Contemporary Global Issues

UNU Global Seminar

A seminar for students and young professionals to deepen understanding of global issues and the role of the UN.

Program Level
Certificate programme
Program Start Date
7–9 August 2023

Applications for the 2023 programme are now closed.


The aim of the UNU Global Seminars is to enhance awareness about contemporary global issues and the role of the United Nations in addressing those issues. Students and young professionals are given the opportunity to interact with distinguished scholars and practitioners from Japan and abroad, and to explore a specific issue in depth through lectures and group discussions.

The seminar is open to university students (both undergraduate and postgraduate) residing in Japan, irrespective of their major. Young professionals who are interested in the theme of the seminar are also welcome, although those working in the subject area are not admissible. Participants are required to have a good command of English, as lectures will be delivered in English with no interpretation provided. 

39th UNU Global Seminar

Sustainable Agriculture and Food Production: The Way Forward to Ensure Food Security

Sustainable agriculture is a way of producing food that is healthy for consumers and animals, does not harm the environment, is humane for workers, respects animals, provides fair wages to farmers, and supports and enhances rural communities. It takes many forms but at its core is the goal of producing enough healthy food for the growing world population while reducing negative social and environmental impacts of food production.

The 39th UNU Global Seminar will examine the importance of transforming global food systems in meeting the major challenges facing humanity. Through group work, participants will discuss sustainable agricultural practices and explore how these practices can help ensure food security while mitigating negative impacts. Participants will also be tasked with developing innovative solutions to mainstream sustainable agriculture.

The seminar enables participants to interact with leaders in diverse fields of expertise, raising awareness of the global challenges facing contemporary society. Participants will develop the ability to respond to global issues that have multiple dimensions. Through group discussions and presentations using the World Café method (small-group, interchangeable dialogue), the seminar will also expand the network of participating students from other universities and those who specialise in different fields.

History of the UNU Global Seminars

The UNU Global Seminars began in Japan in the Kanto area in 1985 with the first Shonan Session, and in the Kansai area in 1995 with the Kobe Session. In Japan, additional UNU Global Seminars are held in Tohoku, Shimane-Yamaguchi, Hokkaido, Kobe-Awaji, Kanazawa, and Okinawa. The expansion of the UNU Global Seminars abroad began with the Seoul (South Korea) Session in 2003.