academy Vienna.

Welcome Remarks

  • Sonja Wintersberger (Officer-in-Charge UNIS-Vienna)
  • Christer Jönsson (Chair of the Board of Directors of ACUNS)
  • Tibor Toth (Executive Secretary, CTBTO Preparatory Commission)
  • Hans Winkler (Director, Diplomatic Academy Vienna)
  • Maher Nasser (Director, Outreach Division, UNDPI)



Ms Wintersberger opened the conference with a presentation about the activities of UNIS.

Mr Jönsson presented the major problem this conference deals with, through a quote by Yogi Berra: „In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But, in practice, there is." Academics and practitioners want intensified interaction, he said, but realization is very difficult. Therefore, it would be necessary to provide a platform. Besides this conference, the Journal of Global Governance issued by ACUNS would act as one.

Mr Toth introduced the work of the CTBTO and argued that it gives clear evidence that multilateralism works. The test ban treaty shows that cooperation can really work.

Mr Winkler emphasized the demand for studying international relations: „We need to educate and prepare young people for a complex world". 80% of the students of the Diplomatic Academy work as interns in the UN. The academy itself acts as a hub for theory and practice.

Mr Nasser described the work of the UN Academic Impact Initiative that has been launched recently. He also talked about the Global Creative Forum, a platform for exchange with the entertainment industry. Good Will Ambassadors that are popular among the youth can have a tremendous impact in terms of raising awareness.

Presentation Mr Nasser

Mr Nasser described the work of the UN Academic Impact Initiative that has been launched recently. He also talked about the Global Creative Forum, a platform for exchange with the entertainment industry. Good Will Ambassadors that are popular among the youth can have a tremendous impact in terms of raising awareness.

Mr Nanan represented the corporate world as an experienced manager of a multinational company in India. He presented the absent Mr. B.K. Modi, his Global University project and the Spice Foundation. Their aim is to educate peace leaders through a holistic educational approach.

Rapporteur: Matthias Pázmándy



Colloquium I: The Rule of Law and Justice

Moderator: Gorazd Mesko (University of Maribor, Slovenia)


Mr Mesko opened the panel pointing out to the internationalization of knowledge. The slogan "Publish in English or perish" summarizes this recent development, besides that one has to keep in mind different academic traditions, methods and approaches. At the same time he emphasized the internationalization of learning and teaching. Today's academics have to be real supermen or superwomen regarding the huge expectations they are facing. Even more new challenges have come up due to the implementation of the Bologna process. "Giving recipes for societal problems already yesterday" - that is the typical demand towards researchers.

Mr Chawla said that he has been skating on thin ice between being academic and a bureaucrat throughout his whole career. He summarized his work as being an honest broker of data using academic and his agency's own resources. Most of this is based on governmental data, and any conclusions can be vetoed by the member states. "The minute you publish you step out of the intergovernmental communication." It is very problematic to put results up to public scrutiny - this process is more powerful but at the same time more dangerous.

Mr Munro presented the new training approach of the UNODC. It focuses on computer-based training: 70 e-learning centres were established, providing a standardized syllabus in 36 languages. The major advantage is the elimination of the middleman, which used to be the interpreter. The system delivers the content directly without any filter to the students. The courses are localized and the imagery will relate to the region. Furthermore, students can learn at their own pace and more experienced staff doesn't get discouraged by the presence of their younger colleagues to ask questions.

Ms Ruthström-Ruin explained the work of the terrorism prevention branch of the UNODC. Their mandate mainly consists of legal assistance with the focus on prosecutors and judges. The research is very limited. She outlined the advantages of their own tailor-made e-learning program: cost effectiveness, worldwide audience, flexibility, continuous interaction and new networks.


Presentation Ms Ruthström-Ruin

Mr Shaw analysed today's situation by saying that the UN System is changing rapidly. It is "not good enough to simply deliver a scattered set of programs - a strategic approach is necessary." As one of the key challenges he saw the need that academia has to assess the success of UN programs; for instance, through threat assessments. The link between academic communities and programmatic work has to be fostered.

In the following discussion the question of mobile delivery was raised. Future developments depend on financial resources. Internships (also in field offices) are offered by the UNODC, however, no fellowships exist.

Rapporteurs: Sara Khalil, Amira Hetaba, Matthias Pazmandy



Colloquium II: Natural Resources and Security: Precautionary Dimensions

Moderator: Matthias Jurek (UNEP)


  • Matthias Jurek (UNEP)
  • Karin Kneissl (Webster University)
  • Andjelka Mihajlov (Environmental Ambassadors, Former Minister of the Environment of Serbia)
  • Pasi Rinne (Gaia)
  • Claude Kalume wa Mukadi Dah Vignon (Prince of Abomey; Bell Amani)

Following a brief introduction by Mr Jurek, Mr Mukadi Dah Vignon gave an overview of the main resources in Africa and that they are both a blessing and a curse. After mentioning renewable (water) and non-renewable (oil and diamonds) resources, he went on to the role of the humans, which should not be forgotten in this context, as they suffer from the many conflicts arising out of the exploitation of resources. His project "Bell-Amani", which means bell of peace, tries to give people hope for peace.

Mr Jurek introduced ENVSEC, an environment and security initiative with a regional approach (Central Asia, South Eastern Europe, Southern Caucasus and Eastern Europe). They identify and secure environmental hotspots and initiate national and regional consultation and programmes together with experts, governments, various institutions and the public. One of the problems they deal with are mines in the Western Balkans, which pose a serious threat to the environment if not properly closed.


Presentation Mr Jurek

Ms Kneissl emphasized the topic of the difficulties of multilateral cooperation especially concerning energy. As a lawyer she elaborated on the difference of property and possession; regarding oil and gas the latter is usually of greater importance as the physical access is decisive for gaining power over the resource in question. To summarize the political and economic situation, she quoted a former Saudi oil minister: "Oil alliances are stronger than catholic marriages!"

Mr Rinne explained the importance of increasing world wide knowledge about natural disasters and reducing the number of casualties especially in developing countries. As a possible solution to keep ecosystems intact he mentioned the extraordinary role of forests and grasslands to help to prevent soil erosion and that coastal vegetation, coral reefs and sand dunes can offer protection against sea-borne hazards. He gave various examples for hotspots like the Arctic, which attracts more and more economic interest due to its vast gas an oil resources.


Presentation Mr Rinne

Ms Mihajlov concentrated on the situation on the Balkan and the need for regional agreements and cooperation. She mentioned the post conflict clean-up from 1999 to 2002 and the environmental security initiative. The current situation in Serbia for academics is rather difficult, because of the very limited financial resources and the ongoing change of the education system. Cooperation, research and development and "transformative education" are needed to connect academics and UN practitioners.


Presentation Ms Mihajlov

Rapporteurs: Amira Hetaba and Sara Khalil



Colloquium III: Disarmament/Non-proliferation Education 

Moderator: Heinz Gaertner (Austrian Institute for International Affairs, Vienna University)


Mr Kmentt explained that the CTBTO intends to achieve an universal ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The special characteristics of the Treaty is the verification system, consisting of the an international monitoring system, the data centre and on site inspections. He describes the CTBT as a "strong lifesign of multilateralism" and sees it as a bridge between science and technology. He appealed to the experts in this field to combine theory and practical knowledge and to raise awareness amongst the general public.


Presentation Mr Kmentt

Mr Du Preez calls the time until 2008/09 "the dark ages" of non-proliferation and disarmament. Since he sees the CTBT as a "most effective measure to promote peace and security", underlines the importance of education in this field. To attain this, he suggest using multimedia and social networking in addition to internships, fellowships and simulation exercises, combined with a multidisciplinary curriculum. "The world's peace and security is in the hands of the next generation."

Mr Kornprobst talked about a paradigm shift in education and identified three key claims. The first is, that today we live in a complex world difficult to understand, with a familiar past and an unfamiliar future. This results further in a two-fold demand: divided in "zooming out", which means acquiring a comprehensive overview combined with considering a problem from different angles, and "zooming in", implicating detailed and special knowledge. The third claim is that the current education landscape is not able to provide for these mentioned challenges.

Ms Sokova presented the James Martin Centre for Non-proliferation Studies (CNS) and mentioned inter alia a new master programme in Weapons of Mass Destruction, Non-proliferation and Terrorism Studies. She underlined that students at CNS are taught "how to think, and not what to think." She also introduced the new Vienna Centre for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, which is to be a platform for connecting academics, students and professionals from this field and which she will be the head of.

Presentation Ms Sokova

Ms Braunegger-Gülich unfortunately could not attend the conference. Please view her presentation that was intended to be held:

Presentation Ms Braunegger-Guelich

Rapporteurs: Angelika Aumann & Simone Schaller



Colloquium IV: Outer Space

Moderator: Walter Lichem (Visiting Professor, former Austrian Ambassador)


This discussion round was devoted to "Outer space affairs" with its different dimensions. Sergei Chernikov , Officer of UNOOSA, presented the history, mission, structure, work and achievements of United Nations Office for Outer space affairs, whereas Prof. Irgmard Marboe highlighted political and especially juristic dimensions of outer space activities.


Presentation Ms Marboe

The involvement and activities of UN concerning outer space began with resolution (1348) of the General Assembly in 1958. This resolution defines that the space activities are considered to be only for peaceful purposes and only for the benefit of mankind. Committee on the peaceful uses of outer space (COPUOS) was established through the same resolution which is supposed to serve as a platform for multilateral cooperation to assure compliance of outer space activities of member states with the definition of UN resolution. The following Resolution (1472), which was ratified in 1959, reaffirmed the role of COPUOS and focused on several legal problems, which may arise from the exploration of outer space. COPUOS comprises 70 member states and 28 intergovernmental and non-governmental Organisations with observer status. In 1961, two different subcommittees are established in order to handle special issues more effectively: Scientific and Technical Subcommittee (STSC) and Legal Subcommittee (LSC). Ratification of five UN Treaties (Outer Space Treaty-1967,  Rescue Agreement-1968, Liability Convention-1972, Registration Convention-1975, Moon Agreement-1979) and five declarations (Declaration of Legal Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Uses of Outer Space (1963), Principles Governing the Use by States of Artificial Earth Satellites for International Direct Television Broadcasting (1982), Principles Relating to Remote Sensing of the Earth from Outer Space (1986),  Principles Relevant to the Use of Nuclear Power Sources in Outer Space (1992),  Declaration on International Cooperation in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space for the Benefit and in the Interest of All States, Taking into Particular Account the Needs of Developing Countries (1996) are among the most important achievements of COPUOS. The committee including subcommittees and 6 working groups are working recently on issues like the connection between space and climate change, space debris, capacity building in space law and national space legislation. As a result of this work a 'space debris mitigation guideline' is prepared and published, which is at the moment not legally binding as a part of international law. 

Presentation Mr Chernikov

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSE) was founded at first as an ad hoc  group of experts during the meeting of COPUOS and then evolved in to a unit within the department of Political and Security Council Affairs in 1962. In 1992 it was transformed into the Office of Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), which has been relocated the following year from New York to the UN Office in Vienna. It also has Offices in Bonn and Beijing. The office supports the intergovernmental cooperation, promotes the application of space law, implements the United Nations Programme on Space Applications, coordinates space-related activities within the United Nations System and tries to increase the public awareness on the socio-benefits of space.

Political, technical and legal aspects of the exploration and the use of outer space have been defined and regulated by UN Charter, Outer Space Treaty, UN Space Treaties and several UN Resolutions. According to the UN Resolution 1721-B of 20 December 1961 and to "Registration Convention" of 1975 all objects launched into outer space have to be registered by the United Nations. Since 1957, 6200' functional' space objects (satellites, manned spacecraft.) have been launched by 40 states, 93% of which have been registered by the UN. In 2008, a working group was established in order to work on national space legislation. During sessions of this group, representatives of member states present their reports on their national legislation about space issues. In 2011, the working group has accomplished a summary of all the challenges concerning regulations on governmental and non-governmental space activities, and reported it to legal subcommittee. The most important topics discussed in that report were the conditions to fulfill before registration, the borders of national competences and measures, which should be taken in order make the law binding for all parties.



Discussion Round I: How to communicate UN concepts and issues to the next generation?

Moderator: Gregory Weeks (Webster University)


  • Michael Platzer (ACUNS)
  • Roland Schmidt (Boltzmann Institute)
  • Mihaly Simai (UNA Hungary)
  • Radim Srsen (University of Economics, Prague)
  • Dana Vyzinkarova (Youth Delegate to the UN, Slovakia)
  • Gregor Waldhauser (UNA Austria)

Mr Platzer commenced the discussion round by stating that fewer and fewer courses about the UN are taught at university, therefore it is a difficult task to communicate UN concepts.

