Press Release

United Nations University Prepares to Bid Farewell to Two-term UNU Rector David M. Malone

When Dr Malone finishes his tenure as UNU Rector on 28 February 2023, he will be succeeded by Professor Tshilidzi Marwala of South Africa.

On 15 February 2023, the United Nations University (UNU) will host a special public Conversation Series event to commemorate the 10-year tenure of UNU Rector Dr David M. Malone.

Dr Malone joined the University for a five-year term as UNU Rector on 1 March 2013, and was reappointed to a second term from 1 March 2018. When he finishes his tenure as UNU Rector on 28 February 2023, he will be succeeded by Professor Tshilidzi Marwala of South Africa, previously Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Johannesburg.

During his decade as Rector, Dr Malone has driven several significant changes that have fundamentally altered the character of the UNU. It is thanks in large measure to his efforts that today, more than ever, UNU is sought out by the United Nations Secretariat and across the global United Nations system as a “neutral knowledge broker” that provides objective, impartial evidence to inform policymaking and contribute to solving real-world problems.

UNU has always produced research of strong academic and scientific value, but under Rector Malone’s leadership the University realigned its work programme to be more responsive to the needs of the United Nations and its Member States; emphasised the development of larger, more ambitious research initiatives; and strengthened its linkages with other UN system entities.

Central to this effort was the 2014 launch of the UNU Centre for Policy Research (UNU-CPR), initially incubated in Tokyo under Rector Malone’s guidance. In 2018, UNU-CPR relocated to New York, thereby strengthening the University’s capacity to support the UN system’s policy needs and enhancing UNU’s visibility at UN Headquarters. UNU-CPR works with the Executive Office of the Secretary-General in several priority policy areas, including playing a significant, if modestly scaled, role in implementing Our Common Agenda (the UN Secretary-General’s vision on the future of global cooperation) and serving as Secretariat for the UN High-Level Advisory Board on Effective Multilateralism.

Additionally, the UNU Operating Unit on Policy-Driven Electronic Governance (UNU-EGOV), established in Portugal during Rector Malone’s term, has increased the University’s capacity to support digital transformations and electronic governance in the developing world.

During his tenure, Rector Malone oversaw streamlining of the UNU system’s governance and management; strengthened the role of UNU institute advisory boards; and, in partnership with excellent chairs of the UN Council, sought to enhance the governance functions within UNU. Also important was his push to achieve gender parity in UNU leadership positions. While at the start of Dr Malone’s term, UNU had just one female institute director and no female UN professional staff within the Rectorate, currently six of thirteen UNU institute Directors, both Vice-Rectors, and UNU’s Executive Officer are women.

Rector Malone also strengthened UNU Centre in Tokyo as a hub for public and academic reflection in part by inaugurating in 2013 the public UNU Conversation Series to bring international voices to Tokyo. It is fitting, therefore, that he will be the featured speaker for the last Conversation Series event during his rectorship. The topic of Rector Malone’s conversation will be “The UN — Past, Present, and Future”.

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Journalists who would like to speak with Dr Malone before his departure may contact UNU Head of Communications Kyra Bowman ( or Japan Communications Specialist Yukiko Nakahari (

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