The United Nations University (UNU) is a global think tank and postgraduate teaching organisation headquartered in Japan. 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.
In carrying out this mission, the UN University works with leading universities and research institutes in UN Member States, functioning as a bridge between the international academic community and the United Nations system.
Through postgraduate teaching activities, UNU contributes to capacity building, particularly in developing countries.
In his 1969 Annual Report to the United Nation General Assembly, UN Secretary-General U Thant proposed the creation of a “United Nations University, truly international in character and devoted to the Charter objectives of peace and progress”.
Since official commencement of its academic activities in 1975, UNU has worked to live up to its role as an international university by expanding partnerships with academic institutions around the world. During the tenure of the University’s second Rector, Dr. Soedjatmoko, the first UNU research and training institute — UNU-WIDER — was established in Helsinki, Finland, in March 1985.
UNU has since grown to encompass institutes and programmes in 12 countries around the world, as well as several UNU Associated Institutions.