UNSA Dialogue 3 - 2009


We invite you to join us in our discussion which will take place on Thursday, March 26, 2009, at 6pm Central European Time / noon U.S. Eastern Time.

At the given date and time, please dial +1-712-580-1800 (U.S. Midwest) and enter the access code 801187, followed by the # key.


1. Our working group's identity and relationship with ACUNS

We will propose a more concise formulation of our mission as well as of our special relationship with ACUNS, including possible roads for joint action / project. Based on the outcome of this first discussion, we will work on a proposal for Henrike to take to the 2009 ACUNS annual meeting in Trinidad.

2. Expanding the knowledge on UN Studies

  1.      simplify and add structure to our wiki portal
  2.      build a UN Studies knowledge base, in close cooperation with ACUNS. In more detail, these plans include:

New UN Studies Knowledge Base

Besides the wiki, UNSA maintains an IGLOO-hosted community site: "UN Studies". We suggest to turn this community site into a general knowledge base on UN Studies, preferably run under ACUNS leadership, and to "downsize" our wiki to merely serve as UNSA's informal working platform.

Why (yet) another online portal?

  • As a rule, communities and networks produce a vast amount of precious content over time. However, if there is no central administrator in charge of filtering, structuring and coordinating this collaboratively gained knowledge, it easily becomes a hodge-podge of loose, unstructured information, offering no benefits.
  • People who are not interested in being affiliated to a network but would like to contribute to a certain topic such as UN Studies are discouraged from contributing.

Opportunities through the new portal:

EXCLUSIVE CONTENTa unique opportunity to exclusively offer all information and knowledge around UN Studies (separately from our working group activities and information, which might be irritating).

INDEPENDENT HUBan independent knowledge base for all UN Studies issues (independent from organisations and institutions).

WIDER AUDIENCESwe could attract new target audiences: for instance, students could publish their UN related papers. Or we could use the portal to host the proposed cybershelf.

SEPARATE FROM UNSA WORKING PLATFORMtransfer parts of our content from our UNSA wiki to the new platform and turn our UNSA wiki to a small, pleasant-looking, easy-to-use working platform. (At the moment, the UNSA wiki is overloaded, complicated to use, and information is not easily accessible.)

INNOVATIVE, EASY-TO-USEoffer content in a new and innovative and way, harnessing new technologies and tools of information and communication. This means:

  • more intuitive navigation structure (no "classical homepage-style" items on the menue bar such as bibliography, topics /issues, etc.)
  • multiple avenues for finding, contributing and structuring content (e.g. tagging)
  • accessible for all, user-friendly and intuitively to manage


Ideas & feedback

  • Who is interested in contributing to such a project?
  • How can we motivate people to contribute?
  • What kind of technology would be useful? ...



James Arbuckle suggested the idea to develop reference material on UN Studies, for practitioners-turned-educators.

This cybershelf could become essential part of the new UN Studies Knowledge Base - a prototype.


3. Meetings, workshops, other projects and activities

proposed panel on "The role of small and middle powers in advancing UN Studies" at the ACUNS 2009 annual meeting in Trinidad and Tobago

Download the draft outline: ...

As panelists, we were hoping to invite key local partners / experts. Discussing "UN Studies" from the Caribbean perspective, they could address:

  • views on the UN
  • methods and approaches
  • teaching techniques and tools

The overall goal is to offer alternative perspectives, beyond the Northern American / European views: What is different, similar, distinctive? For example, in terms of subject matters and issues of primary interest; lessons learned & best practices; or possible contributions to developing a UN Studies syllabi.

Ideas & feedback

  • Who will attend the meeting and would be willing to help organize such a panel?


Summer Workshop(s) in Vienna

At our November meeting in Vienna, we discussed the idea to organize a workshop on how to use wikis in classrooms. It was suggested to invite students, teachers, practitioners to work collaboratively on a UN Studies issue, facilitated by new media. Such a workshop could take place in early July in Vienna, however we need local, logistical support. UNSA will be only able to provide for the wiki technology and appropriate training material / tutorials. We need an educator who will work on the content side (selection of appropriate topic, moderation of workshop).

Gerhard Budin, Center for Translation Studies at the University of Vienna, further suggested to use the UNESCO 2010 Summer Workshop on diversity management to arrange for a UNSA Summer Workshop; for instance, to develop an advanced UN Studies syllabi.

Ideas & feedback

  • Who is interested, and what is realistic for us to achieve this year / next year?

Result: We will aim at holding the Summer School in 2010.


Journal of International Organization Studie: Website and Project Update

Kirsten Haack, John Mathiason and the rest of the JIOS team have made amazing progress on preparing for the launch of the Journal. For more information, please visit the new JIOS website at: http://www.unstudies.org/jios (the new address is: http://www.journal-iostudies.org)

Ideas & feedback

  • Who has an interest in supporting / contributing to the JIOS?


.... other project ideas...

We will organize a panel on UN Studies at the 2010 ISA conference. More information to follow...