Mr Schmidt, whose focus is on Human Rights, gave examples how to reach the students: By organizing film festivals like in Prague and Vienna, where various documentaries are presented to a public audience. Furthermore he mentioned the seminar at the Vienna faculty of Law, where students visit movie screenings and panel discussions with experts. At the end of the interdisciplinary course they write a paper.

Presentation Mr Schmidt

Mr Simai was one of the first university professors to teach about the UN nearly 60 years ago. He pointed out that the issues, which the UN deals with, changed within the decades. Each generation had to face different problems. Moreover he emphasized the importance of the communicator, which is the Secretary General. The way the information is distributed has been subject to change: in the beginning radio and printed press were used, nowadays the Internet is the main source.

Mr Srsen presented a project, he initiated in the Czech Republic. It consists of the UN Academy for students, which offers courses in different cities covering UN issues. They host a Young Scholars Conference, where Ph.D. students from all over the world meet. The results of this programme are presented at international conferences.


Presentation Mr Srsen

Ms Vyzinkarova is currently the Youth Delegate to the UN for Slovakia. She described her work during the past year and explained the advantages of this programme: It brings the young people to the UN and at the same time the UN to the young people. Her job requires her to travel through her country and to introduce the UN concepts to the youths. She does this by using her blog and Facebook as a tool of communication.


Presentation Ms Vyzinkarova

Mr Waldhauser presented various projects by UNA Austria: the Model UN, the Historic Model UN, study trips and UN goes to schools. The latter faces difficulties like the lack of interest and reluctance to any political affiliation on the schools' side. He disagreed with Ms Vyzinkarova on the topic of Facebook as a useful tool for participation. In his opinion it is too informal to use it for organizing events.

The following discussion concentrated on the use of new media like Facebook and other social networks for communication concerning UN topics.

Rapporteurs: Sara Khalil, Amira Hetaba



Discussion Round II: How to improve relations between academia and UN organizations? How can practitioners' knowledge be brought into the classroom?

Moderator: Otmar Hoell (Austrian Institute of International Affairs)


  • Alistair Edgar (ACUNS, Executive Director)
  • Julia Harfensteller (UNSA)
  • Alexander Milanov (University of Vienna)
  • Joachim Müller (WMO)
  • Elena Sokova (Monterey Institute of International Studies)
  • Istvan Szilard (University of Pecs)

Mr Edgar presented several education activities where ACUNS experts provide know-how: Online e-learning platforms (for instance in cooperation with the CTBTO), the Global Environmental Governance Program or the Higher Education Group for the UN, a program that reaches out to underserved schools in the US. Other projects are a podcast service on the ACUNS-website and a two weeks summer workshop for practitioners and academics.

Ms Harfensteller highlighted that academics have an explicit, analytical knowledge of the UN system, whereas practitioners have a more implicit knowledge that they gain from their daily environment at work. These are two different worlds - but they are not strictly partial. Practitioners have to find a language in order to transcript their experience. The question is, how to create an appropriate environment for practitioners where they can convey their knowledge.

Click here to view Ms Harfensteller's  presentation

Mr Höll pointed towards his organisation OIIP, an Austrian think tank for international affairs, as an apt organisation for providing this platform for interaction between academics and practitioners.

Mr Milanov came up with a completely different topic."Very sensitive for experts, very ridiculous for outsiders", as he said. In the context of outer space law he wanted to draw the attention towards extraterrestrial life and an alleged UFO-landing in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 1984. He claimed that the incident is covered by the military and disregarded by the academic world.

Mr Mueller referred to the thin ice on which Mr. Chawla said he was skating. How to combine the academic and the practical world? Practical experience is used very unsystematically, up to him. Global networks of scientists, like in the CTBTO system, can be one way of using academic knowledge in the UN system. Another example is the IPPC conference that writes the climate assessment reports compiling the expertise of more than 2000 scientists in their work. Such models brake down the separation between academia and practitioners. Another approach would be to entrust academics with work formerly done by UN agencies. That has been done with the application of the Millennium Development Goals by a group of researchers at Columbia University under the guidance of Jeffrey Sachs. Finally he pointed to underresearched areas like the inter-agency-communication.

Ms Sokova reminded the participants that the focus of the conference shifted towards awareness raising. But exchange with academics should not be forgotten. Many ways of communicating UN concepts to students have been discussed but the question remains how to bring practitioners into the UN? She sees only limited acces when scientists want to attend UN meetings for research, although the content of those meetings is very seldomly confidential. Antoher topic are resources. Academics are often not well paid and the question how to bring them to UN meetings around the world is crucial.

Mr. Szilard gave a long oversight about his field of study, migration and health. The problems in this field are so intertwined that he called for multidisciplined experts.

Rapporteur: Matthias Pázmándy



Discussion Round III: How to establish a sustainable network of engaged teachers and practitioners? How to foster exchange between these parties?

Moderator: Miroslav Polzer (ASO Lubljana)


  • Kirsten Haack (Northumbria University)
  • Zuzana Lehmannova (University of Economics, Prague)
  • Andraz Melansek (UNIS-Vienna)

Ms Haack is editor- in-chief of the new internet-based "Journal of International Organization Studies" (JIOS). The topics that are dealt with are how to conceptualize International Organizations in general, explanations of their structure and organization, and furthermore the demonstration of the hidden parts connected with the understanding of an IO. The journal includes a review section, not only for books but also discussing workshops and panels recently held. The next edition is expected to be published in April.

Ms Lehmannova talked about her experience at the University of Economics in Prague in creating networks of academics and practitioners. Firstly, they involve practitioners in their courses on foreign policy. She underlined, that this is a good experience for teachers, too. There are also seminars on UN-topics in cooperation with UN Prague and several embassies, which are open for public. The university runs a seven years project on global governance and each semester students and practitioners meet to discuss the scientific goals. These workshops, Ms Lehmannova explained, had been very instructive for both sides. Furthermore the university organizes conferences, for example the Pan European Conference, where practitioners are invited as discussants and chairs. 

Mr Melansek from UNIS Vienna pointed out that his organisation represents the UN as a whole and is therefore an ideal partner for people interested in the United Nations and other international organisations. UNIS provides information, working materials, speakers and contacts that can be very useful to establish a network of teachers and practitioners. He especially pointed out UNIS Vienna's cooperation with schools that participate in guided thematic tours through the UN and that contribute to human rights education. To strengthen the sustainability, Mr. Melansek encouraged the auditorium to create networks and stay connected.

The discussion:

In the subsequent discussion with the auditorium, practitioners and teachers shared their experience with platforms and networks. One approach was that networks need to be issue- based in order to be sustainable. A professor from Nepal brought up the question of financing and concluded that without ensured financial means sustainability is not likely to be achieved. Responding to the criticism that conferences like this one are more about talking than about tackling issues, Ms Haack appealed to everyone to think about their personal ability to contribution and - seizing the spirit of the conference - Mr Platzer concluded: "A lot of wonderful friendships have been made in these past two days"; a certain and essential outcome of this conference.

Rapporteurs: Angelika Aumann & Simone Schaller





Diversity Workshops Vienna June 2010

Workshops on “Diversity and Global Understanding”

May 31 - June 2, 2010 at the  UNO-City Vienna


This series of workshops aimed to bring together researchers and practitioners from different fields and disciplines with an interest in the issues and challenges of diversity in global working environments such as the UN. The overall objective was to deepen the international debate on questions pertaining to cultural diversity, ranging from diversity management and terminology to global education and the use of new communication tools.

For detailed information on the speakers and their presentations read the reports and  see their full presentations and papers at

Project partners

This project has been set up to become a joint undertaking of TermNet, UNSA, Centre for Translation Studies of the University of Vienna and the Institute of Educational Science at Heidelberg University

It has been specifically designed to engage the diverse members of all organizations and facilitate an open and cross-disciplinary dialogue on an issue of mutual concern.

Official Website including registration

Go to

Or follow this link to directly register for the event.

Preliminary Program as of May 2, 2010

Download the program here.

The Conference included a series of workshops. By "workshops" we understand a format emphasizing interaction and exchange of information among participants, based on papers and other ideas.

The topic of our workshop series is cultural diversity, multilingualism and global understanding.

The program starts with a registration and first networking afternoon (31 May 2010).

On the first day workshops covered basic ground asking questions such as: How to achieve effective diversity management and cross-culture communication, e.g. in UN peace operations? What is the role of language and terminology for a better communication in the UN system, and UN peace operations in particular?

The second day was dedicated to cross-cultural dialogue and the practical side. We started by taking the broader global education perspective, before we focused on new ways of communication. The opportunities offered by new social media were presented and trained.

Participants have been invited to submit a paper or to deliver an oral presentation on an aspect of their interest.  Several UNSA members will contribute and make presentations. Click here for the preliminary program including keynote speakers and contributors.


Background: Why does diversity matter?

Diversity and Global Understanding: What does it mean? Why does it matter?

The UN workshops will deal with communication and language in the diverse working environment of the UN system.

We seek to bring together researchers and practitioners with an interest in the issues and challenges of diversity in a globally active organization. The workshops seek to promote greater awareness of the importance of efficient communication tools and a common language spoken when people from diverse backgrounds work together. Our objective is to deepen the international debate on questions relating to cultural diversity, particularly its effects to the working environment of the UN organizations and its peace operations. Working for the United Nations means experiencing cultural diversity and multilingualism.

In our workshop series, we will look into the realities of diversities in the UN system, as they manifest in the field. We will seek to explore the full range of what diversity means for the UN's working procedure and explore the modes of diversity in real-life situations of working together on the ground.


Cultural diversity in peace operations

Hence, it must be asked how dangerous misunderstandings caused by different cultural backgrounds of troops can be prevented: Which problems (language barriers, differing definitions) occur to multinational troops in UN peacekeeping operations? How to strengthen group performance and co-ordination when UN peacekeepers with find themselves in violent and dangerous situations?  How to assure an equal understanding of UN terms and what kind of training and preparation should UN peacekeepers get before being deployed to the field?




Concepts can be defined as abstract ideas or units of knowledge. In the field of international relations and international organizations, concepts play an essential role in framing policy-fields, actor roles, and strategies for action.


Terminology is defined as the entirety of all concepts and terms in one specialist field. Therefore, one can equate terminology with specialist vocabulary. Efficient communication with regard to technical language is not possible without the correct use of specialist vocabulary.

Terminology work deals with the preparing, the processing, the documenting and the use of specialist vocabulary; tools like terminology management software support this work. Terminology work is concept-oriented and thus, from a methodical point of view, specially suited to solve multilingual communication tasks.

Terminology is

  • essential for precise and efficient communication across language and cultural barriers. 
  • a prerequisite for translators, interpreters and localizers. 
  • an indispensable component in virtually all standardization and harmonization activities.

Terminology management has become an integral part of business processes aiming at increasing productivity, quality and user satisfaction.



The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences.  These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies.  It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment.  It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.

Diversity management (DiM)

a strategic management approach aimed at the targeted consideration and deliberate utilization of the diversity of persons and relevant organizational environments or stakeholders in order to create structural and social conditions under which all employees can develop their abilities and reach their full performance to the benefit of all parties involved and for raising the organization´s success.



Download the full version of the Program in pdf format here.

Monday, 31 May 2010

4pm - 6pm


6pm - 8pm

Reception by the go4diversity project

Tuesday, 1 June 2010 

9am -  9.45 am

Keynote speech



Gerhard Budin, UNESCO Chair for "Multilingual, Transcultural Communication in the Digital Age", University of Vienna

10am - 12.30pm



Diversity and Diversity Management

(Moderator: Gabriele Sauberer)

12.30pm - 1.30pm

Lunch Break

1.30pm - 3pm



Go4Diversity: Global Education, Migration and Science

3pm - 3.30pm

Coffee Break

3.30pm - 5.45pm


The Role of Terminology in UN Communication and Policy

(Moderators: Anja Drame, Julia Harfensteller)


Wednesday, 2 June 2010

9am - 9.30am

Keynote speech

Yvonne Gimpel (Austrian Focal Point „UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions"):

UNESCO´s perspective on Cultural Diversity

 9.30am - 12.30pm



Global Education and Intercultural Communication

Reinhard Mitschke: Workshop - the COMSIC project (Collaboration Competencies for Media Supported Intercultural Groups)

12.30pm - 1.30pm

Lunch Break

1.30pm - 3pm


WORKSHOP IV, continued:

Kent Kille (College of Wooster): "Interactive Global Education: Active Learning and the Center of Diversity and Global Engagement."

Jamie Arbuckle (former Canadian UN Peacekeeper): „Intercultural communication among agencies: intra-agency relationships, agencies as cultures"

3pm - 3.30pm

Coffee Break

3.30pm - 5.45pm


Fostering global understanding through new ICT tools and ways of communication

(Moderators: Henrike Paepcke, Anja Drame)

About wikis, social networks, blogs, Twitter

Practical Training: working with new ICT using the Go4Diversity website


ISA 2010 Annual Convention

The following activities at the ISA convention have been jointly planned by UNSA members using the old portal.

