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!
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:
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)journal-iostudies.org and send your CV with details of your field of specialisation.
For more information please visit the JIOS homepage: http://www.journal-iostudies.org.
For more information about the UNSA presence at the ACUNS AM, please click here or visit the ACUNS conference website at: http://acuns.org/am2014/.
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")
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).
...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) unstudies.org
Photo Credit: © willpower - Fotolia.com
UNSA presented at the ACUNS AM:
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 attended the 2014 ACUNS annual meeting in Istanbul, June 19 - 21, 2014.
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.
Photo credit: © Sergey Nivens - Fotolia.com
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:
Presentations of the outcome of these projects will take place at the UN HQ in Vienna on January 17, 2014.
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 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.
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:
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!
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.
Please click here for a global summary of the conference, detailed panel reports, and presentations.
UN Officie at Vienna,
Vienna International Centre (VIC)
Wagramer Strasse 5
Conference Rooms: Multimedia Room G0545, and Briefing Room G0542. Both are located in Tower G, 5th floor.
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.
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.
The conference participation is free. However, all meals will be at own expense. Lunch and coffee will be taken at the VIC cafeteria.
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.
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 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
10:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.
UN Colloquia - Session I
The Rule of Law and Justice
Moderator: Gorazd Mesko (University of Maribor, Slovenia)
12:45 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.
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)
3:45 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
UN Colloquia - Session III
Location: see according session
Location: Briefing Room G0542
Moderator: Walter Lichem (Visiting Professor, former Austrian Ambassador)
Location: Multimedia Room G0545
Moderator: Heinz Gaertner (Austrian Institute for International Affairs, Vienna University)
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)
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)
1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.
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)
4.00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Location: Multimedia Room G0545
Christer Jönnson (ACUNS)
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 on Connecting Academics and Practitioners
Summaries and Presentations
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.
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)
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.
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)
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)
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)
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.
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
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 http://www.workshops-on-diversity.org/content/reports-about-sessions.
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.
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.
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 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
10am - 12.30pm
Diversity and Diversity Management
(Moderator: Gabriele Sauberer)
12.30pm - 1.30pm
1.30pm - 3pm
Go4Diversity: Global Education, Migration and Science
3pm - 3.30pm
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
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
12.30pm - 1.30pm
1.30pm - 3pm
WORKSHOP IV, continued:
3pm - 3.30pm
3.30pm - 5.45pm
The following activities at the ISA convention have been jointly planned by UNSA members using the old portal.
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.
Title: UN Studies and constructivism
Oestreich, Joel (Chair)
Kille, Kent (Discussant)
Harfensteller: Peace at the UN - Approaching the Study of Concepts
Haack and Paepcke: The UN Secretary-General, leadership and discursive institutionalism
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.
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: http://www.isanet.org/workshop/ and below.
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.
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: http://www.investsciencesee.info/ccandun/
Goals of the conference:
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.
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.
Title: Roundtable on Cultural Diversity and the UN - old implications and new challenges
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:
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
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:
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".
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.
UNSA organized a panel at the ACUNS 2009 annual meeting in Trinidad and Tobago. This was our main event in 2009.
Date: June 5, 2009
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.
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:
Chair: Johannes Geiser, Former UN Resident Coordinator (retired)
Download the original proposal here:
Our events and acitivities in 2008 included
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
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: http://www.acuns.org/programsan/acunsasils
This year's workshop was held in Ljubljana in cooperation with the Austrian Science and Research Liaison Office Ljubljana.
For more information, see http://www.acuns.org/programsan/acunsasils/summer~15
Following questions/problems were discussed by the workshop participants:
1. The Concept of Global Governance (GG)
2. The knowledge base of Global Governance
3. The role Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for a GG knowledgebase
4. The practitioners-academics-dichotomy
5. What is the UN?
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
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.
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.
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.
JUNE 3, 2008, 7:00pm: DINNER at restaurant "Em Höttche" (www.em-hoettche.de )
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" ( www.rheingarten-bonn.de) starting at 7pm -
JUNE 5, 2008, 9:00am-11:00am: WORKING GROUP MEETING at the DIE
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.
For full information about the background and topic of this seminar, please see Seminar Concept.
