ACUNS-UN Workshop 2023

Blueprints for Local and Global Responses to Worldwide Challenges: Understanding the Role of the United Nations in Capacity Building

Hosted by O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Delhi NCR, India

23-28 July 2023

Image Credit: International Trade Center

The 2023 ACUNS-UN Workshop will be hosted at O.P. Jindal Global University and directed by Sanjeev P. Sahni, Principal Director & Professor, Jindal Institute of Behavioural Sciences, O. P. Jindal Global University; Mónica Serrano, Professor, Centre for International Studies, El Colegio de Méxicoand Poulomi Bhadra, Assistant Professor, Jindal Institute of Behavioural Sciences, O. P. Jindal Global University.

The ACUNS-UN Workshop will bring together 10 United Nations practitioners and 10 early career researchers or practitioners from other international organizations for knowledge exchange on evidence-based policy, networking, and mentoring.    


Learning Objectives

Participants will gain research and practice-based knowledge and applied skills in the analysis of issues related to the workshop theme Blueprints for Local and Global Responses to Worldwide Challenges: Understanding the Role of the United Nations in Capacity Building. The workshop will focus on knowledge exchange between the participating researchers and practitioner; furthering evidence-based policy while encouraging new directions and ideas in the analysis of a pressing policy issue. We plan to discuss international cooperation in the following areas: 

  • Approaches to capacity development initiatives and sustainable management.
  • Reconnecting global and local levels of coordination and implementation: New models. 
  • Interactions between local and global bodies: opportunities, challenges and lessons learned.
  • Development of assessment and revision matrix to facilitate performance at different level.

To some degree, the selected issues will be shaped by the research proposals of the successful applicants, but the broader themes and skills will include:

  • Analyzing the priorities and interactions at the ground level, identifying and understanding limits and challenges underpinning local-global synergies.
  • Identifying coordination challenges among local, national, regional and international actors, as well as between intergovernmental and non-governmental actors.
  • Understanding the role of international organizations in capacity building. 
  • Assessing strategizing approaches and peer informed practices and policies behind international organizations´ efforts at capacity building.
  • Devising inclusive global and national agendas informed by deliberative models and accountable solution-oriented strategies.

Why Attend

Young scholars and practitioners (that’s you!) will present their research. The workshop will encourage participants to improve their own skills and capacities for engaging constructively in the complex but important areas of research and practice around the workshop theme. The workshop will also feature a keynote lecture, networking opportunities to strengthen connections among scholars and UN practitioners, and mentoring.

Participant Selection and Requirements

Up to 20 participants will be selected by a review committee for the workshop. Selected individuals will be notified in mid-April.

Workshop participants are expected to produce and present a paper of publishable quality in the workshop. Specifically, each participant will be required to submit a research or policy paper of 5,000-7,000 words (about 10-15 pages) on how blueprints for local and global responses to worldwide challenges can build United Nations capacity to ACUNS. The deadline to submit an initial draft will be 15 June 2023. Guidance for the papers will be provided but participants should have a clear idea of the issue they address in their paper at the time of application (see “Application Procedures” below). 

In preparation for the workshop, participants will also be expected to attend an online (Zoom) meeting in early July to introduce themselves to other participants and to present the main idea of their paper. Prior to arrival in India, participants are expected to take the time and read each other’s papers, and arrive ready to discuss each other’s work and any common themes that may be emerging from the projects. 

Participants are expected to participate fully in all aspects of the program for the full week. The workshop is designed to promote collegial exchange and networking in an intense work program. For this reason, the workshop organizers ask that participants are not accompanied by spouses, children, or other dependents. Neither ACUNS, the host institution, nor any other associated organization will be able to offer any services or support for anyone accompanying a workshop participant.

The working language of the workshop is English.

For all participants, accommodation and meals for the duration of the workshop will be covered by the host institution.Non-UN participants will receive partial assistance with travel expenses between their location and the workshop site. For UN staff participants, the UN Secretariat will cover airfare and terminal expenses.


The workshop is designed for early-career scholars and practitioners. Senior doctoral students, postdocs, junior faculty, other academic research affiliates, and equivalent representatives from the UN system, other international organizations, government agencies, and nongovernmental organizations working in areas and disciplines relevant to the theme of the workshop are eligible to apply.

UN staff interested in applying must be employed at the P-2 to P-4 levels with Fixed-term, Continuing or Permanent appointments, and with at least two years of service in the UN Secretariat.

The application review committee will consider diversity, including professional expertise (topics, regions, methods, etc.) and personal background (world region/nationality, gender, etc.). For academics, the committee will also consider diversity of fields (international relations/political science, international law, international development/economics, etc.).

Application Procedures

All applicants must complete the application form accessible via the blue button on this page. There will be unique questions posed to applicants depending on the nature of their employment: academic, UN staff, or other international organization (IGOs, NGOs, etc.) or government.

All applicants will need to provide the following:

  • A description of their substantive area of expertise (250 words).
  • A description of how participation will help their career goals (250 words).
  • A description of the written work that they would like to present (500 words).
  • A short biography (250 words).
  • Their CV or resume (only pdf files accepted).
  • The name and email of an individual who can be contacted as a reference regarding their application.

The application deadline is 10th April 2023.

Applicants will be notified by mid-April if they have been selected to participate. Due to the high number of applications, the review committee will not be able to provide individual feedback on applications or explanations of its decisions.

Format, Travel, and Covid-19

ACUNS and JGU are committed to organizing a fully in-person workshop and applicants should anticipate travel to India from 23-28 July 2023. All participants will be required to wear masks in all indoor spaces at the workshop venue. In addition, to ensure everyone’s safety, all participants will be required to conduct rapid antigen tests upon arrival and at least once during the workshop week. Tests will be provided for free at the workshop site. At the same time, contingency plans will be made to shift the workshop to a hybrid or virtual format if needed due to health concerns surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.


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