Our Purpose

The Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) unites people who are active in the work and study of the UN, to better understand and address the most pressing global issues of our time. The United Nations was founded in 1945 to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” In the 21st Century, it is not only war, but also climate change, pandemic disease, new weapons, displacement, inequality, bigotry and extremism that threaten global well-being. Because these challenges disregard borders, no sovereign nation will succeed in countering them alone. Solutions to improve the human condition will most likely advance with evidence-based analysis, international legal agreement, and multilateral action. As the only institution with worldwide membership, an effective United Nations is an existential imperative for the global good. ACUNS serves to foster well-studied action in the UN system.

Who We Are
ACUNS was established in 1987 by a group of concerned scholars at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, USA. They envisioned a professional association that would unite students, scholars, advisers, practitioners, and policy makers focused on evidence-based analysis of the UN system. Since then, five universities have hosted ACUNS. In 2020, ACUNS became an independent nonprofit organization, providing a durable foundation for future development. The ACUNS secretariat is currently hosted at Georgetown University.

What We Do
Through events, publications, and online networking opportunities, ACUNS fosters analysis and debate about major international challenges. ACUNS increases the accessibility of the UN system to scholars, and facilitates the development of new scholarship about the UN and international affairs. It also recognizes and awards exceptional scholarship about the UN system. Through its work, ACUNS seeks to nurture the growth of scholarship, legal instruments, and informed policy solutions to global challenges.