Official Opening of UNU-GCM in Barcelona

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  • 2013•09•17     Barcelona

    The new Institute of the United Nations University focuses on culture and mobility

    Barcelona, 17 September 2013 – The United Nations University Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility (UNU-GCM) is pleased to announce its official opening on 17 September 2013.

    The event took place in the Administration Pavilion of the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site in the presence of the Rector of UNU, Dr. David Malone; the President of the Generalitat of Catalunya, the Right Honourable Mr. Artur Mas; the Mayor of Barcelona, Mr. Xavier Trias; and the Secretary General of Universities, D. Federico Morán-Abad.

    The Founding Director of UNU-GCM, Prof. Dr. Parvati Nair, said “the mission of UNU-GCM is to contribute to good governance, democracy and human rights through a better understanding of culture and mobility in the context of globalization.”

    Professor David Abulafia, a historian of the Mediterranean from the University of Cambridge, gave an Inaugural Lecture on “Migration and Culture in the Mediterranean”. The musician Eduardo Paniagua and his group offered a concert entitled Three Cultures; Muslims, Jews and Christians in Medieval Spain. The event was followed by a reception and an exhibition of photographs of contemporary Barcelona by Samuel Aranda, photographer and winner of the World Press Photo Award in 2012.

    UNU-GCM is the only institute of the United Nations University thus far to be based in southern Europe and in the Mediterranean region. Work at UNU-GCM focuses on culture and mobility, with special emphasis on the impact of migration and media on these issues through a series of structured research programmes. The Institute’s specific areas of interest within these broader themes are migration, media and intercultural dialogue; female agency, mobility and socio-cultural change; socio-cultural impacts of the global economic crisis on migration; and statelessness and transcontinental migration.

    UNU-GCM is part of the United Nations University (UNU) system. UNU was founded in 1975 as the academic arm of the United Nations. Its mandate is to support the United Nations and its Member States through research, postgraduate education and capacity building, and to serve as a think tank for the United Nations system.

    UNU is a global university, with its headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, and active institutes and programmes in 12 countries worldwide. The focus of UNU’s work is on pressing global problems that are of concern to the UN rather than along the lines of traditional academic disciplines. UNU also builds strong links with academic entities and engages actively in policy advice, knowledge dissemination, capacity formation and academic collaborations. Its research agenda engages closely with questions of development.

    UNU-GCM is proud to be hosted at the San Manuel Pavilion of the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site, in the city of Barcelona. As the most important Art Nouveau Site in the world, designed by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1997. Constructed between 1902 and 1930, the 12 pavilions that form the Site housed the Santa Creu i Sant Pau Hospital for nearly a century, one of the most modern hospitals of its time. In 2009, the working hospital was shifted in order to facilitate the restoration of the Site. This constitutes one of Europe’s major projects for the restoration of heritage.

    About the Founding Director of UNU-GCM, Prof. Dr. Parvati Nair

    Parvati Nair is the Founding Director of the United Nations University Institute on Globalization, Culture and Mobility (UNU-GCM). She is also Professor of Hispanic, Cultural and Migration Studies at Queen Mary, University of London, where she was formerly the Director of the Centre for the Study of Migration.

    She completed her undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral studies at the University of London. Her research is in the field of Cultural Studies, with a particular interest in the geopolitical and cultural contexts of the Hispanic world. Her research focus is on the fields of community, migration, displacement, marginality, ethnicity, gender and cultural memory. Much of her work has focused on these issues as represented in photography, film and music.

    Her first two books focused solely on Spain in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Her subsequent research has acquired a broader and more comparative focus. She is interested in questions of culture, identity, memory and narrative in terms of travel, translation and translocation. This necessarily involves research methodology and focus that take into account globalization, mobility and migrancy as features of contemporary culture. Her preferred research methodology combines the theoretical analysis of cultural texts and media with ethnographic fieldwork. She has a keen interest in photography and music, especially with regard to the ways in which cultural and aesthetic representation provide inroads to knowledge and power for communities that are marginal, displaced or rendered migrant. She is also the founder and Principal Editor of the peer-reviewed journal Crossings: Journal of Migration and Culture. 

    Her publications include A Different Light: The Photography of Sebastião Salgado (2011, Durham and London: Duke University Press); Rumbo al norte: inmigración y movimientos culturales entre el Magreb y España (2006, Barcelona: Edicions Bellaterra); Configuring Community: Theories, Narratives and Practices of Community Identities in Contemporary Spain (2004, London: Modern Humanities Research Association); Hispanic and Lusophone Women Filmmakers: Critical Discourses and Cinematic Practices (2013, co-edited with Julian Gutiérrez-Albilla, Manchester University Press); and Gender and Spanish Cinema (2004, co-edited with Steven Marsh, Oxford: Berg Publishers).

    About the Rector of UNU, Dr. David Malone

    Dr. David M. Malone joined the United Nations University on 1 March 2013 as its sixth Rector. In that role, he holds the rank of Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations.

    A Canadian national, Rector Malone holds a BAA from l’École des Hautes Études Commerciales (Montreal); an Arabic Language Diploma from the American University (Cairo); an MPA from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; and a DPhil in International Relations from Oxford University.

    Prior to joining the United Nations University Dr. David Malone served (2008–2013) as President of Canada’s International Development Research Centre, a funding agency that supports policy-relevant research in the developing world.

    Dr. Malone previously served as Canada’s Representative to the UN Economic and Social Council and as Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative of Canada to the United Nations (1990–1994); as Director General of the Policy, International Organizations and Global Issues Bureaus within Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT, 1994–1998); as President of the International Peace Academy (now International Peace Institute), a New York-based independent research and policy development institution (1998–2004); as DFAIT Assistant Deputy Minister for Global Issues (2004–2006); and as Canada’s High Commissioner to India, and non-resident Ambassador to Bhutan and Nepal (2006–2008).

    Dr. Malone also has held research posts at the Economic Studies Program, Brookings Institution; Massey College, University of Toronto; and Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University. He has been a Guest Scholar and Adjunct Professor at Columbia University, and an Adjunct Professor at the New York University School of Law.

    Dr. Malone has published extensively on peace and security issues. His most recent books include Nepal in Transition: From People’s War to Fragile Peace (as co-editor; 2012, Cambridge University Press) and Does the Elephant Dance? Contemporary Indian Foreign Policy (2011, Oxford University Press).


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