Series of Seminars on UN Research and Teaching
Discussion about Thematic Framework:
During our discussion on January 28, participants stated / suggested:
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 email@example.com.
special speaker: Richard Jolly, The CUNY Graduate Center; UN Intellectual History Project, New York, USA - The UN Intellectual History Project
Presentation by Kent J. Kille
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.
Active Learning in International Affairs section (ALIAS) of the International Studies Association (see http://sitemaker.umich.edu/alias.isa/home); journals such as International Studies Perspectives section on pedagogy.
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
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 http://www12.georgetown.edu/sfs/ecase/).
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
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
Source material drawn upon to support teaching beyond standard textbooks or other readings
a. film and video
d. comics and cartoons
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
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
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
(http://www.un.org/Pubs/CyberSchoolBus/) 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 (http://www.knowyourrights2008.org/) in honor of 60th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
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: http://www.wooster.edu/ir/Active-TeachingIR/
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:
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.
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:
Summer School: "Social, Cultural and Economic Aspects of Education in Conflict"
The Academic Council of the United Nations System (ACUNS), Bonn
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."
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".
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".
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".
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), 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".
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".
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.
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".
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 and for which "the very act of measurement contributes to the perpetuation of oppression".
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".
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".
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:
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
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.
in cooperation with:
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
Expected concrete outcomes of the colloquium are
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, www.aso.zsi.at)
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.
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.
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.
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).
November 22, 2008
Outline of past, present and future activities
- Click here for the full text of his foreword for the Diplomatic Academy Favorita Papers: DAFavoritaPapersPlatzer
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
Teaching about UN:
–> focus is on the convening function of the UN
concrete teaching tasks:
new UN-academia relationship:
more recommendations / opportunities, inter alia:
identify challenge –> build consensus –> global solution
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
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.
Status of UN(-related) studies:
Questionnaire Structure and Results.
Limitations of UN research and teaching
UN initiative to establish links with academia -> UN-OLA: Audiovisual library on International Law
Advocating the UN? Neither blaming, neither praising – but focus on issues such as HR, limitations and opportunities
Role of knowledge production in GG? -> articulation mostly done by academia
Teaching international nuclear law – findings:
Consider the anthropological view -> integrated in UN system? Rather diffuse ideas, multi-cultural. -> World Bank effort (ended in 2004).
Matthias Ketteman, University of Graz: Using Structured Debates
Helmut Prantner - University of Vienna: Historical Model UNs
Stefan Schuman - University of Vienna: Law Clinics as experiental / service learning
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
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
Karin Kneissl, Webster University: Conference Simulation
Teresa Peintinger, University of Vienna: Active Learning – Field Experiences with UN Guidelines
Gerhard Budin, University of Vienna, Center for Translation Studies
Schön, Fachhochschule / School of Applied Sciences Grems (?)
Maher Nasser, UNIS Vienna: Computer based materials useful for education or training on the UN
Karin Bruckmüller, University of Vienna : E-learning
Ivana Jelic: …
Ivana Krstic ,Faculty of Law, University of Belgrad
Slawomir Redo, UNODC, Justice & Integrity Unit, Division for Operations: The UNODC computer-based tools for the international criminal justice education
Dietmar Lampert, Centre for Social Innovation, Vienna: presentation of the broadband videoconferencing tool “GLOBAL - Global Linkage Over Broadband Links”
Presentation on the UN Digital Library
Report about the IAEA
John Mathiason, Syracuse University: Virtual classroom
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!
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
Challenge: build bridge between practice and theory
How to tackle the wide scope of UN Studies?
engage and empower the regions
enhance communication and discourse in general
see also: Vienna Summer School
Second Global International Studies Conference
Ljubljana, Slovenia, July 23 - 26, 2008
organized by the WISC Network: http://www.wiscnetwork.org/
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.
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.
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.
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.
UNSA participated in the World wide real-virtual colloquium:
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 (http://www.acuns.org)
organized and hosted by
WWEDU – World Wide Education, Academic Distance-Learning College, Wels/Austria - www.wwedu.com
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:
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 www.acuns.org:
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
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
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
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
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
WWEDU – World Wide Education
Phone: +43 (0)7242 55864-0
Fax: +43 (0)7242 55864-66