On 29 November 2011, a proposal by the University of Tokyo to designate the United Nations University as a collaborating institution in its “Graduate Programme for Global Leadership Initiative” was adopted under the so-called “Ph.D. Degree Leading Programme”, funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (MEXT).
This MEXT programme — a project to promote the establishment in Japan of quality-assured degree programmes in specialized fields that will be recognized globally — seeks to gather leading faculty and students, from both within and outside Japan, so as to develop global leaders having a broad perspective and high level of creativity.
The University of Tokyo will collaborate with UNU to educate students who can contribute to international society through a joint-diploma programme as well as participate in international seminars, serve internships abroad, and so on.
In its role as a think tank for the United Nations system, with 15 research institutes in 13 countries, UNU will collaborate with the University of Tokyo through a global network of UN and international organizations.
The MEXT “Ph.D. Degree Leading Programme” covers three courses of study: (i) an “all-around” curriculum type that seeks to develop versatile leaders in the social, biological and engineering sciences; (ii) a “composite-theme” type for developing leaders in environmental sciences, life sciences or health sciences/safety, or in a cross-cutting curriculum covering all three areas; and (iii) a “single-topic” type that aims to develop leaders in a specialized theme of the relevant university.
The “Graduate Programme for Global Leadership Initiative” of University of Tokyo, in which UNU will collaborate, falls within the second category (environmental sciences).
Details of the collaboration are currently under discussion between the University of Tokyo and the UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP) in Tokyo.