United Nations Research and Training Institutes

HQ location


Date established



GA res. 2951 (XXVII)(1972)

The United Nations University (UNU) is a global think tank and postgraduate teaching organisation headquartered in Japan, and was established by GA res. 2951 (XXVII)(1972) as an autonomous organ of the General Assembly.

The Resolution provided that the University:

  • Be a system of academic institutions, rather than an inter-governmental organisation
  • Comprise a central programming and coordinating body along with a decentralised network of affilated research, teaching and training institutions
  • Be integrated into the world university community, and devoted to research into "pressing global problems of human survival, development and welfare" and to post-graduate training and teaching of young scholars and researchers (particularly those from devleloping countries)
  • Have a special mandate to alleviate the intellectual isolation of academics in developing countries by organising worldwide networks of collaborating scholars and research institutions
  • Be funded by voluntary contributions (from governments, international organisations, foundations, universities and others).

The mission of the UN University is to contribute, through collaborative research and education, to efforts to resolve the pressing global problems of human survival, development and welfare that are the concern of the United Nations, its Peoples and Member States.

UNU undertakes a wide range of acitivities focused on knowledge generation (basic and applied research, and foresight and policy studies), education and capacity development (developing human and organisational capabilities), and knowledge transfer and sharing (communications, dissemination and outreach).

The Rector is the chief academic and administrative officer, with overall responsibility for the direction, organization, administration and programmes of the University. The Rector holds the rank of UN Under-Secretary-General.

The UNU Council is responsible for devising the principles and policies that govern the University’s operations, and for considering and approving the budget and work programme.

The University is comprised of 13 institutes and programmes located in 12 countries each with its own Director, advisory board and staff.

As part of the UN family of organizations, the University maintains close working relationships with other UN agencies, programmes, commissions, funds and convention secretariats. In order to enhance these collaborations, two liaison offices are maintained at the UN Secretariat in New York and at UNESCO in Paris.

    • Ms Angela Kane, Senior Fellow, Vienna Centre for Non-Proliferation and Disarmament; Professor, Sciences Po (Paris), Germany
    • Dr Segenet Kelemu, Director General and CEO, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, Ethiopia
    • Professor Lan Xue, Dean, School of Public Policy and Management, Tsinghua University; Director, China Institute for S&T Policy; Deputy Director, China Institute for Strategic Studies on Engineering and Technology Development; Adjunct Professor, Carnegie Mellon University; Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution, China

53-70, Jingumae 5-chome
Shibuya, Tokyo 150-8925
Telephone: (+81 3) 5467 1212
Fax: (+81 3) 3499 2828