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UNESCO/ICDE Chair Rory McGreal

About the UNESCO Chairs

UNITWIN is the abbreviation for the University Twinning and Networking Programme established in 1992.

The UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme was conceived as a way to advance research, training and programme development in all of UNESCO’s fields of competence by building university networks and encouraging inter-university cooperation through the transfer of knowledge across borders. Since it was established in 1992, the programme has aroused great interest among Member States. The UNITWIN programme aims to be pertinent, forward-thinking and to impact socio-economic development effectively.  UNESCO Chair and UNITWIN Network projects have proven useful in establishing new teaching programmes, generating new ideas through research and reflection, and facilitating the enrichment of existing university programmes while respecting cultural diversity.

UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks have a dual function:

  • “think tanks”,
  • “bridge builders” between the academic world, civil society, local communities, research and policy-making.

They aim to:

  • readjust geographic imbalance which is now in favour of the North;
  • stimulate triangular North-South-South cooperation;
  • creation of regional or sub-regional poles of innovation and excellence;
  • closer cooperation with the United Nations University (UNU).
  • As of 2010, 692 UNESCO Chairs and 68 UNITWIN Networks have been established within the Programme, involving over 810 institutions in 128 countries.