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GUNi Presentation Activities and Projects

























GUNi: Activities and Projects


PRESENTATION GUNi was created in 1999 by UNESCO, the United Nations University (UNU) and the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya – Barcelona Tech (UPC) after UNESCO’s first World Conference on Higher Education. Since then, GUNi is following its mandate to create frameworks for reflection and action. GUNi aims to encourage the academic community to play a significant role, to facilitate the interchange of value between higher education and society. The Presidency and the Secretariat are located in Barcelona.

2 GUNi’s mission is: To strengthen higher education’s role in society, contributing to the renewal of the visions, missions and policies of the main issues of higher education across the world under a vision of public service, relevance and social responsibility.

The objectives of GUNi are: •

To encourage Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to reorient their roles for broadening social contribution, embrace this process of transformation and strengthen their critical stance within society.

To foster networking among higher education institutions and cooperation between them and society.

To help bridge the gap between developed and developing countries in the field of higher education, and to foster the cooperation North-South and South-South.

To promote the exchange of resources, innovative ideas and experiences, while allowing for collective reflection and coproduction of knowledge regarding innovation, social responsibility and relevance, and emerging HE issues.

The dimension of the Network and its members GUNi currently gathers 208 members from 78 countries. The member typology is as follows: •

Institutional members: - UNESCO Chairs of higher education established within the UNESCO/UNITWIN program. - Higher Education Institutions. - Research Centers in Higher Education.

GUNi: Activities and Projects


Networks related to Higher Education. Other UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN UNESCO/UNITWIN program.





Associated members: - Foundations and organizations of the civil society related to higher education.

Individual members: - People who play an important role in the activities of GUNi and form a true Knowledge Community, essential to the operation of the network.

3 The international dimension: GUNi has an office with regional representatives in the following regions: •

Africa Presidency: Osun State University (Nigeria) Secretariat: Office of UNESCO in Bamako (Mali)

Arab States Presidency: Open Arab University (Safat, Kuwait) Secretariat: UNESCO Office in Beirut (Lebanon)

Asia and the Pacific Presidency: University de Zhejiang (Hangzhou, China) Vice-presidency: University of Mahidol (Nakhon Pathom, Thailand)

Europe In the process of confirmation

Latin America and the Caribbean Presidency: Chair in higher education, UNAM (Mexico) Secretariat: Universidad Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (Brazil)

USA and Canada In the process of confirmation

GUNi: Activities and Projects

ACTIVITIES Report Higher Education in the World The Report is a collective work published as part of the GUNi series on the social commitment of universities. It is the result of a global and regional analysis of higher education in the world, with a specific subject chosen for each edition. The final objective of the Report is to contribute to the renewal of ideas, while generating a vision and promoting reflection in regards to the contribution of higher education and knowledge to society. The report reflects on key problems and challenges that higher education and its institutions are facing. It includes an analysis of global themes and regional perspectives. Furthermore, it is complemented with the work of an own research project, to which experts from all over the world have participated. The report contains statistics, analytical maps and detailed references. About 249 internationally renowned experts from 50 countries have participated in the different GUNi reports. GUNi has distributed 13,000 reports among institutions of more than 130 countries. The GUNi report has been published in: • • • •

English, by Palgrave Macmillan (all the issues). Spanish, by Mundi-Prensa (2006, 2007, 2008, 2009). Chinese, by the University of Zhejiang (Hangzhou, China), thanks to the Regional Office of GUNi in Asia and the Pacific (2006, 2007, 2008). Portuguese, by the Universidade Pontificia Catolica do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil (2009).

A total of four Reports (2006, 2007, 2008, 2011) and a Synthesis (2009), which was requested by UNESCO for the World Conference on Higher Education (WCHE2009), have been published. The collection includes the following titles:

GUNi: Activities and Projects


1. Higher Education in the World 2006: The Financing of Universities This Report analyzes, from both regional and theoretical perspectives, issues related to financing of higher education and its social commitment. Some studied aspects are resource allocation, international cooperation, accountability, access and student mobility, and private higher education.

2.Higher Education in the World 2007: Accreditation for Quality Assurance - What is at Stake? This report is focused on accreditation as guarantee for quality assurance in higher education. It deals with issues such as the historical and sociological roots of accreditation and its current mechanisms, as well as how they are related to cross-border higher education. It also copes with the financial implications of accreditation, how corruption can be avoided or the steps to set up an ideal accreditation agency, among other relevant questions.

3. Higher Education in the World 3: Higher Education - New Challenges and Emerging Roles for Human and Social Development This report invites to reconsider the role that is assigned to higher education in terms of its contribution to human and social development. The main objectives of this report are to examine the latest research tendencies, experiences and practices, and to rethink and propose new routes for the interchange of values between higher education institutions and society.

