Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) to remain at WLU for a third term and be based at the Balsillie School
Following an open competition and review, the ACUNS Forward Planning Committee and Board of Directors is pleased to announce that the headquarters secretariat of ACUNS will remain at Wilfrid Laurier University for a third five-year term (2013 – 2018).
“Wilfrid Laurier University is an ideal partner for ACUNS in its vision to educate students for a globalized world not only in the classroom, but also through hands on experiences. The vision is both interdisciplinary in scholarly approach as well as in blending the academic and the applied so that students will emerge from their programs with solid disciplinary grounding coupled with an appreciation of the complexities of real life problem solving and policy development. This mirrors ACUNS own tradition of commitment to harnessing scholarly inquiry and rigor to sound policy making,” said Dr. Charlotte Ku, University of Illinois, College of Law who chaired the committee.
In conjunction with the start of its new term, ACUNS is in the process of relocating to larger offices at the recently-opened Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA), part of the CIGI Campus, a hub of international scholarship and policy analysis located in uptown Waterloo, Ontario. Its new office space is expanding in order to accommodate a new, second full-time staff member and a graduate student intern.
“With this decision on the Secretariat host location, we feel that ACUNS can look forward to CONSOLIDATION, in terms of drawing on the experience and commitment of dedicated individuals and institutions, and EXPANSION, in terms of engaging in new projects and partnerships as well as recruiting new members from under-represented groups and regions,” said Christer Jönsson, Professor, Lund University and current Chair of ACUNS.
Previous hosts of ACUNS include Dartmouth, Brown and Yale universities in the United States. Laurier’s first term as the organization’s host began in 2003, when ACUNS relocated from Yale. It was the first time in 15 years that the Council was hosted outside the US.
ACUNS publishes an award-winning quarterly journal and newsletter, maintains a global network of liaison offices, and hosts international conferences and meetings on the UN and on international issues. The council works closely with the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), an independent think tank on global issues, and also supported the creation of the Balsillie School of International Affairs, a centre for advanced research and teaching on global governance and international public policy. Both organizations are headquartered at the CIGI Campus.
"The CIGI Campus is a hub for international studies, with superb scholars, several of whom already are ACUNS members, and a steady flow of high-profile visitors from around the world,” said Alistair Edgar, who will continue to serve as executive director of the Council. “This puts us in front of them, as well as giving us access to them as a significant intellectual resource.”
ACUNS’ membership of approximately 700 individuals and 60 institutions comes from over 50 countries and includes leading international institutions, scholars and diplomats. The organization’s mandate is to promote excellent in research, writing and teaching about the UN, international organizations, international law and the functioning of multilateralism, while promoting greater dialogue between academic and practitioner communities.
The official announcement of Laurier’s third term was made at ACUNS’ Annual Meeting, held June 13-15 at The Graduate Center CUNY in New York. The meeting also included celebrations of ACUNS’ 25th anniversary, and Edgar says it is fitting that the council’s capabilities are being enhanced in a milestone year. “Our expanded secretariat staff – effectively doubling in size – will give us significantly increased capability to manage and to improve our current programs and activities, while actively seeking new and substantive opportunities. It is a major investment by our university administration at Laurier, and a clear statement of their support for the work of the Council.”