Former Vice-Rectors

  • Ichiro Kato

    First Vice-Rector and Senior Adviser to the Rector • 1975–1976

    In memoriam

    Dr. Ichiro Kato was appointed as first Vice-Rector and General Counsel of the United Nations University on 1 April 1975, while the UNU headquarters was still being organized. He subsequently was named Senior Adviser to the Rector by Rector James Hester.
    At the time of his appointment, Dr. Kato was a well-known figure in Japanese academic circles. After a long and distinguished academic career as a legal scholar, he served from 1969 to 1973 as President of the University of Tokyo. During that time, he also served as Chairman of the Association of Japanese National Universities.

    Dr. Kato handled administrative and legal affairs for the UNU, and acted as the University’s chief administrator in Tokyo during the Rector’s absence.

    Dr. Kato has published numerous books on various aspects of Japanese law. A recipient of the Matsunaga Prize, he was a member of the IAU Administrative Committee and member of the Legislative Council, and served as Vice-Chairman of the Association of Agricultural Laws and Chairman of the Japan Traffic Study Association.

    Dr. Walter Manshard (Germany)

    Vice-Rector, Natural Resources Programme • 1977–1980

    Dr. Walther Manshard, a distinguished specialist on natural resources and human ecology, was Vice-Rector for the Programme on the Use and Management of Natural Resources, a unique endeavour devoted to finding better ways to use the world’s intellectual resources for the practical benefit of humanity. He assumed his post in February 1977, after having achieved worldwide recognition in tropical geography as Professor and Director of the Institute of Geography at the University of Freiburg, Germany.

    Dr. Manshard came to UNU after notable careers in both academic and international life. A graduate of the University of Hamburg, where he took degrees in geography, geology and oceanography, and a doctorate in natural sciences, he lectured and taught widely at several universities, including the University of Southampton, University of Ghana and University of Cologne.

    Before assuming his post as Director of the Institute of Geography at the University of Freiburg, Dr. Manshard was Professor and Director of the Tropical Institute at the University of Giessen. He also served for three years (197O-1973) as Principal Director of the Department of Environment Sciences and Natural Resources Research at UNESCO in Paris.

    Dr. Manshard was Secretary General of the International Geographical Union and served as a member of the Scientific Board of the Federal Republic of Germany’s Ministry for Economic Co-operation, the German National Committee for Man in the Biosphere, and the Executive and the National Science Committees of the German UNESCO Commission. He also was a consultant to the Commission on Environmental Planning of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and to the FAO.

    The author of more than 80 papers and six books, of which his work on Africa and his study on Tropical Agriculture (London, 1974) are the best known, Dr. Manshard also edited, on behalf of the German Research Society, a series of thematic maps on tropical Africa.

    He is married to the former Kiku Koch, who was born and brought up in Japan. They have one daughter, Andrea.

    Dr. Miguel Urrutia (Colombia)

    Vice-Rector, Development Studies Division • 1982–1985

    Dr. Miguel Urrutia, a Colombian economist and labour specialist, was Vice-Rector of the Development Studies Division. Prior to joining UNU, he held a number of governmental posts in Colombia, including Minister of Energy (1977); Executive Director, with cabinet rank, of the National Department of Planning (1974-1977); Deputy Governor of the Banco de Republica de Colombia, in charge of monetary policy; and Adviser to the Monetary Board of the Junta Monetaria de Colombia.

    After leaving UNU, Dr. Urrutia was Head of the Economic and Social Development Department at the Inter American Development Bank and Director of Fedesarrollo, a private development research institute, as well as a professor at Universidad Nacional in Bogota. He served as General Manager of the Bank of the Republic of Colombia from 1993 to 2004 and is currently a Titular Professor of Economics at the University of the Andes in Bogota.

    Dr. Urrutia has published a number of books on economics, labour and development, including The Development of the Colombian Labour Movement (Yale University Press), Employment and Unemployment in Colombia (Universidad de los Andes), Compendium of Historical Statistics (Nationai University of Colombia) and Income Distribution in Colombia (Yale University Press).

    He was educated at Harvard University and the University of California at Berkeley (USA), receiving a Ph.D. in economics from the latter institution.

    Mr. Edward Ploman (Sweden)

    Vice-Rector, Global Learning Division • 1981–1986
    In memoriam

    Mr. Edward W. Ploman, a Swedish expert in international communications, was Vice-Rector of the Global Learning Division. Mr. Ploman brought to the University some three decades of experience in international communications in his native Sweden, Europe and United Nations agencies. From 1972–1981 he was Executive Director of the International Institute of Communications in London. Previously he had worked for the Swedish Broadcasting Corporation and acted as consultant to various Swedish ministries and as a Swedish delegate to intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. He worked in various capacities for the European Broadcasting Union, the United Nations, UNESCO, UNICEF and other bodies.

    Mr. Ploman published numerous books and articles in scholarly journals on satellite broadcasting, communications technology, information flow and communications policy, and planning in development and relevant international law, including International Law Governing Communications and Information (London, 1982).

    He was educated at the University of Uppsala, Sweden, where he received an LL.B degree in 1950.

    Mr. Ploman passed away in 1990 at age 64.

    Prof. Alexander A. Kwapong (Ghana)

    Vice-Rector, Institutional Planning and Resource Development Division • 1976–1988

    In memoriam

    Prof. Kwapong was educated at Achimota College (Ghana) and Cambridge University (UK), where he graduated with First Class Honours in Classics in 1951. He joined the faculty of the University of Ghana in 1953, received his PhD in classics in 1957 and became a full Professor in 1962. Professor Kwapong taught Greek, Latin and Ancient History at the University of Ghana for more than a decade and served as Pro-Vice-Chancellor, and in 1966 became the first Ghanaian appointed as Vice-Chancellor.

    In 1961–1962 he was Visiting Professor of Classics at Princeton University (USA). which awarded him an honorary degree in 1974. In 1976, he joined the United Nations University as Vice-Rector for Institutional Planning and Resource Development. This was followed by three years as International Development Professor at Dalhousie University (Canada) and two years as Director of Africa Programmes for the Commonwealth of Learning, encouraging the development and sharing of open learning/distance education knowledge and becoming a leading spokesman for higher education in the British Commonwealth.

    A classicist and an authority on higher education in development, Prof. Kwapong held honorary degrees from the University of Warwick (UK) and University of Ife (Nigeria). He was awarded the 1981 Simba Prize for Scholarly Essays (Rome) and is the author of many articles in scholarly journals.

    Prof. Kwapong served on numerous boards, including the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies and the International Council for Educational Development, the Association of African Universities, the Association of Commonwealth Universities (President, 1971), the International Association of Universities, and the International Council for Philosophy and Humanistic Studies (Vice-President), and was Chairman of the Education Review Committee of Ghana.

    After his retirement, Prof. Kwapong was appointed as Chairman of the Council of State of Ghana, an advisory body for the President and government of Ghana.

    Professor Kwapong passed away in 2014 at age 87.

    Dr. Kinhide Mushakoji (Japan)

    Vice-Rector, Regional and Global Studies • 1976–1989

    Prof. Kinhide Mushakoji, a Japanese authority on international affairs, was Vice-Rector of the Regional and Global Studies Division of UNU.

    Particularly interested in peace research, Prof. Mushakoji is the former Director of the Institute of International Relations at Sophia University, Tokyo, which he founded in 1969, a year after joining the Sophia faculty. He was a visiting professor at Princeton University and Northwestern University (USA) and, subsequently, a Senior Specialist at the East-West Center in Hawaii and consultant to the Committee on Society, Development and Peace in Geneva.

    He is a former Vice-President of the International Political Science Association and member of the Executive Board of the Japanese Political Science Association. He is also a member of the Japanese Association of International Relations, the Japanese Peace Studies Association and the International Peace Research Association. Among his publications are An Introduction to Peace Research, Japanese Foreign Policy in a Multi-Polar World and Behavioural Sciences and International Politics.

    Prof. Mushakoji was educated at Gakushuin University in Tokyo and the Institut des Sciences Politiques at the University of Paris. He is married to the former Noriko Uchida; they have one son.

    Dr. Roland Fuchs (USA)

    Vice-Rector, Development Studies Division • 1987–1994

    Dr. Roland J. Fuchs, an American geographer specializing in development problems and policies, was appointed Vice-Rector of the Development Studies Division on 1 January 1987. Dr. Fuchs had been Chairman of the Department of Geography and Special Assistant to the President at the University of Hawaii, and served concurrently as Adjunct Research Associate at the Population Institute, East-West Center in Honolulu.

    Dr. Fuchs, who has been active in both the US and international geographical communities in varying capacities for three decades, has been particularly concerned with spatial population and urbanization and regional development policies. Much of his research and writing has focussed on the countries of Eastern Europe and Asia.

    He has been a member of the University of Hawaii faculty since 1958 and Chairman of the Department of Geography since 1964. At the East-West Population Institute, he has been involved in research on urbanization, migration and development. Dr. Fuchs did post-doctoral work in Soviet urban geography and planning at Moscow State University in 1960-61, and was a Fulbright Research Scholar at Tribhuvan University (Nepal) in 1966.

    In addition to his academic career, Dr. Fuchs has served the United Nations system in various capacities. He has been a consultant to UNFPA and UNDP, and was a member of the ESCAP Technical Working Group on Migration and Urbanization in 1981.

    Dr. Fuchs is a member of the Association of American Geographers, and serves on its Committee for International Cooperation. He is currently First-Vice President of the International Geographical Union and Chairman of its Research Development Committee. He has been active in the US National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council, where he has been Chairman of the Advisory Committee for the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU). He was Chairman of the US delegations to the ICSU conferences in Amsterdam (1980) and Berne (1986). He is a member of the Council of the Pacific Science Association and of the US National Committee for Pacific Basin Economic Cooperation.

    He has published extensively in scientific journals on development, demography, land use and urbanization. He is co-author  Urbanization and Urban Policies in the Asia-Pacific Region and a number of other books on geographical policies and problems, particularly as they relate to development. Dr. Fuchs was educated at Columbia University (New York) and Clark University (Worcester, Mass.), from which he received his Ph.D. in 1959. He is a native of Yonkers, New York (born 15 January 1933).

    Dr. Takashi Inoguchi (Japan)

    Senior Vice-Rector • 1995–1997

    Prof. Takashi Inoguchi, a Japanese political scientist specializing in international relations in the Asia Pacific region, was Senior Vice-Rector of UNU from April 1995 to 1997.

    Prior to his appointment at UNU, he was Professor of Political Science at the Institute of oriental Culture of the University of Tokyo, Prof. Inoguchi also held research and teaching positions outside of Japan, including at the Universite de Geneve (1977-78), Harvard University (1984), Australian National University (1986), University of Delhi (1989), Aarhus University (1990), Johns Hopkins University (1990), Universitas Gadjah Mada (1990), University of California, Berkeley (1993) and Beijing University (1993).

    Prof. Inoguchi received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in International Relations from the University of Tokyo in 1966 and 1968, respectively. He obtained a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1974. From 1974 to 1977 he served as Associate Professor at the Institute of International Relations, Sophia University, Tokyo, and in 1977 joined the Institute of Oriental Culture, where he has been Professor of Political Science since 1988.

    Prof. Inoguchi had been a member of the international advisory committees for the Australia-Japan Research Centre, the Australian National University and the East-West Center in Hawaii. He has served on editorial or advisory boards for such journals as World Politics, International Organizations, the International Studies Quarterly, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, the Journal of Japanese Studies and the Review of International Studies. He also contributes to Japan’s policy-making as a member of the Government’s Economic Council, the Council for Stabilization of National Life and the Academic Council.

    Prof. Inoguchi has published widely, writing or editing more than 20 books in Japanese and English in the area of world affairs and international relations. His publications include Global Change: An Analysis (in Japanese, Chikuma Shobo, 1994); Contemporary Japanese Diplomacy (in Japanese, Chikuma Shobo, 1993); and Japan’s Foreign Policy in an Era of Global Change (in English, Pinter Publishers, 1993).

    Prof. Inoguchi was born in Niigata Prefecture, Japan, in 1944. He lives in Tokyo with his wife and twin daughters.

    Dr. Abraham Besrat (Ethiopia)

    Vice-Rector • 1995–1999
    In memoriam

    Prof. Abraham Besrat (1938–2002) was a nutrition and biochemistry specialist. A native of Ethiopia, after receiving his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Minnesota (USA), he returned to Ethiopia and joined Haile Selassie I University, which later became Addis Ababa University. He had many responsibilities during his time there. First, he was head of the Department of Arts and Sciences, then was promoted to Associate Vice-President for Research and Publications and then he became Dean of the College of Agriculture.

    In 1975 he became Provincial Programme Officer for Ethiopia’s National Campaign for Development, a position that entailed setting up and administrating a feeding and rehabilitation shelter for famine victims, under the direction of the Ethiopian Relief and Rehabilitation Commission. In 1978 he was appointed founding Dean of the School of Graduate Studies at Addis Ababa University. While there he put together 23 new graduate studies programmes, some of which led to master’s degrees and some to medical specialty certificates.

    Prof. Besrat went back to the USA in 1981 under a UNU fellowship as a visiting scientist in the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he worked on a UNU/UNICEF-supported research programme on primary health care. Following this, he worked for two years as a consultant advising FAO on nutritional considerations in their agriculture and rural development projects.

    Prof. Besrat joined the UNU in 1986 as a Training and Fellowship Officer. He served as the focal point for all of UNU’s training and fellowship activities and was involved with raising funds to support them. In 1989, he was promoted to Senior Academic Officer and took on added responsibility for providing technical backstopping from the UNU Centre for the Food and Nutrition Programme, the Programme for Biotechnology in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Microprocessors and Informatics Programme and, later, the UNU International Leadership Academy.

    In 1995, he became Principal Academic Officer. This position gave him greater management-oriented duties, such as participating as part of the University’s Executive Committee, helping to direct the Academic Division and developing new programmes. In 1997, he was appointed Acting Vice-Rector for seven months before becoming Vice-Rector in 1998. He was a member of UNU’s senior academic staff and was responsible for overseeing the University’s postgraduate education programme.

    Professor Besrat was married to Tsehai Gebre Selassie; they had two children, Hiruy and Naomi.

    Prof. Motoyuki Suzuki (Japan)

    Vice-Rector, Environment and Sustainable Development Programme • 1998–2003

    Prof. Motoyuki Suzuki is an environmental engineering specialist. He served as Vice-Rector from 1 April 1998 until his retirement in March 2003. He was a member of the UNU’s senior academic staff and worked as part of the University’s Environment Programme. Prof. Suzuki was born in Japan on 7 February 1941. He was educated at the University of Tokyo. After obtaining a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, he went to the University of California, Davis, as a Post-doctoral Fellow.

    In 1968, he joined the University of Tokyo as an Assistant Professor in the department of chemical engineering. He then worked his way up to Lecturer, Associate Professor and Professor. He also served intermittently as Chairman of the University’s Graduate School of Chemical Engineering. In 1995, he became the Director-General of the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Industrial Science (IIS) (the largest university-affiliated research institute in Japan, consisting of approximately 100 professors and numerous laboratories). During his term in office, IIS improved its budgetary status and increased its academic activities.

    Prof. Suzuki encouraged international cooperative research links and instigated 14 such agreements with overseas universities, including a contract between IIS and the UNU Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS). He also worked hard at improving the Institute’s relations with private research centres and the business community.

    Prof. Suzuki is actively involved in eco-restructuring initiatives. He is Principal Researcher on the project Achievement of Zero-Emission Oriented Material Cycle Systems that involves 70 researchers and is funded by the Japanese Ministry of Education. Prior to becoming Vice-Rector at UNU, he was an Adjunct Professor at UNU-IAS where he advised the Institute’s Director on zero-emission programme issues and assisted young scholars with their research.

    Prof. Suzuki is the author of 10 environmental engineering books and has published more than 300 papers in scientific journals. He has received numerous awards for his work, such as the Scientific Achievement Award from the Japan Society of Water Environment, the Distinguished Research Award from the Society of Chemical Engineers in Japan, and the Doctoris Honoris Causa from Hungary’s Veszprem University.

    Prof. Suzuki is an active member of several professional associations. He is the President of the International Adsorption Society and President of the Japan Society on Water Environment. He also belongs to the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the International Association of Water Quality, the Japan Absorption Society and the Society of Environmental Science.

    His wife’s name is Keiko. They have two children, Hiroyuki and Junko.

    Ramesh Thakur (India)

    Senior Vice-Rector, Peace and Governance Programme • 1998–2007

    Prof. Ramesh Thakur is a political scientist and peace researcher. He was appointed to the position of Vice-Rector on 1 April 1998 and was promoted to Senior Vice-Rector in October 2003. Prof. Thakur served as a member of the senior academic staff at UNU and worked as part of the University’s Peace and Governance Programme (now UNU-ISP). He is currently a Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and Professor of political science at the University of Waterloo in Canada.

    Professor Thakur was born in India on 23 November 1948. After completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Calcutta, he immigrated to Canada where he earned his Ph.D. in political studies at Queen’s University. He moved to New Zealand in 1980, where he joined the University of Otago as a Lecturer in the department of political studies. In recognition of his research achievements, he was appointed Associate Professor and then Professor. He also served intermittently as the department’s acting head. In 1992, the University granted him a personal chair in international relations. He had three significant administrative accomplishments during his 16 years at Otago: he helped to establish the annual Otago Foreign Policy School as the pre-eminent forum for foreign policy debate in New Zealand; he set up an inter-disciplinary major in Asian Studies; and he chaired the Panel to Review University Extension.

    In 1995 he was appointed to head of the Peace Research Centre at the Australian National University. While at the Centre, he was involved with policy-oriented research, workshops and dissemination on numerous undertakings, such as the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review and Extension Conference, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. He was also a consultant to the Canberra Commission on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

    Prof. Thakur has taken on various responsibilities during his career with national bodies in New Zealand and in Australia. He was a member of the Public Advisory Committee on Disarmament and Arms Control (a statutory body chaired by the Minister of Arms Control and Disarmament to aid and advise the Government of New Zealand on security issues) and a member of its Australia counterpart, the National Consultative Committee on Peace and Disarmament. He was also the External Moderator, on behalf of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, for a diploma and degree programme in international relations at the International Pacific College, prior and subsequent to the college’s establishment.

    Prof. Thakur is the author of numerous peace-related publications. His books include 14 volumes in print and an edited collection of papers from the ARF Track Two Seminar on Non-Proliferation, which was held in Jakarta in 1996 and which he helped organize and chair. He has published more than 100 journal essays and book chapters. He has had several articles printed in The International Herald Tribune, The Asian Wall Street Journal, The Australian and The Australian Financial Review.

    Professor Itaru Yasui (Japan)

    Vice-Rector, Environment and Sustainable Development Programme • 2003–2007

    Professor Yasui graduated from the Faculty of Engineering, University of Tokyo, in 1968. He received his Doctorate in Engineering from the University of Tokyo in 1973. Since 2009, he has served as president of the National Institute of Technology and Evaluation (NITE).

    Prior to joing UNU, Professor Yasui served as a Lecturer at the Institute of Industrial Science from 1975, and became Associate Professor in 1979 and full Professor in 1990. From 1996-1999, he served as Director of the Centre for Collaborative Research at the University of Tokyo. During 1998-1999, he served as representative to the National Conference for Centres for Industry-University Collaboration, and since 2000 he has served as head investigator of the Man-Earth Research Project of the Japan Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Prof. Yasui is a member of the Evaluation Committee for Independent Administrative Institutions of the Japan Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

    He has served on a number of academic societies and associations, including as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Japan Association on the Environmental Studies, as a fellow of the American Ceramic Society and as a member of the Engineering Academy of Japan.

    Prof.r Yasui has published some 150 scientific papers in academic journals, 100 papers in proceedings of international conferences, and 30 papers in university publications. He has authored or co-authored some 50 books and written more than 120 articles in commercial and other publications.

    Professor Govindan Parayil (India)

    Vice-Rector • 2008–2014

    Prof. Govindan Parayil joined the United Nations University as a Vice-Rector in August 2008, and was appointed Director of the UNU Institute of Advanced Studies in January 2009. Prior to joining UNU, he had served since 2004 as a full Professor with the Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture at the University of Oslo (Norway), where his research focus was on science, technology, innovation and sustainability. He served concurrently as Director of Research and Leader of the Innovation Group for two years.

    Prior to that, he was Head of the Information and Communications Management Programme and a member of the Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences at the National University of Singapore (2001–2004), and was on the faculty of the Division of Social Sciences of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (1994–2001). His previous academic affiliations include Cornell University, Illinois Institute of Technology and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (USA) and the University of Sulaimaniyah (Iraq).

    Professor Parayil holds a Bachelor of Science degree (Electrical Engineering) from the University of Calicut (India), a Master of Science degree (Science, Technology and Values) from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (USA), a Master of Arts degree (Development Economics) from American University (USA), and a PhD in Science and Technology Studies from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (USA). He authored Conceptualizing Technological Change (1999), edited Kerala: The Development Experience (2000) and Political Economy and Information Capitalism in India (2006), and has written numerous book chapters and articles in international journals. His co-edited book “The New Asian Innovation Dynamics: China and India in Perspective” was published in 2009. He is active in research and advocacy work in science, technology and innovation for sustainable societies.

    Prof. Kazuhiko Takeuchi (Japan)

    Senior Vice-Rector • 2008–2016

    Kazuhiko Takeuchi was Senior Vice-Rector of the United Nations University, and Director and Professor of the Integrated Research System for Sustainability Science (IR3S) at the University of Tokyo. He served, inter alia, as a member of the Science Council of Japan, as vice-chairman of the Food, Agriculture and Rural Area Policies Council, Government of Japan, and as Editor-in-Chief of the journal Sustainability Science (Springer).

    Educated and trained as a geographer and landscape ecologist at the University of Tokyo, Vice-Rector Takeuchi engages in research and education on creating eco-friendly environments for a harmonious coexistence of people and nature, especially focusing on Asia and Africa. He led the Satoyama Initiative as well as climate/ecosystem change research in Asia and Africa.

    His recent publications include “Rebuilding the Relationship between People and Nature: The SatoyamaInitiative” (Ecological Research, 25, 891-897, 2010), “Sustainability: Engaging in Global Change through Harmonious Adaptation in Asia” (co-authored, Nova Acta Leopoldina, NF112, Nr. 384, 213-226, 2010),Sustainability Science: A Multidisciplinary Approach (co-edited, UNU Press, 2011), Satoyama-Satoumi Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: Socio-Ecological Production Landscapes of Japan (co-edited, UNU Press, 2012), and “Using Sustainability Science to Analyse Social–Ecological Restoration in NE Japan after the Great Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011” (co-authored, Sustainability Science 9: 513-526, 2014).