State of the art - UN study programs

The following information is taken from the joint discussion paper "UN Studies: Foundations of an emerging field of study", written by Kirsten Haack, Julia Harfensteller und Henrike Paepcke.


Academic initiatives paving the way towards UN Studies

Based on this analysis, we went on to identify academic initatives that go beyond the traditional UN curriculum: interesting and innovative programs and projects in both teaching and research. We found a growing number of UN-focused summer schools and workshops, special programs, research projects and in particular postgraduate degrees

some highlights:

  • consortium of three US universities, comprising of MIT, Harvard University and Tufts University, launched a “UN Studies Initiative” in 2005  
  • the UN Intensive Summer Study Program of Seton Hall University’s Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations
  • Syracuse University's professional career track program “Transnational Organizations and Leadership"
  • Kentucky State University’s Master in Public Administration with a specialization in International Administration and Development.
  • in general, the evolving field of peace studies
  • UN Global Teaching and Learning Project
  • UN System Staff College and UNITAR
  • Model United Nations and other simulations
  • individual initiatives / classes
  • Suffolk University’s UN Studies Program  

Taken together, these initiatives are scattered, isolated, thus neither well connected nor institutionalized (except maybe for MUN)

Looking at the research side, we found that an overview of the research field would require an in-depth analysis of all related publications in neighboring fields. However, we would like to point out to the following programs and projects:

  • autonomous research institutes within the UN: Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), the UN Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) and the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW)
  • other UN-focused academic research centers or advocacy groups, mainly located in Western countries (e.g. Reform the UN, Global Policy Forum, Better World Fund, UN Security Council Report, Citizens for Global Solutions)
  • few (known) examples of UN Studies outside the Western Hemisphere, such as Department of International and UN Studies at the Sun Moon University in South Korea, or Institute of UN Studies in New Delhi
  • insufficient information about the perception of the UN in African or Arab States 
  • WFUNA and WFUNA-Youth offer guideliens for youth how to conduct research about the UN