Convention Details

  • Location and Date of 2010 ISA annual convention: New Orleans, February 17 - 20, 2010

Roundtable on Academic-Practitioner divide

Title: The United Nations, Academics and Practitioners: One World, Two Universes?


  • Haack, Kirsten (Chair)

  • Mueller, Harald (Roundtable Participant)

  • Harfensteller, Julia (Roundtable Participant)

  • Mathiason, John (Roundtable Participant)

  • Paepcke, Henrike (Roundtable Participant)

The UN Studies community joins practitioners and academics in teaching and research. However, these two groups often appear to talk at cross-purpose, following very different ontological, epistemological and methodological approaches. This potentially limits our understanding of the UN overall. On the one hand, many practitioners claim that the UN can not be understand without insider experience, claiming that theory/theorists is/are unable to capture the complexity and intricate workings of the organization. On the other hand, (IR) academics dismiss micro-level study and focus on the place of the UN in the global order while accusing practitioners of being untheoretical. This roundtable addresses the differences between the ways in which practitioners and academics approach UN Studies, it questions what we ‘need’ to know, what we can do to overcome the divide and discusses potential solutions. The panel seeks to continue and open up to a wider public a discussion on the academic-practitioner divide which the UN Studies Working Group started in 2007.


Panel on UN Studies - focus: latest research

Title: UN Studies and constructivism


  • Oestreich, Joel (Chair)

  • Kille, Kent (Discussant)


Constructivist research has offered a number of opportunities for UN Studies: first, to move beyond the high politics of multilateral diplomacy and explore the way in which UN ideas are created and shape understanding of a number of questions (including social and economic issues); secondly, to increasingly recognise the UN as an agent beyond its principals. This panel explores different avenues of constructivist research in United Nations Studies, focussing on ideas, concepts, language and communication. Papers will show the emergence of new policies through the creation of discourses and philosophies, a reconceptualisation of actors' roles and the construction of the UN as a communicative system.


Venture Research Workshop Idea on "The UN in Time - Exploring diverse Dimensions of Change" (declined)

Furthermore, we have submitted a proposal for a venture research workshop which was declined. However, we hope to revive this idea at a later point of time, given the overwhelming response.

Background information is available at the ISA website: and below.


Information about Venture Research Workshops

Scope of Venture Research Workshop Awards 
ISA created the Workshop Grants program in 1992 to promote the interaction of scholars from different parts of the global international studies community. At the annual ISA meeting in Chicago in 2007, the Governing Council substantially expanded and restructured the Workshop Grant Program, more than doubling the total amount of funds available. Two categories of grants were established: Venture Research Workshop Grants of up to $25,000 each and Catalytic Research Workshop Grants of up to $5,000 each.

Venture Research Workshop Grants are targeted for projects that venture into emerging and potentially transformative research areas or preliminary work on untested and novel and path-breaking ideas. The goal is to support truly innovative research that has the potential to make a significant leap or paradigm shift and move the frontiers of knowledge forward.

Catalytic Research Workshop Grants target projects that aim to apply new expertise or new approaches to established research topics and are likely to catalyze rapid and innovative advances. Funds may be used to support several types of workshops: to bring together authors for an edited volume; to plan for a collaborative research project; or to stimulate new approaches to the substance and analysis of a topic.

Both types of grants aim to bring together small groups of participants focusing on a significant research problem that stimulates cross-national examination or perspectives and engages the interests of several disciplines. Topics should be sufficiently well focused to allow in-depth exploration during the time proposed for the workshop. All participants are expected to present a fully-developed scholarly paper on a relevant topic in order to attend the workshop. The workshop, itself, is expected to result in significant scholarly outputs, such as a book-length manuscript and scholarly articles.

Proposal submitters and all proposed workshop participants must be ISA members. Proposals from junior scholars are particularly encouraged. Workshop participants should be drawn not only from ISA's North American membership, but also from other parts of the world and should include junior scholars. All workshops must be held in junction with and at the time of the ISA 2010 Annual Convention. Other requirements are listed in the Workshop Grant Proposal Guidelines (doc).

Grants will be awarded annually by ISA's Workshop Grant Committee. Funding may be used to provide lodging and per diems, pay for research-related travel [when compelling justification is given] as well as other workshop costs. Please consult the Workshop Grant Proposal Guidelines for limitations and restrictions. Funds will generally be available for up to eighteen months from the time grants are made. A proportion of the grant award may be held until the final Workshop Grant Report has been received at ISA headquarters.


Teaching Climate Change and the UN - Belgrade

2nd CEE/SEE Regional Colloquium  

Capacity Building on Global Governance and the UN System

Date: Monday May 17th & Tuesday 18th, 2010

Venue: Faculty of Law, Bulevar kralja Aleksandra 67, Belgrade


Climate Change is undoubtedly the most pressing global issue of our time. For addressing the complex multi-stakeholder and multilevel challenges associated with climate change mitigation and adaptation an appropriate knowledge base is needed not only among public authorities and academia but also among civil society, business sector etc. in order to have problem aware constituencies in the countries of the world supporting with their attitudes and actions governments towards bold future oriented global climate change action.

Preliminary Program: Download here.

Conference Website:

Goals of the conference:

  • Support effective climate change adaptation and mitigation in SEE (in the context of EU integration) by means of improved science communication and targeted educational processes
  • Support scientific capacity building and capacity building in Higher education sphere and in diplomatic training on global governance and Climate Change
  • Inspire educational system(s) reform/modernisation towards future orientation, problem solving competencies and global citizenship in SEE countries
  • Facilitate networking and interaction of conference participants and harness the potentials of ICT for global governance and CC knowledge management and learning with concrete follow-up project initiatives
  • Highlight and discuss synergy potentials through policy coherence/interministerial coordination and cooperation on global governance and climate change capacity building
  • Feed into coordination and cooperation processes of UN system institutions on CC capacity building
  • Raising public awareness on Climate change and the UN (especially also on local/community level)
  • promote Involvement of civil society and business sector
  • involve young researchers/students




ACUNS 2010 Annual Meeting Vienna

UNSA Members' Contributions (Panels, Roundtables etc.)

Kirsten Haack and Henrike Paepcke: "The UN as Communication and Knowledge System"  report...

Anja Drame, Eva Nowotny, Henrike Paepcke, Gabriele Sauberer: "Roundtable on Cultural Diversity and the UN:

Old Implications and New Challenges" report...

John Mathiason: "Managing Climate Change" report...

Miroslav Polzer: "UN Studies Capacity Building in Southeast Europe" report...


Also, please take a look at the UN Workshops on Diversity and Global Understanding prior to the ACUNS annual meeting.

Please let us know if you are participating in the ACUNS annual meeting.

Preliminary Program

Perspectives on Climate Change

In the context of the role and responsibility of International Institutions,

John Mathiason, professor of International Relations at Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University,

reported about one of the greatest challenge for the United Nations System:


Managing Climate Change

Mathiason argumented that an international public sector, a conceptual order of international institutions respectively an international regime is strongly necessary to be able to manage the borderless and complex problem. A higher effort for negotiations and agreements and the "need to ensure that all of the pieces fit" makes the challenge more complex and requires higher agility and responsibility of the international public sector.


For more details please see the full paper of John Mathiason.


Roundtable on Diversity


Title: Roundtable on Cultural Diversity and the UN  - old implications and new challenges


General Abstract

Working in the context of the United Nations means experiencing cultural diversity and multilingualism.  Efficient communication tools and "a common language" are highly critical in such a diverse working environment; however, internal and external communication, intercultural competence and diversity management are considered to be rather ineffective.


In a workshop series held prior to the ACUNS meeting, academics and practitioners from different fields, disciplines and regions in the world met to discuss critical issues pertaining to cultural diversity, particularly (not exclusively) its effects on the UN system and UN peace operations.

The roundtable aimed at transfering the results of their interdisciplinary exchange to the ACUNS audience.  Roundtable participants first presented the key findings of the workshops and  then broadened the discussion by integrating ACUNS members' expertise on the main issues at stake: diversity management, terminology and language, global education as well as shared communication and collaboration tools. 


Key questions included:

  • How to achieve effective diversity management and cross-cultural communication?
  • What special role of language and terminology in improving internal and external communication?
  • What role for science and scientists?
  • What kind of competencies are needed in intercultural groups?
  • How can global learning and understanding be improved by means of new technologies?


The roundtable discussion further detected shortcomings and potentials; more specifically, the discussion was directed towards identifying new ways and better targeted initiatives, tools and policies in order to improve cultural diversity and globald understanding at the UN.





Moderator: Anja Drame, TermNet

Roundtable Participants:

  • Eva Nowotny, President of the Austrian Commission for UNESCO , Ambassador, rtd.
  • Anja Drame, International Network for Terminology - TermNet
  • Gabriele Sauberer, International Network for Terminology - TermNet
  • Henrike Paepcke, Chair of the United Nations Studies Association (UNSA)



The UN as communication and knowledge system

At the 2010 Annual Meeting the UNSA members

Henrike Paepcke, Chair of the United Nations Studies Association (UNSA), and Kirsten Haack, lecturer in International Politics at Northumbria University,

presented their paper with the title


The UN as communication and knowledge system:

Creating new ideas through discourse


This paper is part of a larger research project to conceptualize the role of the UN Secretary-General as discourse leader and knowledge manager. Faced with the challenge to explain the emergence of new supranational ideas and norms within the UN system, the authors have analysed structural-institutionalist as well as constructivist concepts such as "intellectual leadership", centering on the power of ideas and norms; but found the /communicative/ dimension of leadership to be under-developed and under-theorized.

Based on the understanding of the UN as a communication and knowledge system, the current paper aims to clarify how "discursive institutionalism" (DI) provides an integrative theoretical framework to explain the creation of supranational ideas (programs, policies, philosophies) through discourse. The authors explained in depth the meaning of discourse and DI theory in the context of global communication and global knowledge; as well as explored ways how to link this discursive theory with more concrete interactive knowledge creation processes.

The paper addressed key questions such as:

  • What exactly constitutes a global discourse?
  • What is global knowledge?
  • What role do new social media play in creation processes?


The key findings of this paper pave the ground for the next research phase, which is aimed to refine the different "ideal discursive leadership roles" of the Secretary-General ("collector", "connector", "visionary") within the UN communication and knowledge system, leading to an analysis of discursive leadership practices, such as discourses about "peace operations" or the concept of "human development".

UN Studies Capacity Building in Southeast Europe

Miroslav Polzer of the Austrian Science and Research Office in Lubljana participated in the ACUNS Meeting 2010 as a panelist on Regional Perspectives on the UN and Security and held a presentation about UN Studies Capacity Building in Southeast Europe.


After intoducing ASO Ljubljana and its past activities in the field of UN Studies Capacity Building in SEE  , Polzer focused on their current project, which is „Building the Knowledge Base for Global Governance and Climate Change Action in SEE".

Faced with global challenges, knowledge management becomes increasingly crucial in particular with regard to the functioning of academic, international communities, such as the UN System. ASO Ljubljana is working on this project since 2008; for the future they are planning to establish, in cooperation with UNSA, a subregional SEE United Nations Studies internet portal, among other initiatives.

For more details please see the full presentation of Miroslav Polzer.


ACUNS Panel 2009

UNSA organized a panel at the ACUNS 2009 annual meeting in Trinidad and Tobago. This was our main event in 2009.

Panel Title: The need for UN Studies in the Caribbean

Date: June 5, 2009

Abstract as submitted:

The panel aims to feature Caribbean perspectives concerning research and teaching about the UN and to define the need for UN Studies in the South. Panelists from the region will present dominant views on the UN, methods and approaches as well as teaching techniques and tools – mainly by drawing on examples and experiences from their own research or experience in classrooms, while focusing on issues and aspects they consider relevant. During a subsequent discussion round, the differences, similarities and distinctive features of Caribbean perspectives will be highlighted and compared with European and Northern American views. Based on the finding of their exchange, panelists will then explore ways for possible cooperation and advanced network-building.

Original outline

The ongoing discussion about a concept of UN Studies, launched by an informal working group of ACUNS members at the 2007 annual meeting in NYC, has been mostly limited to reflect Northern American and European views so far. The 2009 annual meeting in Trinidad and Tobago offers a unique opportunity to broaden the discussion by featuring the Caribbean perspectives concerning research and teaching about the UN. Showcasing examples and reporting about their own experiences concerning UN-related research and teaching, panelists from the region will give an impression of the status and scope of UN Studies that will help determine a possible need for UN Studies in the South.

Key questions include:

How is the UN viewed? Is it a major multilateral organization to be researched or taught? Or is the main focus on global governance, on multilateralism?

What issues do Caribbean teachers and educator emphasize? What methods, approaches and educational tools do they promote?

