Rector (Under-Secretary-General)

Applications procedure
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    Fixed Term Appointment
    Tokyo, Japan
    UTC +9

    The application deadline for this position has been extended to 15 August 2021, 23:59 JST (UTC +9).

    About United Nations University (UNU)

    UNU is the academic arm of the United Nations and for the last four decades has been a go-to think tank for evidence-based research on the pressing global problems of human survival, development, and welfare. Fully funded through voluntary-contributions, UNU counts over 400 researchers in 12 countries, and its work spans the full breadth of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, generating policy-relevant knowledge to effect positive global change in furtherance of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. UNU maintains numerous collaborations with UN agencies, leading universities, and research centres.

    The position

    The United Nations University is recruiting a new Rector. The Rector is the chief academic and administrative officer of the University and has overall responsibility for the direction, organisation, administration, and programmes of the University. The Rector is appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations after consultation with the Director-General of UNESCO. The position carries the rank of United Nations Under-Secretary-General and requires extensive overseas travel.

    Required qualifications

    Required qualifications include:

    • an advanced university degree, with strong preference for a Ph.D.
    • a prominent academic profile with evidence of high-quality research work in the course of his/her career
    • demonstrated understanding of contemporary development and policymaking challenges
    • experience translating research for policy communities
    • demonstrated management experience as the head of a university or research centre is required
    • fluency in English is essential

    Desirable qualifications and characteristics

    Desirable qualifications and characteristics include:

    • an established profile in the international community
    • experience in managing donor relations and raising funds for organisations
    • knowledge, appreciation of, and commitment to the principles and ideals of the United Nations
    • capability to maintain close cooperation with individuals, governments, and research institutions worldwide to promote scientific cooperation
    • great drive and initiative to achieve the goals of UNU
    • demonstrated commitment to gender and diversity issues
    • fluency in other official United Nations languages is desirable

    Start date

    It is expected that the appointee will take up the position on 1 March 2023.

    Duration of contract

    The initial appointment will be for a five-year term, with the possibility of a second term.
    Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for this position. UNU is committed to achieving gender balance and geographical diversity in its staff. The university has a zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority, and discrimination.


    UNU offers an attractive package at the Under-Secretary-General level within the UN system, including an annual net salary and post adjustment, which reflects the cost of living in Tokyo. Benefits include 30 days annual leave, dependency benefits, pension plan, health insurance, and applicable additional benefits and entitlements.

  • Interested candidates should email their applications in English to the UNU Rectorship Nominating Committee at by no later than 15 August 2021.

    The application must contain the following supporting documents:

    • a cover letter describing how the candidate’s qualifications and experience match the requirements of the position
    • a curriculum vitae
    • a list of publications
    • a completed and signed UNU Personal History (P.11) form; please avoid using similar forms provided by other United Nations organisations

    Human rights screening
    Individuals who seek to serve with the United Nations in any individual capacity will be required, if
    short-listed, to complete a self-attestation stating that they have not committed, been convicted of, nor
    prosecuted for, any criminal offence and have not been involved, by act or omission, in the commission
    of any violation of international human rights law or international humanitarian law.

    Conflicts of interest
    All United Nations staff members are expected to uphold the highest standards of efficiency,
    competence, and integrity. Senior leaders in particular, have the responsibility to serve as role models
    in upholding the organisation’s ethical standards. Short-listed individuals will also be required to
    complete the pre-appointment declaration of interests for senior positions to identify possible conflicts
    of interest that may arise and to proactively prevent and manage, as much as possible and in a timely
    manner, situations in which personal interests may conflict or appear to conflict with interests of the
    United Nations, should the individual be appointed to this position.

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