A Short Story of SUNRA
-By ZHANG Guihong, Secretary-General of SUNRA

Proposed by Ambassador CHEN Jian, former UN Under-Secretary-General (2001–2007) and instructed by United Nations Association of China (UNA-China), the Shanghai UN Research Association (SUNRA) was initiated and established in September 2013 by a few distinguished scholars from leading universities and academic institutions in Shanghai.

Founding Conference

As the first and only NGO of its kind in China, SUNRA was registered at Shanghai Administration Bureau of NGOs, supervised by Shanghai Federation of Social Science Associations, and affiliated with Fudan University.

SUNRA aims to help consolidate and strengthen UN research in Shanghai, promote the development and cooperation of UN agencies in Shanghai, and earn more support from the UN and other international organizations for the development of Shanghai. The main activities of SUNRA are to coordinate and guide UN studies in Shanghai, to assist and provide convenience to UN agencies for their activities in China, and to offer consultation and service regarding UN issues for government and society. SUNRA will achieve these aims through academic research, policy consultation, professional training, and cultural communication.

In the past five years, SUNRA has created close partnership with UN agencies, including, but not limited to, UNAOC, UNITAR, UNU, and UNDP. In September 2015, SUNRA was granted the status of member of the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), a program initiated by the former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Transformative Global Governance: China and the United Nations

SUNRA has organized several international conferences including UNAOC Asia South Pacific Regional Consultation Shanghai in 2012, Transformative Global Governance: China and the UN in 2014, and the 15th East Asian Seminar on the UN System in 2015. SUNRA also signed MOUs with UNITAR and UN South-South Cooperation Office to promote relevant programs in Shanghai.

In collaboration with UNA-China and Chinese Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, SUNRA organized and sponsored the international civil servants capability training program at Fudan University, Beijing Language and Culture University, and Shanghai International Studies University. The purposes of the program are to educate potential Chinese international civil servants and enhance global views and international communication capability for Chinese youth.

One of SUNRA’s main activities is to organize the annual Youth Forum for UN Studies. SUNRA has organized the Forum three times, with the theme of “UN and South-South Cooperation” (2014), “UN and International Rule of Law” (2015), and “UN and Peace Operations” (2016), and will organize the fourth one, “UN and Protection of Human Rights”, in 2017.

At the invitation of SUNRA, numerous UN officials and scholars have visited and delivered speeches in Shanghai, including Frederic Eckhard (the former spokesman of UN), Ms. Louise Fréchette (the first UN Deputy Secretary-General), Michael Doyle (the former UN Assistant Secretary-General), Hand Blix (the former Director General of IAEA), Lakhdar Brahimi (United Nations envoy and advisor), and Carlos Lopes (the former Executive Director of UNITAR), among others.

SUNRA actively supports and sponsors the UN studies in Shanghai. In addition to the above international conferences, SUNRA also supports for the publications of Series on UN Studies, including UN Secretary-General; UN Dialogue among Civilizations; UN Development Report; China, UN and Global Governance; The United Nations and South-South Cooperation; The United Nations and International Rule of Law; UN Electoral Assistance, which have been published by Current Affairs Press. The Chinese Ministry of Education’s project of UN Development Report and the annual book of UN Studies are financially supported by SUNRA.

SUNRA has 120 members, most of whom are scholars of international studies from universities and think tanks in Shanghai. While PAN Guang, UNAOC Ambassador and a senior research fellow at Shanghai Academy of Social Science, is the President of SUNRA, Ambassador CHEN Jian, former UN Under-Secretary-General, and Mr. ZHOU Hanmin, Vice Chairman of Shanghai Committee of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, are invited to be the Honorary Presidents. SUNRA also established the Experts Steering Committee, with Ambassador LU Shumin, President of UNA-China as the Director.

Along with China’s rising leadership role in UN peace and development, SUNRA will conduct several key projects in the coming years on the topics such as China’s participation in UN Peacekeeping Operations, China’s implementation of the UN 2030 sustainable development agenda, China’s cooperation with UN on “One Belt, One Road” initiative, as well as South–South cooperation.

SUNRA welcomes everyone from UN and all over the world to visit us and promote mutual cooperation in order to achieve the goal of “strong UN and better world”.

Please contact us through:
Professor ZHANG Guihong (Secretary-General of SUNRA)
Address: 478 Wuzhong Road, Shanghai (201103), China
Email: [email protected]