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UNITWIN / UNESCO CHAIRS PROGRAM


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1. Background

· Importance of universities and higher education institutions in the creation, transfer, training, of highly qualified professional and managerial staff as well as in the advancement of education at all levels and all forms
· International cooperation and international assistance essential to reverse the process of decline and deterioration of higher education institutions in developing countries
The above concerns were the main motivation behind the decision of the General Conference of UNESCO at its 26th session in 1991, to launch the UNITWIN/UNESCO CHAIRS PROGRAM as an international plan of action for strengthening higher education in the developing countries through appropriate mechanisms for enhancing interuniversity cooperation

2. Goals of the program

· Develop university networking and other linking arrangements among higher education institutions at the inter-regional, regional and sub regional level
· Set in motion a process leading to strong and durable links amongst higher education and scientific institutions worldwide. Special emphasis on building up such links among the higher education institutions in the developing countries, the importance of which has tended to be neglected in the past
· Developing strategies and mechanisms for the rapid and efficient transfer of knowledge and for its application to the specific conditions and needs of the developing countries and of their higher educational systems
· Alleviate the “brain drain” form the developing countries.

3. Modes of action

· Inter-University Networks

Reinforcement of existing inter-university and academic networks
Establishment of new-inter university networks through agreements with inter regional, regional and sub regional NGOs of higher education
Agreement for the creation of new-inter university networks have been signed within the framework of UNITWIN/UNESCO CHAIR PROGRAM


· UNESCO CHAIRS
Aim: assist the developing countries in strengthening their capacities for high level training and research in particular scientific fields at higher education institutions in the developing countries.
Chairs represent flexible and academically challenging mechanisms of interuniversity cooperation, which combine academic positions with teaching research program having a pronounced international character. This international dimension is assured through:
· The selection through the international recruitment form among outstanding and internationally recognized scholars and other specialists in various fields, of the holders of the academic position associated with the chair
· The association of other prestigious researchers, from the institution or country which is hosting the chair, as well as from other countries, with its teaching, research and management program
· Offering grants and fellowships to students and researchers to pursue postgraduate and specialization studies at these chairs
· The development of curricula and study courses/programs, which are broad enough to cater for subregional needs and to allow students to acquire internationally, recognized training.

4. How to Join the program

· Interested in institutions should prepare and submit to UNESCO- under the signature of the executive head of the respective institution- a detailed Project Proposal in which objectives, activities, work plans, budget requirements, etc. are clearly stated
· In the case of NGOs, the Project proposal is submitted by their President and/or by their Secretariats
· When the Project proposal concerns the establishment of an inter-university network, it can be submitted either by the heads of all institutions involved, or by one single institution which takes the lead and assures the development of the respective network ;other institutions wishing to join the proposed network should officially express their interest;
· All Project Proposals should be submitted to the UNESCO Secretarial, either via the National Commission(s) of UNESCO in the country (ies) in which the activities are to be carried out, or with a letter of support from the respective Commission(s)


5. Who can join the program?

· Universities and other establishments of higher education and research which are recognized as bona-fide institutions by the competent national authorities in the respective country;
· NGOs working in the field of higher education and research; other academic and scientific associations; inter-university and other academic networks which wish to establish a link between their own activities and the UNITWIN/UNESCO CHAIRS PROGRAM
· National, regional and international public or private institutions and agencies which currently have or intend to develop cooperative links and arrangement with UNESCO in the filed of higher education.

6. How to establish a network?

· Already existing inter university networks may express their interest to link up with initiative of UNESCO by gearing their activities towards the needs of higher education institutions in the developing countries
· By common agreement, universities which are twined by virtue of bilateral agreements established among themselves, decide to expend these bilateral agreements into a multilateral one and thus establish a network
· Interuniversity cooperation programs (training, research…) in a particular field are turned into a more stable linking arrangement by agreement of the participation institution to associate their activities with the goals and objectives of the UNITWIN/UNESCO CHAIRS PROGRAM

7. How to establish a UNESCO CHAIR?

· A chair is created as a new teaching and research unit at a university of other institution of higher education and/or research. Such a unit should include (i) a chairholder as its academic head, (ii) a number of teachers/researchers from the host institution and from other instituitions, both in the respective county and from abroad who are associated with the project (iii) a number of young students and researchers pursuing postgraduate studies or high-level training and research at these chairs
· A chair is developed within a university department by reinforcing on existing teaching/research program in a particular field and by giving it the international dimension mentioned in the first point
· A vacant chair at a given institution of higher education is designated as a UNSECO CHIAR, following agreement between UNESCO and the respective institution and opened up for international recruitment and for the establishment of an international program in its field as outlined above.
· Visiting professorship are established at various higher education institutions, preferably in the developing countires. The visiting professors may teach at several institutions in a sub-region, which agree to be associated with a project.
· Since the Unesco Chairs are joint undertakingd in which UNESCO joins forces with interested institutions, associations and organizations as well as with potential donors, the chairs could have a joint designation: UNESCO/IGO chairs, UNESCO/NCO chairs etc…


8. How is the program evaluated and monitored

· A progress repot shall be submitted by the host institution once every six months, starting from the date on which the agreement is signed;
· Based on the progress reports, UNESCO will undertake its internal evaluation with the purpose of extending or terminating sponsorships of the project;
· In some cases, when financial resources allow, joint evaluation committees may be established
· At the end of each major phase or at the end of each project, a more comprehensive or final report will be submitted by the institution(s) involved. This will be used for the overall evaluation of the UNITWIN/UNESCO CHAIR PROGRAM. The evaluation will be internal (for the initial phase) and external.

UNESCO university cooperation chairs program
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