15 November 2010
Press Release
PI/1966

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General to Launch United Nations Academic Impact

 

at Headquarters on 18, 19 November

 


Initiative Aims to Create New Partnerships by Engaging with Academic World


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will launch officially on 18 and 19 November, the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), an initiative of the Department of Public Information aimed at creating new partnerships for the Organization by engaging the academic world.


“The United Nations understands the enormous impact of scholarship, innovation and ideas,” the Secretary-Generalsaid.  “We are trying to harness that great power to build a better world; a world where human ingenuity will make our homes, communities and consumption patterns socially and environmentally sustainable; a world where research receives the funding and support it needs to defeat disease, deprivation and despair; a world where the ‘unlearning’ of intolerance will bridge barriers that still divide nations and peoples.”


UNAI already includes close to 500 members in more than 90 countries — a global alliance in which institutions of higher education and research share with the world body a culture of intellectual social responsibility.  More than 300 university presidents, senior faculty members and student representatives will join Secretary-General Ban and other senior United Nations officials for the launch event at the Organization’s New York Headquarters.  The event will include a two-day conference and an inaugural concert.


Participants are expected to commit themselves to a set of 10 principles, derived from the United Nations Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Millennium Development Goals.  They are each expected to undertake at least one activity or project every year which tangibly supports and furthers the realization of those principles.


During a pre-launch conference organized in Shanghai by the Ministry of Education of China on 1 and 2 November, the Secretary-General described UNAI as “a clearing house to better match academic innovation with particular areas of work of the United Nations — neglected areas of research, countries in need of specific help, research that will help deliver concrete change on the ground, and the best ideas to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.”


The launch event is to start with an opening statement by Secretary-General Ban followed by a response by President Michael Adams of Fairleigh Dickinson University, the first institution to become a member of the UNAI.  The two-day Conference will include presentations by senior United Nations officials and interactive sessions in which participants will share their views and suggestions about how their work could support — and be supported by — the world body.


It will culminate on 19 November with “Sounds of Heaven”, an inaugural concert, in the General Assembly Hall.  Sponsored by the Permanent Mission of China in partnership with the Alliance of Asia-Pacific Region Orchestras and the China Symphony Development Foundation, the concert will feature the Asia-Pacific United Orchestra performing a variety of works, including Silent Woods by Dvorak, Spring Allegro from “The Four Seasons” by Vivaldi, Voices of Spring by Strauss, a special appearance by the United Nations Staff Recreation Council Singers and a unique performance of the Water Concerto for Water Percussion and Orchestra by Tan Dun.


A press conference, chaired by Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, is scheduled for 1 p.m. on 19 November in the Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium.


For further information about the United Nations Academic Impact, please visit http://academicimpact.org or contact sharmav@un.org.


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For information media • not an official record