Universitas 21 makes Academic Impact

20 November 2009
Universitas 21 invited to join major UN initiative on global education. U21 is the first trans-continental association to become a partner of the initiative and the partnership highlights synergies between U21 and UN work in this field

Universitas 21 (U21), the leading network for international higher education, has just announced its commitment to and participation in the United Nations’ Academic Impact initiative, which has been developed this year.

Academic Impact is a global initiative that aligns institutions of higher education with the United Nations in actively supporting ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, literacy, sustainability and conflict resolution.

Following previous collaboration with the UN on matters relating to the Millennium Development Goals, Universitas 21 was invited to become a partner in this initiative, showing recognition by the UN of the important work a network like U21 can achieve on a global scale.

U21 is the first trans-continental organisation to join this UN initiative and fully supports the key tenants of the initiative, in particular the commitment to use education as an engine for addressing global problems. This is something central to U21’s activities, exemplified by last month’s highly successful U21 Food Security Workshop held at the University of Edinburgh. Experts in the field from U21 institutions met together with funding bodies and, importantly, partners from the Global South to discuss ways in which three-way dialogues between all parties could be developed and to set the agenda for collaboration in teaching and research between U21 institutions and the Global South to examine issues surrounding Food Security over the next five years. Professor John Casteen, Chair of the Universitas 21 network and President of the University of Virginia welcomed the invitation to join the Academic Impact initiative, saying “For some time, Universitas 21 has been pursuing activities to support human and global development and the links between the work the network is undertaking and the UN’s initiatives are striking. I am very pleased that we now have this opportunity to support this work further and am certain that in the coming years the progress made towards achieving these and other common goals with the UN will only go to strengthen the U21 network and its commitment to make a positive impact on the global significance of higher education.”