The overall goal is to offer alternative perspectives to the Northern American / European views: What is different, similar, distinctive? For example, in terms of:

  • subject matters and issues of primary interest
  • the specific backgrounds, interests, expertise of students, teachers, researchers
  • lessons learned & best practices – e.g. what has worked in classrooms, what not?
  • possible contributions to developing a UN Studies syllabi


Chair: Johannes Geiser, Former UN Resident Coordinator (retired)

  •    Janice Joseph, Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, Stockton College, New Jersey:
  •   Michelle Scobie, IIR, UWI
  •   Michael Platzer, Bond University, Australia:Building links between Caribbean and European views
  •   Henrike Paepcke, ACUNS Board, UNSA, Berlin: The importance of global networking and new collaborative technologies in advancing UN Studies

Download the original proposal here:


Results of the discussion:



Our events and acitivities in 2008 included

ACUNS ASIL Summer Workshop 2008

Report about the ACUNS ASIL Summer Workshop 2008
"Building the Knowledge Base for Global Governance"
held at Ljubljana, Slowenia, July 23 to August 2, 2008

by Julia Harfensteller

General Information about the program

Every year, the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) and the American Society of International Law (ASIL) organize a workshop for UN practitioners and academics alike.

For more information see ACUNS website at:


Information on the 2008 Workshop

This year's workshop was held in Ljubljana in cooperation with the Austrian Science and Research Liaison Office Ljubljana.

For more information, see


Summary and experiences

Following questions/problems were discussed by the workshop participants:

1. The Concept of Global Governance (GG)

  • Why did the concept of GG surge? Why was it necessary to replace the commonly used concept of "international relations" with a new term?
  • Does the conceptual shift reflect social change or does social change induce conceptual change? 
  • What is the meaning of Global Governance?  What does it refer to? Does it refer to new phenomena or problems in our world? What are new phenomena and are they really as new as we claim them to be? For example can terrorism and global warming be viewed as new problems/phenomena?
  • Normative dimension: Does the concept of Global Governance refer to something which does not yet exist?


2. The knowledge base of Global Governance

  • What is knowledge? (different kinds of knowledge: know how, know to, etc.)
  • What are the problems of a Global Governance knowledge (base)? --> knowledge is not neutral; it is not general/universal; unequal access to (Global Governance) knowledge

3. The role Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for a GG knowledgebase

  • ICts offer new opportunities in the transfer and dissemination of knowledge
  • Problems related to ICTs: ICts are not accessible by all people in the world; they make it possible to disseminate distorted/manipulated information
  • Do new media catalyze the power of civil society? or are new media tools of powerful governments?


4. The practitioners-academics-dichotomy

  • Do practitioners and academics have different views on the UN?
  • Does the practitioners-academics divide also reflect the difference between "insider-outsider-view" or realist-idealist attitude  towards the UN?
  • Does the dichotomy of practitioners-academics make sense in view of UN practitioners working as lecturers at universities or vice versa, academics working within the UN?
  • What can practitioners and academics learn from each other/ offer each other?


5. What is the UN?

  • Is it "the power of member states" or is it more than the member states influence?

Bonn Business Meeting 2008

On June 5, 2008, the working group met for an additional meeting at the DIE to address the futurel direction of the group.


We discussed the following issues:
   * founding of the UNSA / informal character of the working group
   * future projects and activities
   * membership / engagement
   * UN Studies Portal

1. Founding of the UNSA

The UN Studies Association was founded on June 3, 2008 at the Em Höttche in Bonn, with 12 founding members attending.

A copy of the Charter (in German) can be downloaded here (coming soon).

In our discussion we clarified our status and understanding:

We will remain an informal working group in close association with ACUNS, regardless of our new legal status (a non-profit under German). The change of status and name are considered necessary for mere outreach purposes - to apply for funds, or to better advertise our work.

We are thus not aiming for setting up a (or better: yet another) formal organization with full-time staff but depend on the engagement of our members. Our working group will closely cooperate with all organizations who work on UN Studies issues.

In fact, it is our aim to better connect all parties interested in UN Studies, primarily by means of our wiki portal; furthermore, we offer a collaboration forum for all those who wish to actively contribute to develop a full-fledged concept of UN Studies to the benefit of all.

2. Future projects

  •    Online seminars on UN public management
  •    60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
  •    Workshop on teaching techniques / new media and UN Studies
  •    Journal of International Organization Studies - see ProjectJIOS
  •    Developing a concept of UN Studies incl. teaching tools / follow-up of our Seminar


3. Membership / engagement

We further clarified the role of our membership. Members will run their own projects, the total of which will be orchestrated by Julia and Henrike. As a consequence we decided to not seek any membership fees; otherwise, we would act against the nature and spirit of our working group.

4. Wiki Portal

The meeting ended with a brief introduction to our wiki UN Studies Portal. We encouraged all members to work with this portal, first of all, by contributing to the results of the seminar on UN Research and Teaching


Title: Past, present and future views on the United Nations - Creating new content for innovative UN research and teaching

Date: Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Venue: German Development Institute, Bonn, Germany

Time: 9:30am - 6:00pm (followed by joint dinner)

Our Partners: ACUNS, DGVN, DIE

This event has been jointly prepared by working group members. This article contains all major information concerning our joint planning process.

For more information on the seminar's background and purpose, please visit Seminar Concept.


Seminar Poster

click here.


Final Agenda (download version)

Our revised seminar agenda as of May 29,2008.


Short Agenda

JUNE 3, 2008, 7:00pm: DINNER at restaurant "Em Höttche" ( )


JUNE 4, 2008, 9:30am-6pm: SEMINAR at the German Development Institute DIE

Welcoming Remarks by Thomas Fues, DIE

Session 1: State of the Art/Synopsis: What are current dominant views on the nature of the UN in research and teaching?

- Lunch break -

Special report by Alexander Siedschlag, World Wide Education (WWEDU): Report on the international colloquium "The United Nations and the New Media/Information Age", organized by WWEDU and ACUNS, November 16, 2007 in Wels, Austria

and welcome note by Manuel Fröhlich, DGVN: UN Studies in Germany

Session 2: Proposals for new views and basic assumptions on the UN

including special speech by Richard Jolly, IDS Sussex, UNIHP: Lessons from the UN Intellectual History Project

- Coffee break -

Session 3: Translating new views into UN research and teaching

Closing session: Synthesis of brainstorming / Results and Next Steps

- Joint Dinner at restaurant "Rheingarten" ( starting at 7pm -


JUNE 5, 2008, 9:00am-11:00am: WORKING GROUP MEETING at the DIE



Partners and participants

We have invited the German UNA to act as our institutional (cooperation) partner to underline its leading role in supporting UN Studies.

The German Development Institute has agreed to host us!

Most of the participants will be attending the ACUNS annual meeting and pay for their own travel and lodging.


Background: Concept and topic of the seminar

For full information about the background and topic of this seminar, please see Seminar Concept.


General Seminar (Series) Idea: Thematic Framework

Series of Seminars on UN Research and Teaching

  1. (New) perspectives and views on the UN (UN Ontology)
  2. (New) approaches to study the UN (UN Epistemology)
  3. (New) methods in (research) and teaching (UN Methodology)


  • three-year / long-term project
  • starting with the launch of the first seminar in June 2008
  • results of the seminar series could be presented in textbook series

Key questions:

  • How is the UN viewed in research and teaching?
  • What assumptions are made around the nature of the UN?
  • What are innovative ways to look at the world organization?

Key Purposes:

  • evaluate existing research and teaching contents
  • explore innovative views on the functioning, structure, qualities and features of the UN
  • translate new views and perspectives into innovative research and teaching (methods, approaches, tools)
  • raise awareness for the UN as subject of research and teaching

Participants will:

  • work on a joint knowledge base
  • get the opportunity to reflect on their own basic, implicit assumptions and aspirations regarding the nature of UN
  • experience the views of others and broaden their research and teaching horizon

Discussion about Thematic Framework:

During our discussion on January 28, participants stated / suggested:

  • case studies - e.g. climate change as umbrella topic
  • emphasis on divide between theory and practice
  • address both the research as well as teaching side

Seminar contributions

The seminar is planned as a combination of short, informal introductory presentations or statements, followed by brainstorming sessions on relevant questions and problems (concerning the past, present, and future views of the UN) as well as the question how to best translate our findings into research and teaching practice.

To kick off each of the three brainstorming sessions, we ask all participants to prepare for informal, 5-7 minute introductory presentations or statements on a topic of their choice.

Content / topics: Please relate your presentation or statement to one of the brainstorming session topics as given in the agenda above. You are welcome to contribute to any (or each) of the brainstorming sessions; however, we would like to ask you to contribute to at least one session. (As was discussed by the planning team, you are invited to refer to a case study, such as climate change. Please feel free to choose your own topic.)

Format and duration of presentations: We imagine 5-7 minute oral presentations. These may be based on full papers or any other kinds of written input – but need not be. In general, there is no obligation to present a paper.

Results: We are considering to include your input and ideas (your initial presentations as well as the brainstorming results) in a joint publication and/or UN Studies material for classrooms, if possible and useful. We will be happy to circulate your statements, material, presentations in advance of the seminar. Please send us your input to

Session 1

  • Henrike Paepcke, Consultant; UN Studies Working Group, Berlin, Germany - general overview of UN study programs world-wide
  • Albrecht Horn, former Director of the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs, New York; Lecturer; Board Member, German UNA, Germany - Dominant misinterpretations of the UN: assessing autonomy and efficacy of the UN as an intergovernmental organization

Lunch Break

  • Alexander Siedschlag, World Wide Education (WWEDU): Report on the international colloquium “The United Nations and the New Media/Information Age”, organized by WWEDU and ACUNS, November 16, 2007 in Wels, Austria
  • Manuel Fröhlich, DGVN: UN Studies in Germany

Session 2

special speaker: Richard Jolly, The CUNY Graduate Center; UN Intellectual History Project, New York, USA - The UN Intellectual History Project


  • Julia Harfensteller, University of Bremen; UN Studies Working Group, Berlin, Germany - research side / UN and language
  • Ibrahim Saleh, The American University, Cairo, Egypt - studies linking UN and Media as in succcesful public diplomacy, peace building / dealing with the current political PR-ization
  • Sylvia Karlsson, Turku School of Economics, Finland - research side / multilevelness
  • Rudolf Christoph Reiet, University of Bonn - The UN Legal Research Group - re-writing the UN Charter
  • Albrecht Horn, former Director of the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs, New York; Lecturer; Board Member, German UNA - Intergovernmental agreements and their national implementation as core function of the UN

Session 3


Expected results


  • The initial idea was to publish the seminar contributions and follow-up articles within the framework of a larger publication series of the working group - "UN Studies" Series.
  • We should seek other publication channels beyond the traditional ones, such as an electronic journal and the internet.
  • We will offer solutions for teachers , including power point presentations, online depository of syllabi
  • We are also planning on presenting the results of the discussions at a workshop panel at the ACUNS 2008 annual meeting - see Project ACUNS 2008.

Actual results

For actual results, please see Seminar Results. For our follow-up discussion on framing a concept of UN Studies, please see Concept UN Studies.



"UN Simulations as tool for UN teaching" by John Mathiaso


"Active Learning and Teaching About the United Nations" by Kent J. Kille 

Active Learning & Teaching

Presentation by Kent J. Kille  

“Active Learning and Teaching About the United Nations”

I. What is Active Teaching and Learning?

A. Basic overview:

Active learning focuses on the move beyond a sole reliance on traditional, lecture-oriented approach to engage students in experiential and interactive learning practices (often means learning by doing instead of simply learning what told).

Why? Because active learning promotes learning with a clearer, deeper and longer-lasting understanding of concepts and processes; help students better apply knowledge to real world challenges; and develop critical thinking skills.

Note: Exactly what form of active learning exercise should be carefully tied to educational objectives AND debriefed/assessed to see how well those objectives are being met.


B. Growing area of teaching AND research

Active Learning in International Affairs section (ALIAS) of the International Studies Association (see; journals such as International Studies Perspectives section on pedagogy.


II. How has active teaching and learning been applied to UN teaching?


A. Primary method = simulation

i.e. Model UN – either as part of a class or as a stand alone educational exercise – or other UN related simulations; where can really engage in and learn about decision-making and negotiation process in UN setting. A specific non-Model UN example is UNHCR’s (1997) Passages: An Awareness Game Confronting the Plight of Refugees.

Note: again, been an area of research/publication; along with other Model IO, such as Model EU, Model Arab League

ex. Daniel Mc Intosh (2001) “The Uses and Limits of the Model United Nations in an International Relations Classroom.” International Studies Perspectives 2(3): 269-280.

Ex. Pamela S. Chasek (2005) “Power Politics, Diplomacy and Role Playing: Simulating the UN Security Council’s Response to Terrorism.” International Studies Perspectives 6(1): 1-19


III. How could we adapt new/different active learning approaches to UN teaching?


A. Main other active learning categories:

1. Case studies

Use narrative accounts of real international political events in a manner that leaves key themes open to interpretation and debate; wide range of published case materials – so promotes problem-solving and critical thinking analytical skills in addressing a detailed, complex real world case.

Hundreds of existing cases for use, for example the Pew Case Studies Series sponsored by Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy (see

For example, collection of cases, cb302 International Law and Organizations Katie Lavelle (2008)
Course POSC 370J / 470J, Spring 2008. Case Western Reserve University
- Case 154: The Ivory Trade
- Case 108: An Irresistible Force Meets an Immovable Object: The United States at UNCTAD I
- Case 471: Humanitarian Aid in the Midst of Conflict: The UN High Commissioner for Refugees in the Former Yugoslavia
- Case 227: Who Is At the Helm? The Debate Over U.S. Funding for the United Nations
- Case 423: Negotiating an International Regime to Mine the Deep Seabed
- Case 284: Rolling Back Malaria by Nets: Do Public-Private Partnerships Work?
- Case 278: Going to the United Nations: George W. Bush and Iraq
- Case 430: Guatemala, Human Rights, and U.S. Foreign Policy
- Case 462: The Clinton Administration and Multilateral Peace Operations


2. Structured debates

Have timed periods in class for making arguments or critical analysis of a theme; where move beyond simple in-class discussion to provide a closer engagement and analysis of the material (which usually have carefully review in advance of debate) - either assigned roles for debates in advance or asked to adopt a position in class.

> Personal example Structured debate: regionalism vs. universalism


3. “Alternative texts”

Source material drawn upon to support teaching beyond standard textbooks or other readings
a. film and video
b. television
c. music
d. comics and cartoons
e. memoirs
f. news articles or editorials

> Personal example “Alternative text”
a. ACUNS 2004 film Uncertain Soil: The Story of United Nations Peacekeeping and American Model UN video series on UN General Assembly
b. Kofi Annan mediating a dispute between monsters on Sesame Street


4. Service-learning

Experiential learning designed to provide a needed service to the community, while allowing students to learn and apply course concepts in the real world (i.e. not just community service, in that clear link between coursework and volunteer activity).

Ex. could tie to service in UN-related organization or field


5. Technology

Wide range of possibilities, from basic use of web-pages and listserv discussions to much greater use of instructional technology such as virtual learning communities through, for example, videoconferencing or more contained course management software like Blackboard. Can include working with on-line archives; on-line interactive games and simulations such as those through

UN’s Cyberschoolbus Global Teaching and Learning Project
( that has links to on-line games, including UNHCR’s Against All Odds; UN’s International Strategy for Disaster Reduction “Stop Disasters” on-line video simulation; WFP “Food Force” game.

> Personal Example
Human Rights quiz ( in honor of 60th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

IV. Brainstorming?

How can we reflect on other “best practices” being used; i.e. experiences of others teaching about UN - what has succeeded and what has not worked well.

Also, reactions to different types of active learning that have not been used much previously and how/whether these would be seen as positive additions to the classroom teaching the UN.

Note: For further information on active learning and international studies, including active learning workshops in this area, see:

UN Simulations tools for UN Teaching


Presentation by John Mathiason


The United Nations System and the international public sector generally is one of the most complex public institutional settings ever devised and understanding how it works is a major teaching challenge. Among the key issues that have to be conveyed are:

  1. Decision-making takes place in a non-sovereign environment, meaning that no one is really in charge;
  2. Individual nation-states cannot pursue their interest in an unchecked manor because of the linkages among issues, made more important because of globalization;
  3. The main form of decision-making is by consensus, which is difficult to describe (and which has never been defined in international law);
  4. There are more stakeholders with more influence than at the national level.

One method of showing these aspects, when applied to negotiation and decision-making is through the use of simulations. To an extent this has been done for some time using Model United Nations. However, while these approximate some of the procedural lessons, they are much too free-form to ensure appropriate learning. At the Maxwell School, we have used simulations for the Capstone of our International Relations masters program. In May 2008, for example, we simulated the negotiations to take place at the 14th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in December 2008.



Simulation webpage

Properly designed, a simulation can convey the complexity of United Nations intergovernmental decision-making. However, if simulations are to be effective, they need careful preparation, including:


  1. Narrowing the scope of the simulated negotiation to an issue that can reasonably lead to a decision. In the case of the Maxwell simulation this meant concentrating on one of the issues, shared vision, and narrowing the focus in this to two specific questions (what emissions reduction target by when, and how is burden sharing to be arranged).
  2. Specifying instructions for each participant (representing a State) based on real positions, but with options open for agreement.
  3. Having adequate background documents. In the case of the Maxwell simulation this included an "Executive Director's Report" that set and constrained the context. The evidence from the Capstone is that the exercise was successful in conveying the sense of how international negotiations take place and the context.

Development Education

Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD)

Summer School: "Social, Cultural and Economic Aspects of Education in Conflict"

Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

The Academic Council of the United Nations System (ACUNS), Bonn

Development Education and the Rediscovery

of our Humanity

Coordinator: Felipe Revollo Ph.D. M.Sc. (DERN, NUI, Irish Aid, Ireland)

Emma Ruiz Ph.D. (CUCSH, University of Guadalajara, Mexico)

Laura Patricia Cruz Ruiz B.A. (CONACYT- CIBIOGEM , Mexico)

Luiz Carlos Ceriotti Bombassaro Ph.D. (UFRGS, Porto Alegre, Brasil)

María Christina de S. Campos Ph.D. (Sao Paulo University, Brasil)

María Cecilia Plested Álvarez Ph.D. (GITT, University of Antioquia, Colombia)

"The simple idea that our differences are more important than our common humanity... When the human genome was sequenced... the most interesting thing to me as a non-scientist was the discovery that human beings with their three billion genomes are 99.9 percent identical genetically. So if you look around this vast crowd today, at the military caps and the baseball caps and the cowboy hats and the turbans, if you look at all the different colors of skin, all the heights, all the widths, all the everything, it's all rooted in one-tenth of one percent of our genetic make-up. Don't you think it's interesting that not just people you find appalling, but all the rest of us, spend 90 percent of our lives thinking about that one-tenth of one percent?1]

B. Clinton, Harvard College Class Day 2007.

The international discussion on socio-political and economic "development" has indirectly reinforced the division between poor and rich, between Developing Countries and Developed Countries and between countries of the South and countries of the North. This is because this discussion defines a series of concepts and parameters which over-emphasize the differences and divisions between different societies, cultures and religions in the world, while forgetting to emphasize their similarities.

Ironically, technology has not helped. Thanks to its advancement, we can easily connect trade with and travel to even the most abandoned regions of the world. The impact of technology has been greatest in Europe where electronic networks and the use of an international language (English) have increased connectivity, where border treaties, economic and currency economic integration have led to the increase of trade and travel. Apparently Europe and more generally the planet, has been transformed into a smaller place to live.

In spite of this, it seems that not only do we lack understanding towards each other, we do not even seem to want to understand each other.

Why else would we highlight those features and elements that make us different and opposed to each other?

Some people might argue that the latter is the result of the dominance of a Western, expansive neo-liberal power, most evident in the "War on Terror" which has deepened the differences between races and religions and awakened and radicalized old regionalist and nationalist movements as an apparent defence mechanism for guaranteeing cultural survival.

It is also worth considering whether these reactions might may also have been caused by a growing global fear of anything considered to be "external" or, according to Umberto Eco, a threat due to the inability to promote an intercultural dialogue that recognizes what really unites us behind the facade of others' symbols and colours: our humanity!

Increasing political and religious manipulation, along with the international media sensationalism and distortion of information after the events of 9/11 have generated more uncertainty, a collective impotence and a kind of global fear of anything called "multicultural" which would falsely seem to justify the presence of cultural authorities who decide publicly what is good, bad or simply different and opposed to the local context.

Worst of all is that this kind of cultural censorship has expanded so rapidly in every corner of the world that today it seems to be a natural part of life, with citizens passively accepting that even certain cultural elements and symbols such as veils, crosses and books are "logically" banned because of the danger that they supposedly represent. As Günter Grass stated at the beginning of the new millennium: "We know that the desire to destroy a hated book is still (or once more) part of the spirit of our times and that when necessary it finds appropriate telegenic expression and therefore a mass audience. What is much worse, however, is that the persecution of writers, including the threat of murder and murder itself, is on the rise throughout the world, so much so that the world has grown accustomed to the terror of it."[2]

In order to confront the above, it is necessary to emphasize that in the field of Development Education no cultural gatekeepers or propagators of a culture of fear exist, but rather promoters of dialogue who are sensitive and open to the search for what is common and that which unites.

Individual characteristics, cultural roots and identity should not be considered as fixed and static obstacles to dialogue, but rather as elements which are defined by a number of factors (age, sex, language, religion, culture, etc.) through which every person and society are in a permanent process of construction and deconstruction.

It is even more problematic when individuals concentrate only on a single aspect that dominates the personality of others, thus creating divisions and conflicts leading to the justification of use and abuse of certain common words in the Western world revealing - once again - the absence of dialogue and cultural exchange. As Prof. Ghassan Salamé stated at the international Davos Annual Meeting 2004: "I'm not happy neither with the word respect nor tolerance. I'm not happy with respect because in the concept of respect you do recognize the other's otherness, but you somehow establish cold war with him and because you establish a code of conduct where you don't trespass his domain and you invite him not to trespass your domain. So respect is only a form of political correctness. I'm not happy with tolerance either because in tolerance you implicitly recognize the balance of forces between you and the other. You say that between you and me there is a strong and there is a weak. The weak recognizes the balance of forces and recognizes who is strong and who is weak. The strong tolerates as well that there is a weak and that this weak should survive beside him. To manage our differences neither respect nor tolerance is the central concept, but dialogue"[3].

The great dilemma of post modernity, and particularly for the supporters of a Western development model, is that development has only been measured in quantitative terms and is based on the sole assumption that accelerating the forces of the market is enough to allow people (called "consumers") to live in peace and harmony. While being exposed to amazing technological advances, massive industrial growth and miraculous scientific discoveries, the importance of nurturing human relationships and living in community has been forgotten.

Modern man "has brought this whole world to an awe-inspiring threshold of the future. He has reached new and astonishing peaks of scientific success. He has produced machines that think and instruments that peer into the unfathomable ranges of interstellar space. He has built gigantic bridges to span the seas and gargantuan buildings to kiss the skies. His airplanes and spaceships have dwarfed distance, placed time in chains, and carved highways through the stratosphere... Yet, in spite of these spectacular strides in science and technology, and still unlimited ones to come, something basic is missing. There is a sort of poverty of the spirit which stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance. The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers"[4].

Development Education today holds the great promise of promoting the "sense of humanity" starting with Third Level institutions in which science has often been exploited to justify in a "rational and scientific" way, with the help of anthropometry, craniometry, phrenology, physiognomy and other disciplines, the division between "upper cultures" and "lower cultures", between those called "civilized" and those called "sub humans".

Of course, the search of what is and what makes us human has not always been an easy task. For centuries, education has been seen by the elites and ruling classes as a powerful tool which has helped to nurture and disseminate a series of prejudices and stereotypes about different races and ethnic groups in order to maintain the status quo, especially in the old colonies of the South, or to justify slavery, racism, apartheid and the Holocaust.

In this regard, a system of beliefs and mindsets are still being articulated worldwide, spreading a kind of cultural poverty which highlights differences and maintains political and economical dependencies. For example, last year in October, Dr. James Watson, Nobel prize winner in 1962 for his participation in the discovery of the structure of DNA was quoted as saying he was "inherently gloomy about the prospect of Africa" because "all our social policies are based on the fact that their intelligence is the same as ours, whereas all the testing says not really"[5].

Similarly, a couple of months ago, Dr. Richard Lynn, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, and Dr. Tatu Vanhanen, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland, stated that the differences in national income (per capita gross domestic product) correlate with differences in the average national intelligence quotient (IQ)[6], which not only suggests a certain type of cultural mental retardation, but at the same time seems to confirm a kind of racial incapacity in some less advantaged societies to solve their own socioeconomic problems or to reduce their high levels of poverty thus justifying immediate help from the most developed countries of the world.