4. Higher Education at a Time of Transformation: New Dynamics for Social Responsibility This report is a synthesis of the three precedent reports (2006, 2007, 2008), and was commissioned by UNESCO for the World Conference on Higher Education (WCHE2009). This publication was one of the three UNESCO global reports for the conference.

GUNi: Activities and Projects


5. Higher Education in the World 4: Higher Education’s Commitment to Sustainability from Understanding to Action. This report analyzes the current transformations that higher education institutions are endeavoring globally in its transition towards sustainability, as well as the emergent ideas in this field. For the first time, the results of the conference, where preliminary work was presented and discussed, are also included. The report also includes conceptual proposals, experiences and a wide range of resources and tools for transforming higher education institutions and their activity in relation to the sustainable development challenges in the world.

GUNi Knowledge Community (GUNi.KC)

GUNi.KC is a virtual meeting point for the collective building of knowledgein emerging higher education issues at a global level. The GUNi.KC offers resources for action through a web platform based in 2.0 technologies with the objectives of connecting the international community involved in higher education emerging issues, and supporting the creation, transfer and application of knowledge around the transformation of higher education and its role in front of the global challenges. GUNi.KC offers tools to stimulate the direct participation of the affiliates in order to facilitate the exchange of expertise, resources and good practices that returns as a knowledge gain to community members. In this space, research results are shared and conditions are provided for research partnerships on emerging issues in higher education. To this end, references to projects, experiences, and relevant people and institutions are offered, centering on the same areas in which GUNi works. 

GUNi.KC is structured into three areas of action:  GUNi Topics  Working Groups  Regional Corners

GUNi: Activities and Projects


1. GUNi Topics These are permanent think-tanks, created from the following thematic areas around which GUNi centers its research activity:      

Topic Topic Topic Topic Topic Topic

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Access, equity and quality Curricular innovation Open knowledge up to society Higher Education’s role in addressing major global issues Transforming education for sustainability Social responsibility of higher education

Researchers from all over the world find a space for research that enables them to actively participate in the discussion, planning and execution of research projects around these thematic areas.

2. GUNi Working Groups This is an ad hoc collaborative area for any research project in GUNi that started back in 2011. It involves a knowledge-generating process of collective creation through the configuration of working groups that tackle and research emerging themes in higher education at a global level. The objective of this strategy is to establish links within the international community that is committed to the top priority issues in the network, as well as to research and exchange of knowledge and to the development of new synergies. The working groups are based in a network working model, which understands collaboration as a combination of individual contributions which are shared in a coordinated manner with the aim to obtain a common goal. Nowadays, there are three open and active working groups, which develop research around the following thematic areas:   

WG1: Breaking Barriers for Transformation. WG2:Sustainable Development in Sub-Saharan African Higher Education Institutions. WG3: 5thGUNi Report.

These groups can be used a tool to identify and follow potential collaborators who, in accordance with the emerging opportunities for projects, can create ad-hoc groups to develop specific research projects. The outcomes of the performed actions for each working group will be added to the built-in knowledge of the community.

GUNi: Activities and Projects


3. Regional Corners This space offers detailed information on each one of the regions (agenda, community members, ongoing projects, etc). Members can suggest specific proposals to strengthen the activity of the region where they belong. This area also allows the possibility of classifying the content of the KC in terms of the region where it is developed.

International Barcelona Conferenceon Higher Education The GUNi Conference is an international forum for debate on the challenges facing higher education. Each edition of the Conference deals with an emergent issue in higher education,which is the subject also chosen for the Report. Held in Barcelona and attended by renowned experts, researchers, university leaders, policymakers, academics, and practitioners from all over the world, the Conference addresses innovative proposals and ideas, as well as the results of the latest research on each subject. Up to today, five editions have been organized with an average of 400 participants from 80 countries, 43% of which have come from developing countries. 1. GUNi Conference on the Social Commitment of Universities (2004) The first conference focused on the Social Commitment of Universities and launched the GUNi Report Higher Education in the World and the Observatory University and Social Commitment. Four Nobel Laureates took part of the Conference as speakers, and 311 participants from 36 countries attended the event. 2. GUNi Conference on the Financing of Universities (2005) In 2005, the theme of the conference was The Financing of Universities, at the same time that the report with the same subject was presented. The authors of the first GUNi Report were the speakers at the conference, offering global and regional perspectives on that issue. Furthermore, two Nobel Laureates also took part in the conference, and 344 participants from 63 countries attended this event.

GUNi: Activities and Projects


3. GUNi Conference on Accreditation for Quality Assurance. What is at Stake? (2006) In 2006, GUNi focused its conference on the accreditation, and presented the Report Accreditation for Quality Assurance. What is at Stake? Well recognized speakers from around the world took part in that conference, which was attended by 440 participants from 79 countries.

