Contributing to UNESCO’s role as a laboratory of ideas and a catalyst, International University Cooperation is at the heart of the activities of the Section for International Cooperation in Higher Education. The programme complements and confers leadership to knowledge in the domain of socio-economic development – an essential condition for peace, human rights and democracy, equity and livelihoods.
ICU endeavours to meet emerging challenges in an era of globalization by advancing the use of new information technologies which both build capacity in-and-of-themselves, and also increase the knowledge necessary for the advancement of education, science and technology, the social and human sciences, culture and communication.
At the heart of the aims of the Section for International Cooperation in Higher Education are the goals of bridging the knowledge gap and substantially reducing brain drain by assisting in the establishment of centres of innovation and excellence in Member States.
In so doing, the Inter-University Cooperation promotes intellectual cooperation through “twinning” and networking among higher education institutions and academics worldwide to permit the access, transfer and adaptation of knowledge within and across borders.
Impact on Developpement
Obtaining quality results is of primordial importance for inter-university cooperation. Through the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs, particular attention is given to the programme’s impact on capacity-building and knowledge-sharing, and to its influence on national and regional policies.
Through its position as an observer and in its role as a catalyst, UNESCO will encourage UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks to become poles of excellence and innovation that will actively contribute to the development of their respective fields at national, regional and international levels.
A pole of excellence is “a combination, in a specific geographical location, of universities, higher education institutions, training centres, foundations, and public or private research units working together on joint projects of an innovative nature. Such a partnership is structured around a specific field or theme that is consonant with UNESCO’s priorities, and must reach a critical mass in order to achieve a certain level of quality and international visibility”.
Supporting Education For All
How can higher education institutions and networks interact more productively with other Education For All (EFA) partners? How can universities and higher education systems benefit from their engagement in the challenge to achieve EFA?
UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks are actively involved in teacher education, the training of educational researchers and administrators, the conduct of research in major domains of education, and the production and dissemination of knowledge, notably in three key initiatives:
HIV & AIDS prevention education as well as UNESCO’s priority concern for the promotion of quality education.