Unfortunately, in many industrialized countries the history and processes of change that preceded the current levels of economic growth and development have been forgotten. Indeed, it is often incorrectly believed that development is an exclusive privilege of few nations and that this privilege has accompanied these societies since times immemorial. Therefore, Development Education should not only have the knowledge and understanding of the realities and stories of others as one of its main objectives, but also the knowledge and understanding of those realities and stories which are part of its own local situation in order to be aware that in its own tragedies and dramas of the past and the present we share exactly the same nakedness of our humanity with other people. As Gabriel García Márquez points out: "Venerable Europe would perhaps be more perceptive if it tried to see us in its own past. If only it recalled that London took three hundred years to build its first city wall, and three hundred years more to acquire a bishop; that Rome labored in a gloom of uncertainty for twenty centuries, until an Etruscan King anchored it in history; and that the peaceful Swiss of today, who feast us with their mild cheeses and apathetic watches, bloodied Europe as soldiers of fortune, as late as the Sixteenth Century. Even at the height of the Renaissance, twelve thousand lansquenets in the pay of the imperial armies sacked and devastated Rome and put eight thousand of its inhabitants to the sword"[7].

The focus on emphasizing the major problems currently affecting Developing Countries coupled with an extremely paternalistic attitude has led to the point of contemplating such large crowds of "poor of the South" as moving like hungry ants to the North as a kind of second-class individual, or as faceless numbers that fill annual statistics reports. Unfortunately, centuries of colonial history, neo-colonial mentality and practice along with the conception of racial superiority and Western cultural dominance (even through formal educational processes!) have generated a dehumanizing attitude towards the so called ‘Third World' and the belief that it represents a real threat to the civilized world. As Koïchiro Matsuura, Director-General of the UNESCO noted at the Dakar Conference in April 2000: "Education has neither always nor everywhere been used to free people from the bonds of ignorance. It has also served, and continues to serve, to buttress the powers that be, to generate exclusion and violence, and sometimes, as we are bound to recognize, to fan the flames of conflict"[8].

Undoubtedly, the most important human right of all and therefore the first to be promoted and defended is the right to be considered a human. Without this first condition it will be difficult or almost impossible to guarantee that the same rights

will be respected for all people in our global society.

Final Thoughts

Development Education aims to help people understand and become aware of the world and their interdependencies, while at the same time helping to connect people through the shared elements of our humanity, all the while promoting social engagement which "infers mutual listening, reciprocity and dialogue ... focused on something beyond the self"[9].

Of course, it is good to discover and understand the cultural and socio-economic differences between individuals, nations and regions of the world. At the same time it is important not to focus and concentrate too much on these differences in order to avoid any distortion, division and polarization of reality.

Development Education should promote this sense of humanity, highlighting the fact that that which unites us as human beings is much more than that which divides us.

It may be remembered that academic centers and international personalities have manipulated the research findings in the past, and continue to do so today, to suggest and to justify a kind of cultural and racial inferiority with some supposedly logical assumptions or rational arguments. Even the word development has been technically and intentionally used as a standard by which the West measures the non-West[10] and for which "the very act of measurement contributes to the perpetuation of oppression"[11].

Therefore, Development Education at Third Level has this great historical opportunity, and also a social responsibility to restore the "universal" sense and meaning in which universities were originally created and founded, and to help them to recover their leading role in community as the creators and disseminators of knowledge to the service of humanity.

Although modern universities tend toward the marketisation of education, super specialization of research, divinization of rationality and promotion of competitive practices, today more than ever the need for the mainstreaming of Development Education at Third Level is justified to promote a more interdisciplinary and holistic knowledge that aspires to "cultivate humanity, producing well educated citizens of the world who are able to place the needs of all humanity above their particular loyalties of nationality, religion, ethnicity, gender and class"[12].

Finally, teachers, lecturers and specialists in the field of Development Education especially from Developed Countries should formulate the following questions before selecting the most appropriate content and innovative programs, curriculum and methodologies:

a) Should our best minds be dedicated to understanding and solving our biggest human problems worldwide?

b) Are we human enough to think, reflect and talk about humanity or to feel responsible for the life of others?

c) How can we transmit and stimulate the sense of humanity in our students and in their actions through educational processes?

Of course, these are not rhetorical questions ... these are practical and ethical ones that should be addressed urgently because "30 years from now...our students will judge themselves not on their professional accomplishments alone, but also on how well they have addressed the world's deepest inequities ... on how well they treated people a world away who have nothing in common with them but their humanity. From those to whom much is given, much is expected"[13].


BOLAND, Josephine and McILRATH? ? : "The Process of Localizing Pedagogies for Civic Engagement in Ireland: The Significance of Conceptions, Culture and Context", Higher Education and Civic Engagement: International Perspectives, Chapter 7, p. 84, Wiltshire, Great Britain 2007.

BOURN, Douglas: "Development Education in the Era of Globalization", Police & Practice, A Development Education Review, Issue 1, Reflections and Projections, Centre for Global Education, Impression Print and Design NI Ltd, p. 55, Lisburn, Northern Ireland 2005.

CLINTON, Bill. Harvard College Class Day 2007, Harvard Yard, USA 2007:

CUTTLER, Howard: "The Art of Happiness", Coronet Books, p. 121, London, England 1999.

ESTREMADORO, Winston: "Un País Alucinante", Newspaper "Los Tiempos", 21st December 2007. Cochabamba, Bolivia:

GALEANO, Eduardo: "To Be Like Them", Siglo Veintiuno Editores, May 1991:


GATES, Bill: "Harvard Commencement". USA, June 7, 2007:

GRASS, Günter:

KHOO, Su -Ming, Dialogs. Galway, Republic of Ireland 2008.

KING, Martin. Nobel Lecture, December 11, 1964:

LYNN, Richard. Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of Ulster:

MATSUURA, Koïchiro. Director-General of the UNESCO:

MENCHU, Rigoberta.

NUSSBAUM, Martha: "Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education", Harvard University Press, Cambridge, USA 1997.

O' SHEA, John: "The Tragedy that is the Third World" (Seminar). Siobhán McKenna? ? Theatre. NUI Galway, February 21, 2008:

PAZ, Octavio: Nobel Lecture, December 8, 1990:

REVOLLO FERNANDEZ, Carlos Felipe: "Bildungspolitiken in Kamp gegen die Intergenerationelle und Interkulturelle Reproduktion der Armut in Indigenen Gruppen in Bolivien", Technical University Dresden, p. 89, Dresden, Germany 2005 (in reference to KOOLHASS, Rem: Singapore Sonlines, Thirty Years of Tabula Rasa, 2003)

SALAME, Ghassan. Davos Annual Meeting 2004:

STOREY, Andy: Measuring Development", From the Local to the Global, Pluto Press, pp. 25-40, London, England 2003 (see also SARDAR, Z.: "Development and the Locations of Eurocentrism" in Munck and O'Hearn, Critical Development Theory).

SUSSER, Ida: "Women and AIDS in Africa: Strategies for Hope", The Graduate Center, University of New York:

UNAIDS, "2006 Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic", Chapter 9: The Essential Role of Civil Society, p. 205:

VER BEEK, Kurt Alan: "Spirituality: A Development Taboo", p. 61, London, England 2000.

WATSON, James:

[1] CLINTON, Bill. Harvard College Class Day 2007, Harvard Yard, USA 2007:



[4] Martin Luther King. Nobel Lecture, December 11, 1964:





[9] BOLAND, Josephine and McILRATH? ? : "The Process of Localizing Pedagogies for Civic Engagement in Ireland: The Significance of Conceptions, Culture and Context", Higher Education and Civic Engagement: International Perspectives, Chapter 7, p. 84, Wiltshire, Great Britain 2007.

[10] STOREY, Andy: Measuring Development", From the Local to the Global, Pluto Press, pp. 25-40, London, England 2003 (see also SARDAR, Z.: "Development and the Locations of Eurocentrism" in Munck and O'Hearn, Critical Development Theory).

[11] Idem

[12] NUSSBAUM, Martha: "Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education", Harvard University Press, Cambridge, USA 1997.

[13] GATES, Bill: "Harvard Commencement". USA, June 7, 2007:

Energy Security Data Base 2008

Energy Security Data Base

A database framework to store, link and index UN documents containing contributions relevant to energy security. The database serves as a basis for consolidating and evaluating all relevant aspects of the subject.

The Data Base provides a structure, into which the following entries can be accomodated:

  • an index list with all necessary references (work on this is currently in progress)
  • a set of compilations of selected documents within an agreed keyword structure
  • links to full text documents
  • evaluations of the study group (later stage)

Start Date: Aug. 1st 2008

End Date: none, but progress review every three months

Costs: initially none; will be borne by numeric tech technology consultancy; after exceeding a certain data volume and for data compilation some funding would be useful


  • EnSecIn_live2.xls: Living Index File Concerning Energy Security Publications

Teaching the UN Colloquium Vienna 2008

Title: Regional Colloquium on Innovative Techniques for Teaching the United Nations

22 November 2008, 11:00 - 17:00, Diplomatic Academy, Vienna, Austria

followed by a UNSA meeting to continue our dialogue on a joint concept of UN Studies, scheduled to take place on November 23, 2008, at the Juridicum: For the results, click here.


Draft programme (as of November 14, 2008): download here.



Henrike Paepcke: "Wiki-based social networks – Introducing the UN Studies Portal"

Click here for download.


Organisers and partners


  • Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS)
  • Diplomatic Academy of Vienna
  • Austrian Science and Research Liaison Office (ASO) Ljubljana
  • Central and Eastern European International Studies Association CEEISA

in cooperation with:

  • Academic Forum on Foreign Affairs, Vienna (AFA)
  • Permanent Mission of Austria to the United Nations Office Vienna
  • International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis IIASA Laxenburg
  • Austrian Institute for International Affairs (OIIP)
  • Austrian National Commission for UNESCO
  • United Nations Information Service, Vienna (UNIS)
  • European Training Center for Human Rights, Graz
  • Moscow State Institute of International Relations (to be confirmed)
  • United Nations Studies Association
  • University of Graz Institute of International Law
  • University of Vienna, Institutes of Criminal Law and International Law
  • World Federation of United Nations Associations


Rationale and Objectives

As Global Issues become more and more topical on the political agenda of any country in the world and as the United Nations system is within the existing global system of international relations the central mechanism for global governance responses to global challenges (like e.g. the ongoing UNFCCC climate change negotiations as the process to coordinate globally climate change mitigation and adaptation measures or the Millennium Development Goals as a shared global vision for development agreed upon in the UN Millennium Declaration, etc.), it is important that there are developed appropriate human capacities in each country with the knowledge on the functioning of the UN system in order to enable all relevant stakeholders to contribute to the success of efforts of the international community to address global challenges and in order to enable countries to defend their interests according to the rules of play. In this context higher/tertiary education plays a key role and obviously there are huge potentials for mutual learning in addressing these human resources development issues in an international/regional setting.

Therefore, with this colloquium the organizers want to

  • get a glimpse of who is doing what in the field of teaching on the United Nations system in Tertiary education in Central, East and Southeast Europe
  • identify and discuss innovative initiatives on teaching about the UN system
  • contribute to regional cooperation

Expected concrete outcomes of the colloquium are

  • a compendium/handbook on “Innovative Techniques/Approaches in Teaching about the UN System” that should published in the book series of Diplomatic Academy in Vienna (to be confirmed))
  • project initiatives for regional cooperation in UN related human resources development Expected number of participants: 30

Travel grants: The Austrian Science and Research Liaison office Ljubljana will offer travel grants for up to 10 participants from SEE countries (for details contact please Mr. Miroslav Polzer,



Agenda UNSA meeting in Vienna

November 23, 2008

The United Nations Studies Association will hold an informal meeting on Sunday, 23 November to discuss its future work regarding developing a joint concept of UN Studies: What defines UN Studies, and why do we need such a field of studies?



For the detailed results, click here.


Meeting Time and Venue

Time: The meeting will take place from 10.30am until 1:30pm.

Venue: Juridicum /Law School Building, Hohenstaufengasse, Room SEM 6.

*** Please meet us at 10:20am at the entrance of the Law School, because we will need to be escorted to the room.


 Tentative Agenda (as of November 12)

Our official announcement including a tentative agenda can be downloaded here.


10:30am - 10:45am: Welcome and introduction (Henrike Paepcke, UNSA).

10:45am - 11:45am: Joint Discussion.


  • What defines UN Studies, and why do we need such a field of studies?
  • How to expand UN Studies-related activities (regionally, topically)?
  • How can we best incorporate the outcome of the Regional Colloquium on Teaching the UN? How can we better raise awareness and work more closely with ACUNS and other partners?

Noon - 12:30pm: Report on the planned Journal of International Organization Studies (Kirsten Haack, UNSA).

12:30pm - 1:15pm: Outlook on and discussion of our future work program, including the planned enhancement of our wiki portal / online presence.

1:15pm - 1:30pm: brief UNSA business meeting(slight change of our by-laws).

Report Colloquium

Report of the Vienna Colloquium

November 22, 2008


Session I: Welcome

Welcome by Michael Platzer, ACUNS Liaision Officer in Vienna

Outline of past, present and future activities

- Click here for the full text of his foreword for the Diplomatic Academy Favorita Papers: DAFavoritaPapersPlatzer

Gerhard Reiweger, Deputy Director of the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna

Topic is important, as are the location - UN city- and the venue - Diplomatic Academy with expertise, global focus, multilingual teaching environment

-> opportunity to intensify academic networking

-> focus on South-Eastern Europe

Helmut Böck, Permanent Representative of Austria to the UN
  • UN system at core of effective multilateralism
  • different views on the UN system, and how the UN works
  • specific role of universities in educating students
Keynote: Thomas Stelzer, Assistant SG for Policy Coordination and Inter Agency Affairs, UN New York
  • understanding of the UN depends on practical experience - not reading
  • How to act in this world with / through the UN?
  • limited perception as UN as UN of member states – today: UN of people, new stakeholder approach

Teaching about UN:


  • Through the lens of a practitioner
  • Teach students about their own role, shared interests, how to build / expand consensus , Raise awareness for interconnectedness of people, increase solidarity

–> focus is on the convening function of the UN

concrete teaching tasks:

  • provide linkage between UN and stakeholders
  • diffuse UN message

new UN-academia relationship:

  • initiative: better link UN with academia – draft paper “the UN Academic Impact” (Nov. 3)
  • links are not (yet) institutionalized
  • encourage specific action with the aim to enlarge UN convening role, such as stakeholder events to define global norms and discuss ways to better implement them
  • new research projects (UNESCO), or Global Compact alliances with business schools

more recommendations / opportunities, inter alia:

  • strategic communication of UN activities
  • create new educational opportunities regardless of race etc.
  • build high-educational capacities
  • encourage global citizenship through education
  • address concrete issues such as MDGs, Peace and Security etc.
  • promote intercultural dialogue

identify challenge –> build consensus –> global solution

Session II: Thematic Introduction, Brief Status Quo CEE/SEE

Patricia Goff, Executive Director, ACUNS

UN is normally integrated in Global governance teaching contexts – leads to more theoretical perspective, leaves out practitioners’ experience - > growing demand for students

Recommendation: Use opportunities to bring practitioners into the classroom, using active learning techniques


  • IR course – case-based learning combined with practitioner guests: student groups working on a certain issue, drafting recommendations, then getting practitioner view and direct feedback
  • MA course – one case from different angles , same procedure as above
  • along with pre- and post-test

Question: Is it appropriate / desirable to be advocating on behalf of the UN?

-> provide corrective to overly positive views / perceptions in Canada – different to negative perceptions in the U.S.

-> addendum: advocate the achievements of the UN, specifically address legislators.


Methodologies and approaches differ vastly – what traditions exist in CEE/SEE region?

Milan Brglez, Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Ljubljana


  • no developed community of IR scholars
  • open to interventions by Americans - established network in 1994
  • scholarly response not overly enthusiastic
  • 1996 foundation of a regional International Studies Association, regular conferences, own publication
  • WISC conference in Ljubljana, July 2008, participants from 70 countries

Status of UN(-related) studies:

  • No UN Studies, due to lack of history in the field of IR ( IOs are being taught)
  • UN Studies should be transdisciplinary: IR, political science, sociology, economy, law
  • New perspectives on the UN – focus is on specific subjects, going beyond the member states
  • Techniques: simulations across universities


Axel Wüstenhagen, Pilot Study UN Information Service Vienna

Questionnaire Structure and Results.

  • covering a broad range of topics (IO, UN, human rights, international law, etc.)
  • sent to 240 university lecturers, institutes
  • 392 courses, lectures, etc. were identified. Only 56 dealt with UN, mostly covering IL issues. Of all political science courses 26% do not cover the UN at all. 46 research papers.


  • room for more specialized courses on the UN functions, activities, reform
  • role of Vienna as main UN-HQ not reflected at academic level
  • focus less on UN but predominantly on EU issues


Message from Jean-Marc Coicaud, UN University Office at the UN in New York

Limitations of UN research and teaching

  • UN not viewed as leading actor in global affairs.
  • Western-centric / provincial view.
  • -> UNU tries to establish global knowledge community about the UN.
  • e.g. by organizing events to disseminate knowledge and skills (from HQ to the ground).
Discussion points:

UN initiative to establish links with academia -> UN-OLA: Audiovisual library on International Law

  • Teaching of IL at Vienna universities mostly at law faculties

Advocating the UN? Neither blaming, neither praising – but focus on issues such as HR, limitations and opportunities

  • Lack of holistic approach of what the UN can achieve in a certain field, such as conflict resolution (Darfur)
  • -> such matters should be moved into theoretical analysis, students wish to be involved in UN activities in an informal professional manner

Role of knowledge production in GG? -> articulation mostly done by academia

  • Juxtaposing EU and UN Studies is a retreat to provincialism. Teaching programs should be open to global as well as local society levels.
  • More journals with reliable knowledge

Teaching international nuclear law – findings:

  • Governments matter.
  • Academia is important in terms of transfer of knowledge, allow and foster open discussion of critical failures of the UN / activities

Consider the anthropological view -> integrated in UN system? Rather diffuse ideas, multi-cultural. -> World Bank effort (ended in 2004).


Session III: Simulations, Role Play, Structured Debates, Case Studies, etc.

Matthias Ketteman, University of Graz: Using Structured Debates

  • Interdisciplinary technique, integrating different (cultural) backgrounds, ability to create empathy important for future professional life, drafting / writing / presentation skills

Helmut Prantner - University of Vienna: Historical Model UNs

  • HistoMUN? focuses on Security Council , problem-based learning approach
  • and SISPR (Students Initiative for Security Policy Research), examines all aspects of the concept of securita

Stefan Schuman - University of Vienna: Law Clinics as experiental / service learning

  • teaching methodology addresses practical questions, students in direct exchange with prisoners and practitioners, students are expected to understand one prisoner’s verdict

Ingfrid Schütz-Müller, University of Vienna: Excursions to UN Headquarters in combination with courses

Ervin Gömbös, Head of UNA Hungary: UN Academy – series of 10 lectures and consultations once a week

Alexander Siedschlag, Center for European Security Studies, WWEDU World Wide Education: Conference Report “The UN and the information age – education for the next generation of the “peoples of the United Nations”, November 2007

  • Technical side: e-teaching / e-science combined with intellectual framework, e.g. covering the question of how to use new media in support of post-conflict reconstruction, human rights
  • -> knowledge, not technology is the driving force – use technology to transfer knowledge to even distant, under-developed regions
  • -> creating spaces for intercultural exchange and communication

Magdalena Pampalk, University of Vienna: International Criminal Justice Course

Maj Julardzija, Peace Support Operations Training Center (PSOTC) Sarajevo: Human Capacity Building for UN mandated Peace Support Operations

  • Aim is to enhance understanding of how to communicate and cooperate with agencies, etc.
  • realistic exercises in fictional countries: e.g. disaster management

Karin Kneissl, Webster University: Conference Simulation

  • critical issues: lack of access to internships, absence of supervision and reasonable tasks

Teresa Peintinger, University of Vienna: Active Learning – Field Experiences with UN Guidelines

  • adressing the juvenile prisoners / justice problem – experienced own change of view (less victim-focused), gained insight in practical impact

Gerhard Budin, University of Vienna, Center for Translation Studies

  • Languages, Terminologies, Translation, Interpretation
  • -> in close cooperation with UN Translation Service, interest in multilingual e-services, new methods in interpreting

Schön, Fachhochschule / School of Applied Sciences Grems (?)

  • attends export-oriented management course, provides business-related view
  • course includes Guest lectures and study trips – financial and IR / IL pillar
  • -> outcome: acknowledge different dimensions, understand limitations and opportunities of key actors


Session IV: Technology Enhanced Learning about the UN System -> Active Learning Techniques

Maher Nasser, UNIS Vienna: Computer based materials useful for education or training on the UN


  • Focusing on certain themes such as hunger, e.g. provided by UNICEF or UNHCR
  • Cyber School Bus , online games for kids and youth -> see list of online references

Karin Bruckmüller, University of Vienna : E-learning


  • good alternative to traditional teaching
  • advantages: wider audience, wider access, lowering travel costs, guest speakers
  • synchronous online teaching (linking in real-time), multimedia presentations
  • Online-Teaching

Ivana Jelic: …

Ivana Krstic ,Faculty of Law, University of Belgrad


  • UN as part of IL courses (international public law)
  • Interactive lectures combined with seminars, role-plays, simulations, etc.
  • Emphasis on writing (essays, etc.)

Slawomir Redo, UNODC, Justice & Integrity Unit, Division for Operations: The UNODC computer-based tools for the international criminal justice education


  • on different themes (based on UN conventions - drugs, organized crime, etc.)
  • Workshops with practitioners and academics
  • Lessons learned: Put the right message into the right (local) context

Dietmar Lampert, Centre for Social Innovation, Vienna: presentation of the broadband videoconferencing tool “GLOBAL - Global Linkage Over Broadband Links”

  • ""
  • Virtual conference center comprises: virtual auditorium, event repository, virtual corridor

Presentation on the UN Digital Library

  • Proposal: establish UN Studies Library Network;identify relevant models, courses

Report about the IAEA

John Mathiason, Syracuse University: Virtual classroom

  • Presentation of the Elluminate software, including shared whiteboard, downloads, online chat / instant messaging, sharing desktops and applications

Session V: CEE/SEE regional cooperation on UN Studies and Teaching: The Way Ahead?!

Walter Lichem

  • Create interdisciplinary platform, strengthen bridge between academia and policy process Brglez: regional perspective – not necessarily a generational matter
  • Spread the message
  • Share methods, knowledge about tools
  • Using new technologies

Patricia Goff

  • ACUNS as major facilitator
  • launches new website, with new means for communication, in combination with UNSA wiki portal

Results UNSA Meeting

15 participants - representing ACUNS, the University of Vienna ( various faculties) , the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the University of Montenegro, the European University in Skopje, and the Austrian Science and Research Liaison Office Ljubljana - met at the Juridicum (Law School Building) on Sunday, November 23, for an informal discussion about UNSA's collaborative effort to develop a joint concept of UN Studies. 

They developed a tentative work agenda for 2009, including:

- a summer school for the ne(x)t generation, training / using new media

- a UNSA meeting prior to the ACUNS 2009 annual meeting in Trinidad and Tobago to connect with potential partners from the Caribbean who might have an interest in UN Studies.

- continued UNSA dialogues to get to know people from other regions and their perspectives (to follow-up on the colloqium's theme)

- continued UNSA Discussion via discussion papers and wiki portal to further advance our joint work on UN Studies concept, including theory-building, with the opportunity to publish results in the Journal on International Organization Studies .

Thanks to all who participated in this meeting!

Results of our discussion 


Kick-off: Reviewing the UNSA Dialogues

  • Too ambitious?
  • Too many features?
  • Technological problems?
  • Too complicated?
  • Too abstract topics
  • Suggestions for future topics -> more issue-related discussion
  • Issues were missing in yesterday's discussion


Key concern: How to better promote the need for UN Studies?


  • address diverse audiences
  • get in the voices of the region
  • have phone conferences and featured presenter (15 minutes)
  • initial presentations / thoughts posted on the wiki portal - well in advance
  • the issue discussion is over, then what? How to integrate results into our work?


Proposed solution: Combination of three, complimentary tracks of action:

I. Online conversation to get to learn new views / members' & pracitioners' views - with a focus on (practical) experiences, case studies, issues

II. wiki portal-facilitated (more academic, theoretical, philosophical) exchange: covering main thoughts of mission statement incl. theoretical aspects of UN Studies -> can be deepened in face-to-face meetings / workshops; try to synthesize / generalize practical experiences

III. Build knowledge-base of syllabi as input -> provides further food for thought

Related issues / questions raised:

Challenge: build bridge between practice and theory

  • Does this work in the suggested, three-fold proceeding?
  • Who does the connecting / reflecting? Who places the individual experiences and views in the wider theoretical framework?

How to tackle the wide scope of UN Studies?