4. GUNi Conference on Higher Education: New Challenges and Emerging Roles for Human and Social Development (2008)

9 In 2008, GUNi started working biannually. The conference raised the theme Higher Education: New Challenges and Emerging Roles for Human and Social Development, and discussed the contents of the report on the same issue. A call for papers that received more than 300 preliminary papers to assess was organized, and gave as a result 70 posters. Around 526 participants from 83 countries took part in the conference.

5. GUNi Conference on Higher Education’s Commitment to Sustainability: from Understanding to Action(2010) In 2010, the fifth edition of the conference focused on the theme of sustainability, with the title Higher Education’s Commitment to Sustainability: from Understanding to Action. How higher education is being transformed around the world to contribute to sustainability was the subject of analysis. The most significant aspects of such transformation were identified with the purpose of debating and agreeing on the ways for action. About 425 participants from 90 countries attended this event. The conference was considered by UNESCO as one of the following events of the 2nd World Conference in Higher Education. For this conference, a new structure was introduced that emphasized side events, which became dynamic spaces for exchange. This change represented a significant increase on the active participation of the attendants. Also, a Call for Practices was made, where a total of 158 good practices were received, from which 24 were presented at side events and 50 in poster events. The conference featured several side events that strengthened GUNi’s status as an international meeting and reference point in the debate on HE emerging issues in the world, such as: 

The 7th International Conference and the 8th General Assembly of the PalestinianEuropean-American Cooperation in Education Programme (PEACE).

GUNi: Activities and Projects

The Public Symposium “Evaluation of the Decade for Education for Sustainable Development”, organized by the UN Inter-Agency Committee (IAC) and the United Nations University (UNU).

The 5th Meeting of the Ubuntu Committee of Peers for the Regional Centers of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development (RCE), organized by the United Nations University-Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS).

The "Green Events" Training Seminar, organized by the Barcelona Regional Centre of Expertise. Participants’evolution


600 512



400 300




200 100 0 2004





Countries represented in each edition

GUNi: Activities and Projects

GUNi Newsletter This monthly electronic publication is an essential cornerstone to reinforce and expand the GUNi network beyond its members by encouraging the dynamic involvement of a wide range of actors in higher education in its activities. It fosters cooperation between them and promotes debate and the creation and exchange of knowledge on higher education worldwide by means of both on-site and on-line activities.


GUNi Research Projects GUNi promotes, produces and collaborates on research projects in the field of higher education. These projects can be solely the work of GUNi, or collaborations with other institutions. Our principal projects include:

“Education for the Sustainable Development of Higher Education Institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa” (2009-2012)

This Project was developed in collaboration with the International Association of Universities (IAU) and the African Association of Universities (AAU), and involves two stages: a) Promotion of Sustainable Development by Higher Education Institutions in SubSaharan Africa The main goals of the project were as follows: 1. To develop a general vision of the main actions, initiatives and practices by HEIs in Sub-Saharan Africa to integrate a concern for sustainable development into their activities.

GUNi: Activities and Projects

2. To identify emerging trends and priority areas of action for the integration of sustainable development into their activities. 3. To increase awareness of the importance of HEIs in promoting sustainable development in the region. For data collection, an online survey was sent to the 498 universities and HEIs in the 35 countries of Sub-Saharan Africa. Responses were received from 73 institutions in 23 countries, representing 15% of the total sample. The survey report was presented in May, 2011 and it is available online. The results of this research appeared in the African regional analysis of the GUNi report Higher Education in the World 4. b) The Promotion of Sustainable Development by Higher Education Institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa. Examples of Good Practices This second project on HEIs in Sub-Saharan Africa is built by selecting some of the good practices described in the survey of the first phase and provides an in-depth analysis of good practices. Some of the final outcomes expected from this project are to foster the training and development of the skills of agents involved in the work of HEIs in SubSaharan Africa. The results of the project will potentially lead to initiatives and practices that strengthen the role of these HEIs as promoters of sustainability in the region.

Breaking Barriers for Transformation: From Understanding to Action (2011)

This study has as an objective to define what barriers HEIs face and what possible solutions they encounter in their journey towards sustainability.

Regional Maps on the State of the Art of Higher Education in Connection with Sustainability (2010)

These reports were published in the Higher Education in the World 4 report, to be as comprehensive a view as possible of the current state of higher education, as they relate to sustainability, for each of the six world regions (as classified by UNESCO). These illustrative reports were commissioned to six recognized researchers, one for each region. A first version was presented at the 5th International Barcelona Conference on Higher Education, entitled “Regional Dialogues. Drawing Regional Maps: What has been Achieved at this Stage?” The Regional Dialogues were intended to show and foster discussion about what has been achieved in the regions as per the introduction of sustainability in higher education institutions in the following areas: curriculum and learning methodologies, research, management and institutional links with society, and proposed priority strategies that could be used to advance this action.

