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UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks

Launched in 1992, the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme, which involves over 850 institutions in 117 countries, promotes international inter-university cooperation and networking to enhance institutional capacities through knowledge sharing and collaborative work. The programme supports the establishment of UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks in key priority areas related to UNESCO’s fields of competence – i.e. in education, the natural and social sciences, culture and communication.

Through this network, higher education and research institutions all over the globe pool their resources, both human and material, to address pressing challenges and contribute to the development of their societies. In many instances, the networks and chairs serve as thinktanks and bridgebuilders between academia, civil society, local communities, research and policy-making. They have proven useful in informing policy decisions, establishing new teaching initiatives, generating innovation through research and contributing to the enrichment of existing university programmes while promoting cultural diversity. In areas lacking expertise, chairs and networks have evolved into poles of excellence and innovation at regional or sub-regional levels. They also contribute to strengthening North-South-South cooperation.

Applications and renewals

UNESCO will be accepting applications to establish new UNESCO Chairs or UNITWIN Networks between 1 March and 30 April 2023. The application is to be completed in English or French through the dedicated submission platform, and should be validated by the relevant National Commission for UNESCO. See the revised programme guidelines and procedures, and kindly take into account the application form (Annex A) and the criteria for the establishment of new UNESCO Chairs and UNTIWIN Networks (Annex B); as well as the instructions to access the submission platfrom on page 9. Applications by email will not be accepted.

A limit of two applications per country is set for the 2023 application cycle. Applicants are invited to consult with their respective National Commission for UNESCO as soon as possible as some begin the process of pre-selection months before the submission window.

Institutions wishing to renew their Agreements must submit a request to UNESCO for renewal six months before the expiry date of the active Agreement. Submissions are completed through an online platform and must include (1) Progress report for renewal – a report on activities and future workplans; and (2) letter of support from the host institution. Please consult the User guide for the renewal of UNESCO Chair or UNITWIN Network agreement for detailed instructions.

Kindly note that the renewal will be granted by issuing a new agreement with the host institution(s).

The UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme: guidelines and procedures (revised March 2022)
Humanistic futures of learning: perspectives from UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks