Revitalizing the United Nations for Human Rights, Peace and Development
2017 will see a new UN Secretary-General taking office on the 38th Floor at UN Headquarters, following the end of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s second term. The new SG will be faced with a number of ongoing global, regional and other challenges, and will be confronted with new issues that will arise over time. The SG also will have the job of continuing to build on the momentum of recent milestone agreements, including the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and the Commitments to Action from the World Humanitarian Summit.

While the transition in the leadership of the United Nations is likely to be a central interest for many ACUNS members, the 2017 Annual Meeting notably also marks the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Academic Council. This year’s meeting, therefore, will offer a relatively rare opportunity for members—that is, a moment to reflect on the achievements of one Secretary-General and to consider the agenda of the new leader of the global body, while connecting those reflections to discussions of the role of ACUNS and its members in promoting innovative scholarship and greater understanding of the UN system and its place in meeting global governance.

This is the first ACUNS meeting to be held in East Asia, or in Asia broadly. We will be working with colleagues of the Korean Academic Council on the United Nations System (KACUNS) in Seoul, Korea, to reach out to UN studies associations, institutions and individuals in the region. We very much welcome this as an important bridge-building initiative; thus we will look for scholarly papers that might identify and engage regional as well as global topics including but not limited to the promotion and protection of human rights; the challenges of peace and development; supporting global civil education; the dynamics of relations amongst Asian states on issues of human rights, peace and development, and how these take shape within the UN framework—including the possibility of peaceful reunification; the evolving roles of regional bodies, non-government organizations, civil society and the private sector; as well as shifts in relations between the region and external actors.

The ACUNS Annual Meeting also is being held in cooperation with the Human Rights section of the International Studies Association (ISA). We are pleased to encourage HR section members to submit Workshop paper and panel proposals, and to register to attend the Meeting.

Proposals on the Annual Meeting theme—“Revitalizing the United Nations for Human Rights, Peace and Development”—and on the subthemes and issues raised in this introductory note, in addition to other topics relating to the UN system and the broader mandate of the Council, will be considered.

The deadline for submitting a proposal for the Annual Meeting is Monday April 10, 2017.

You are invited to discuss these, and many other challenging issues, at the 2017 ACUNS Annual Meeting.