GUNi: Activities and Projects


There had been no previous data before these studies, making them very relevant to the development of our work.

Trends in Higher Education in the World (2009)

This research was commissioned by the UPC. It presents the main trends identified by various sources as present and future determinants of higher education in the near future. The report was used as a basis for discussion in the process of developing the UPC Vision 2020 project.

13 

Report on Tertiary Education in Spain (2007)

This study was commissioned by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science. It was presented by GUNi to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as part of a comparative study of higher education systems in the member countries.

Higher Education Needs in Latin America (2007)

This research was commissioned by the Carolina Foundation as part of its strategy to establish future lines of action. The project analyzed the following countries: Bolivia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and the Dominican Republic.

Three Delphi studies (2006, 2007, 2008)

The results of these Delphi studies were published in the first three GUNi reports. More than 200 experts from all over the world have participated in each study: o

Delphi Study on Leaders’ Perspectives on Financing Higher Education (2006) 73 Higher education experts and leaders participated in the survey.


Delphi Study on Accreditation and Social Commitment (2007) 103 Higher education experts and leaders participated in the survey.


Delphi Study on Higher Education for Human and Social Development (2008) 214 Higher education experts and leaders participated in the survey.

GUNi: Activities and Projects

International Projection GUNi takes part of a wide number of international and regional conferences and events in order to present its activity, as well as to better know and understand different regional realities. Up to today, the following have been the most significant ones: -


Meeting of the UNESCO Forum in the Arab States. The Impact of Globalization in Higher Education and Research in Arab States. Rabat (2007). 12Th General Conference Association of African Universities. Abuja, Nigeria (2007). International UNU/UNESCO Conference Pathways Towards a Shared Future: Changing Roles of Higher Education in a Globalized World, UNU Headquarters, Tokyo (2007). Preparatory Regional Conferences for the UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education: Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean; and Europe (20082009). II Encuentro de Universidades y Consejos de Rectores de América Latina y el Caribe (2009). GUNi Asia and the Pacific Regional Conference on Excellence with or without Soul: The Cultivating of Mindful University Graduates (2009). IAU International Conference 2009 The role of Higher Education for strengthening cultural dialogue and understanding. Beirut, Lebanon (2009). Conferences Triple Helix Conference and Campus Engage Conference, Strathclyde University and Talloires Network. Dublin, Ireland (2009). 3rd International Conference on Higher Education for Sustainable Development, Penang, Malasia (2009). University-Community Engagement for Sustainability, Penang, Malasia (2009). 2ndWorld Conference in Higher Education. UNESCO, Paris (2009). 4th Living Knowledge Conference, organized by Queen’s University. Belfast (2010). Talloires Network Meeting, together with 20 higher education leaders in the Conference Center of Bellagio, Rockefeller Foundation (2010). Members of the MacJannet Prize Selection Committee for Global Citizenship (2010). Conference Crossing borders, widening horizons, The Hague, The Netherlands (2010). 1st Biennial of Higher Education and the World of Work, Chile (2011). Conference “Reimagining Democratic Societies: A New Era of Personal and Social Responsibility?”, Oslo, Norway (2011). Talloires Network Leaders’Conference, Madrid (2011). 11th International Congress on Challenges and Expectations of the University, Ciudad Juarez, México. (2011) Global Eco Forum 2011, Barcelona (2011). Parallel Plenary Panel at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) 2011 Conference, Pittsburg, USA (2011). II Jornada Ibero-Americana de ARIUSA, Itajaí, Santa Catarina, Brasil (2012). 5th Living Knowledge Conference, Bonn, Germany (2012). VII Seminario de Investigación en Educación Ambiental, Segovia, Spain (2012). Side event at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (RIO+20), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2012).

GUNi: Activities and Projects


CHRONOLOGY First Stage:  

November 1999: Meeting of UNESCO Chairs in Higher Education. November 1999: Agreement between UPC, UNU and UNESCO to create GUNi as network of UNESCO Chairs. o o o o o o o o

2000: Approval of the statutes 2001: Launching of the Higher Education - GUNi Newsletter 1999 – 2003/2004: Financing research, site conditioning and project approach 2004: First International Barcelona Conference on Higher Education 2005: Publication of the Higher Education in the World 1 Report 2006: GUNi defines its main activity 2004/2009: growth of activity and members 2009: Role at the 2nd World Conference on Higher Education (WCHE2009)

Second Stage:  

2010: Start of the biannual work. The project and its international projection are consolidated. 2010/2011: Launching of the GUNi Knowledge community and the 2.0 website.




GUNi: Activities and Projects


Activities and projects  

GUNi presentention: activities and projects

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