As Ban Ki-Moon approaches the end of his mandate, consultations are under way to find a successor. A leading candidate for the post is Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO. During an event at Chatham House, a think tank in London, on 6 September 2016, she outlined what would be her main priorities if appointed Secretary-General of the United Nations. Education was mentioned time again, particularly in the context of security, sustainability and global partnerships. Attending on behalf of UNU-MERIT, Communications Officer Diego Salama asked Bokova the following question:
DS: Given that you said at the beginning of your statement that education was going to play a big role in your vision and principles… how would you ensure that the work of research and training agencies of the UN is sufficiently empowered and applied by the rest of the UN System?
IB: I know the United Nations University because UNESCO has a very direct relevance to the UNU and all the important work that the UNU is doing. I do agree that it is to a large extent underused, as it is not exactly integrated into the work of the United Nations – although the Rector of the University does come to the Chief Executive Board meetings.
But I do agree that there is a need for a lot more relevance and coordination between what the UN otherwise is doing and your research. I think there is so much need nowadays for research, discussion and debates around the Sustainable Development Goals, among other things.
I would only say that I not only value the work of the UNU – and I have been several times there for talks and conferences, invited by David Malone and the previous Rector – but I would try to make it a little bit closer to the UN System and what is nowadays the agenda of the UN.
See the event page on the Chatham House website for more details, including an audio recording of the entire one-hour session. The above Q&A takes place at 48:25.
UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras;