UNU-IAS Celebrates 10th Anniversary

A special event highlighted the institute’s achievements and impact through a decade of policy-oriented research, education and capacity development. 

On 19 June 2024, UNU-IAS organized a special event celebrating the 10th anniversary of its founding. It was held at Tokyo National Museum, in recognition of the deep links between culture and sustainability. Bringing together current and former members of UNU leadership, donors, partners, researchers, alumni, students and staff, the event reflected on the institute’s achievements and envisioned its future progress. Focusing on the theme Synergies for Sustainability, the event featured two panel discussions — exploring integrated, science-based solutions for global sustainability, and how a human security approach can address the pressing challenges of planetary health and human well-being.  

Shinobu Yume Yamaguchi (Director, UNU-IAS) underlined the significance of hosting the event at the Tokyo National Museum, highlighting its long history of international exchange and its strong forward-looking vision. 

In opening remarks, Tshilidzi Marwala (Rector, UNU) emphasized the critical role of UNU-IAS in addressing global sustainability issues through bridging science and education for policy impact. He expressed gratitude to the Government of Japan and the many other donors and partners who have supported UNU-IAS since its establishment in 2014.  

Masaaki Kanai (Director-General for Cultural Affairs / Assistant Minister (Ambassador), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Japan) stressed that UNU-IAS was key to strengthening the presence of Japan in the UN system through its educational and capacity development activities. Discussing UNU-IAS academic and research partnerships, Masami Watanabe (Director-General for International Affairs / Assistant Minister, Ministry for Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), Japan) highlighted the institute’s contributions to science-based policymaking through knowledge generation. Yoichi Kamiya (Councillor for Cybersecurity and Information Technology Management, Minister's Secretariat, Ministry of the Environment (MOEJ), Japan) emphasized that enhancing synergies was essential to addressing the triple planetary crisis and achieving the SDGs. He noted that UNU-IAS was at the forefront of promoting synergistic actions through projects such as the International Partnership for the Satoyama Initiative (IPSI) and Education for Sustainable Development.  


UNU-IAS 10th Anniversary Event
Photo: Christian Brauneck / UNU-IAS

The first panel discussion proposed ways for UNU-IAS to enhance synergies for sustainability, such as stronger inter-institute collaboration, democratizing science through citizen and youth engagement, and facilitating the exchange of knowledge. Panelists agreed that building trust was the first step to effective collaboration between individuals, communities and organizations.  

The second panel discussion explored the future of sustainability from the perspective of a human security approach. Panelists emphasized the role of UNU-IAS in nurturing the human capital that will drive sustainable development in the future.  

Closing the event, Sawako Shirahase (Senior Vice-Rector, UNU) emphasized that strong synergies and partnerships were common features across the work of UNU-IAS, which will be crucial in driving the global transformation towards a more sustainable future. 

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