UNITWIN is the abbreviation for the University Twinning and Networking Programme. The Programme was established in 1992 following the relevant decision of UNESCO’s General Conference taken at its 26th session. The UNITWIN 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. So far 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.
Today, 69 UNITWIN Networks are established within the Programme, involving over 850 institutions in 134 countries.
Since the adoption of new strategic orientations for the UNITWIN Programme by the Executive Board at its 176th session in April 2007, emphasis has been placed on:
- The dual function of UNITWIN Networks as “think tanks” and “bridge builders” between the academic world, civil society, local communities, research and policy-making;
- Realignment with UNESCO’s priorities (Medium Term Strategy for 2008-2013);
- 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).
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