  • different UN organizations with specific strategy to communicate their message and reach out to youth, for instance
  • invite members of UNESCO to speak on a specific issue
  • translate this input into discussion papers
  • enhance multilingual, multi-cultural dialogue across all disciplines

Learning aspects

  • interest in learning more about different understandings of certain general concepts
  • bring students, practitioners and academics together to learn about different views (on the UN system, various related aspects), different problem understanding
  • think about methodology used in classes, mixture about theoretical and practical approaches
  • importance of awareness-raising, reach out to more regions
  • building a knowledge-base about global governance -> UN system critical part in this effort

engage and empower the regions

  • teaching in a region with almost no infrastructure -> biggest challenge to act as facilitator / transmitter / (sole) connection between local (students) and international level
  • interested in more cooperation and dialogue, support of all kinds

enhance communication and discourse in general

  • feedback channels of students doing internships at the UN -> empower students, help them speak up
  • install podcasts as new feature, in addition to bookmarks / tagging
  • motivate people to put more resources and links, syllabi compendium online -> add more content
  • phone conferences covering the entire world -> accommodate people in all time zones
  • record lectures, put audio/video files online and organize discussion around this initial, already existing content


Possible follow-up


  • Regional network
  • Make use of UN infrastructure, in Vienna
  • Build Knowledge-base, use UN's work on terminology
    • -> add links to portal, based on provided list
    • -> add value: multilingual, offer criticism / rating / feedback / comments on link lists, could also be done with syllabi
    • -> ask users for feedback: is this helpful


  • Incorporate philosophical, linguistic dimension -> see track II


Ne(x)t Generation project 2009


  • organize interactive experiment/ prototype to learn from, share experiences with wider ACUNS and UNSA membership
  • connect with the net generation
  • start with face-to-face meeting (Spring / Summer 2009), continued online (dual approach)
  • work on specific issue, facilitated by new media
  • Which students? Which teachers? They should learn from each other
  • we should also include practitioners
  • perhaps back to back to UNESCO Summer School in early July
  • apply for grant in 2010. So start smaller in 2009.
  • incorporate results of the ACUNS annual meeting in summer school idea.
  • have December 4 online discussion on this topic - how to best prepare for Trinidad / the workshop?

NEW see also: Vienna Summer School




  • Caribbean countries offer practical experience
  • offer academic contributions
  • such substantive issues fit best into the ACUNS meeting agenda
  • local university tries to gather regional UNAs


Separate UNSA meeting / workshop

  • continue philosophical / theoretical discussion on UN Studies?
  • use opportunity to network - who is who, and who aspires / does what in regard to UN Studies? Go beyond UNAs, however, and broaden outreach to human rights experts, etc.
  • ensure engagement of participants who cannot attend in person. Use new media wisely, chose technologies that really work (no crackling sound, or disrupted videostreaming). A blog or podcast might work, will be offered by relaunched ACUNS website, and could be used during annual meeting.
  • general meeting focus on regions: Regional initiatives? Role of regional networks? Role models? What defines regional power? How is power distributed?
  • use the discussion papers for a more substantial exploration of UN Studies

WISC Conference Ljubljana 2008

Second Global International Studies Conference

Ljubljana, Slovenia, July 23 - 26, 2008
organized by the WISC Network:

UNSA member panel: "Supranational Leadership and the UN Secretary-General"

The UN Secretary-General and Global Governance: Dimensions of Supranational Leadership

Supranational leadership i.e. leadership by international organizations and their leaders, such as the UN Secretary-General, has received increased attention as constructivist research and histories of ideas have become part of mainstream IR thinking. As a result of this new, organizational perspective, UN (and other international organizations) scholars increasingly draw on other subjects and disciplines to make sense of activity that is not captured by the traditional state-centric approach in which multilateral diplomacy and material power dominate. In this panel we will take stock of recent research on supranational leadership and aim to look ahead to outline the future of supranational leadership research.



Supranational Leadership and the UN Secretary-General: Challenges and Prospects

Kent Kille, College of Wooster

According to the United Nations Charter, the Secretary-General serves the member-states as the "chief administrative officer". However, the role played by the Secretary-General has also greatly extended across time in ways that asserts the independence of office and the United Nations beyond member-state control. The tension between these roles reflects the challenge faced by a state-centric view taken by many international relations scholars from theoretical approaches emphasizing the independent agency of international organizations and the supranational leadership provided through these organizations. This paper reflects on the potential leadership to be provided by the office-holder in global governance. The analysis provides implications for future research on the UN Secretary-General specifically and the place of supranational leadership in international studies more generally.


Instruments and Strategies of Supranational Leadership: The Political and Administrative Roles of the UN Secretary-General

Kirsten Haack, Open University

Research on supranational leadership has cast light on a number of aspects of the UN Secretary-General's practice and potential for influence, demonstrating several instances of leadership. While both roles - administrative and political - are acknowledged as potential opportunities for leadership, research has focussed on the political aspect, paying less attention to leadership exercised through administration. However, focussing on discourses and the role of ideas in shaping global governance shows that the political and administrative dimensions of the Secretary-General's role are equally 'political' i.e. prone to influence, as the Secretary-General defines ideas and with it member states' understanding through the development of UN practices. This paper analyses instruments for leadership outlined by the UN Charta and identifies strategies through which the UN Secretary-General exercises leadership. In doing so, this paper highlights the need for further development of constructivist approaches to define the future of supranational leadership research.


Working Towards an Integrative Framework to Assess the Efficacy of Supranational Leadership

Henrike Paepcke, UN Studies Working Group/Düsseldorf Institute for Foreign & Security Policy

The leadership qualities of UN Secretaries-General have been debated ever since. A growing literature concerns with the practical-political as well as the personal-anecdotal side of the office, whereas the theoretical and methodological foundations remain largely underexposed. In light of the goal to capture all facets of supranational leadership - including the organizational and psychological dimensions - this paper will address the question why and how supranational leadership matters by shedding light on the "impact" side. Assuming that the SG office(-holder) is mirror as well as catalyst of social change on the global level, the challenge is to create a theoretically sound framework to assess the efficacy of global leadership in real settings.

I will present an interdisciplinary, multidimensional model to analyze the different roles of the Secretary-General - ranging from the world's moral voice and independent protagonist in world politics to a mere instrument of major powers - as well as the interplay between these roles. Applying this model to exemplary decision-making on peace and security issues, this contribution will demonstrate the complexity to conceptualize supranational leadership and the resulting need for collaborative, interdisciplinary research.



New Media Colloquium Wels 2007

UNSA participated in the World wide real-virtual colloquium:

The United Nations and the New Media/Information Age – Education for the Next Generation of the People of the United Nations

Date: Friday, 16 November 2007, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.


“Kraftwerkcenter” (the world’s most modern cinema/digital conference center) in Wels, Upper Austria, Austria

or by virtual participation via the Internet (

organized and hosted by

WWEDU – World Wide Education, Academic Distance-Learning College, Wels/Austria -

Academic Council of the United Nations System (ACUNS)


This colloquium was taking place in an innovative hybrid format, combining an on-site event in Wels/Austria with a virtual occurrence mediated through the Internet. Some panels included on-site as well as virtual speakers to make full use of the new media potentials for this colloquium, which was dedicated to the role of the new media and newly established information infrastructure for educational purposes – better communicating the United Nations system to the people.

The themes of the event just were as innovative as its format. The Wels UN Colloquium centered on leading questions such as:

  • How do new communication technologies and their inherent new opportunities for interaction of people and social communities impact the United Nations’ ability to act?
  • What are the new media’s consequences for global networking and international community action in forging and realizing global policy initiatives?
  • How can the United Nations system make use of the new media and information infrastructure in order to transmit its ideas and communicate its mission to the youth who will form the next generation of opinion leaders and decision-makers?

In addition to its thematic objectives, the Wels UN Colloquium also provided a platform for presenting and discussing newly launched projects in the field of education-focused UN studies as well as relevant database projects.


Julia and Henrike presented the UN Studies Portal. We are working on a full article on the main features and purpose of our portal, to be posted soon.

John Mathiason participated virtually (from Brazil).

For a summary of his and other presentations, please refer to the full conference material provided at the conference webpage at


  • Program
  • Round-up powerpoint presentation by Paul A. Linnarz, Deutsche Welle, Bonn/Germany
  • Summary: "The UN enters the information age"
  • Selected presentations and videos (more coming soon):
    • Video of Mr. Nowak
    • Video of Mrs. Hankey
  • Photo gallery (coming soon)
  • Coverage by Wels regional television


Program (Friday, November 16, 2007)


09:00-09:30 a.m. - Opening addresses

09:30-10:00 a.m. - Keynote address

Edward Mortimer, Director, Salzburg Seminar: “The UN and the New Information Age”

10:00-12:00 a.m. - Panel: “UN Studies and Distance Learning/Education: New Technologies for Research & Teaching”

Moderator: Michael Platzer, Visiting Professor, Global Media, Bond University/Australia

  • Foster Ofosu, WWEDU – World Wide Education, Wels/Austria: “Long Distance Learning in Developing Countries”
  • Henrike Paepcke/Julia Harfensteller, UN Studies Working Group, Berlin/Germany: “ The Wiki Portal of the UN Studies Group
  • Axel Wuestenhagen, former Director, United Nations Information Center: “Registry of UN Studies in Austria”
  • Veronika Bauer, European Training and Research Centre for Human Rights and Democracy/Institute of International Law and International Relations, University of Graz/Austria: “Survey of Digital Human Rights Libraries”
  • John Mathiason (virtual panelist), Syracuse University/USA: “Examining the UN System Using International Public Sector Management Methods”

12:00-01:00 p.m. - Lunch break

01:00-03:30 p.m. - Panel: Human Rights and New Information Technology

Moderator: Wolfram Karl, Director, Austrian Human Rights Institute, Salzburg and University of Salzburg/Austria

  • Manfred Nowak (video), Director, Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights, Vienna/Austria: “Potential of New Technology in the Work of UN Rapporteurs”
  • Stephanie Hankey (video), Director, Tactical Technology Collective (UK/India): “Human Rights Defenders and Digital Advocacy”
  • Ethan Zuckerman (video), Harvard University/Global Voices: “Connecting Social Justice NGOs”
  • Sami Ben Gharbia (virtual panelist), Global Voice Online: “Digital Advocacy: Netizen Watch Dogs”
  • Matthias C. Kettemann, Institute of International Law and International Relations, University of Graz/Austria: “Human Rights in the Information Society: The Results of Two Projects at the University of Graz 2003-2007”

03:30-04:00 p.m. - Coffee break

04:00-06:00 p.m. - Panel “New-Media Mediated Peace Building & Societal Development”

Moderator: Walther Lichem, former Director, UN Department, Austrian Ministry Foreign Affairs

  • Alexander Siedschlag, Director, Center for European Security Studies, WWEDU – World Wide Education, Wels/Austria and CEO, German United Nations Association, Bavarian Branch: “Conflict Transformation in Information Society”
  • Nasra Hassan, Director, United Nations Information Service Vienna: “The Media, Peacekeeping, and Civil Society”: Harvey Langholtz, Director, United Nations Institute for Training and Research, Program of Correspondence Instruction on Peacekeeping Operations (UNITAR POCI): “Distance Learning on Peacekeeping from UNITAR POCI”
  • Mark Mc Carthy, Project Manager, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), Geneva/Switzerland: Relief Web and the Role of Information in Humanitarian Response”
  • Tayza Thuria (virtual panelist), Burmadigest: “The Use of Mobile Phones, Video camcorders, and Internet in the Recent Demonstrations in Burma”
  • Ian Williams, correspondent Nation and Guardian, Deadline Pundit Blog, (virtual pannellist): “Covering the UN with a Blog”

06:00-07:00 p.m. - Dinner buffet

07:00-08:30 p.m. - Panel “Communicating with Youth – New-Media Perspectives for Teaching the UN System”

Moderator: Wolfgang Luef, German Weekly Newspaper “Die Zeit”, Vienna office/Austria

  • Carmel Mulvany, UN Department of Public Information/ Bill Yotive, Global Teaching and Learning Project. Education Outreach Section, Outreach Division, UN Department of Public Information: “Connecting with Youth”
  • Ingrid Lehmann, University of Salzburg/Austria and former director, UN Department of Public Information: “Youth Perceptions of the United Nations”
  • Gregor Waldhauser, Vice President, Austrian Academic Forum for Foreign Affairs: “The Difficulties of Communication with Austrian Youth on Global Issues”
  • Niko Jilch, Kurier Daily Newspaper, Vienna/Austria: “The !Cyber School? Bus in German”
  • Michael Platzer, Visiting Professor, Global Media, Bond University/Australia: “‘Serious news’ Carried on MTV, You Tube, and Comedy Channel”

08:30-09:00 p.m. - Round Up and Next Steps

Paul A. Linnarz, Deutsche Welle, Bonn/Germany

09:00 p.m. - Farewell address by the organizers


Local organizer

WWEDU – World Wide Education
Dragonerstrasse 38
A-4600 Wels/Austria
Phone: +43 (0)7242 55864-0
Fax: +43 (0)7242 55864-66



  • Austrian Federal Ministry for Education, the Arts and Culture
  • United Nations Information Service Vienna


Cooperating Partners

  • Academic Council for the United Nations System (ACUNS)
  • Academic Forum for Foreign Affairs Vienna (AFA)
  • Austrian Burma Center
  • German United Nations Association (DGVN), Bavaria Branch
  • Global Voices
  • Deutsche Welle – Media Services
  • Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights, Vienna
  • Technical Support Initiative (UK)
  • UN Studies Working Group within the ACUNS framework
  • United Nations Association of Austria
  • Wilfred Laurier University
  • Witness