WUSTL joins UN Academic Impact

Initiative engages academia to create better world

Washington University in St. Louis has joined 600-plus universities in more than 100 countries as a member of the United Nations Academic Impact.

In response to world challenges, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon officially launched Academic Impact at the UN headquarters in New York in November 2010. The global initiative was formed with the belief that the path to a peaceful, prosperous future is through education. Academic Impact seeks to create a better world by engaging academia and fostering a culture of shared intellectual social responsibility.

WUSTL’s participation is being organized through the McDonnell International Scholars Academy.

“Our McDonnell Academy Scholars have met with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on two occasions over the past five years, and this is a way for Washington University to build closer ties to the UN,” says Jim Wertsch, PhD, academy director and the Marshall S. Snow Professor in Arts & Sciences. “The strong initiatives we have in globalization at Washington University make us a natural candidate for Academic Impact.”

Specifically, the initiative aligns institutions of higher education with the UN in actively supporting 10 universally accepted principles. These principles, derived from the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Millennium Development Goals, focus on areas of human rights, literacy, poverty, sustainability and conflict resolutions.

In endorsing the 10 principles, universities make a commitment to use education as an engine for addressing world problems.

Academic Impact asks each participating college or university to demonstrate support of at least one of those principles each year. The UN is establishing 10 hubs, one for each principle, to receive and disseminate ideas among participating universities.

For more information on Academic Impact, visit academicimpact.org.