UN Connects with Academics and Civil Society

    UN Connects with Academics and Civil Society

    Vienna, 19 January 2012 (UNIS) - The 2nd annual conference on "UN Agencies Connecting with Academics and the Civil Society" was held at the Vienna International Centre (VIC) from 11 to 13 January 2012.

    The United Nations Information Service (UNIS) Vienna co-hosted the conference together with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). It was organized by the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) in cooperation with the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs (BMEIA), the Vienna Based Offices of the UN, several Austrian Universities, the UN Associations of Hungary and the Czech Republic and Transparency International.

    Anne Thomas, UNIS Vienna Information Officer, welcomed organizers and participants and pointed out that "it is particularly encouraging that this conference follows an event of similar format that took place in this building nearly one year ago. With this emerging regularity, it looks like Vienna is fast becoming a hub of a very active form of engagement between the UN system, academia and civil society."

    Helmut Böck, Permanent Representative of Austria to the United Nations in Vienna, highlighted the significance of the event by saying that "Interactions between UN agencies on the one hand, and students, NGOs, universities and other educational institutions on the other hand, open up new ways of thinking on both sides."

    More than 300 people participated in the opening ceremony, including current UN officials as well as academics, politicians and students.

    This year, the conference focused on issues of nuclear security, nuclear disarmament, equal access to energy, green economy and development and corruption. "There is an urgency to invest in the next generation of disarmament and non-proliferation specialists by increasing the awareness and understanding of the international non-proliferation framework," Tibor Toth, Executive Secretary, Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) commented.

    UNIS Vienna supported the conference and a UN Colloquia on "Global Zero - Fiction or Reality?". A new element of the event was the Young Scholars Conference, during which papers on the conference's main themes were submitted and presented by international students.

    The event featured three days of lively workshops, vivid presentations and discussions with experts who advised students and provided detailed teaching materials and information on e-learning platforms.