The UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Network Programs
One of UNESCO's major roles in the UN system is to build capacity in developing countries and regions emerging from conflict through such flagship initiatives, such as Education for All, the Literacy Initiative for Empowerment, and the International Program for the Development of Communication.Since 1992, UNESCO has worked to strengthen higher education in the developing world through the UNITWIN and UNESCO Chairs programs. These programs encourage higher education systems in the industrial world to build relationships and share research and expertise with institutions in developing countries as well as regions in transition. Each year, UNESCO designates approximately thirty new UNITWIN networks and UNESCO Chairs in total throughout the world; a majority is awarded to universities.
UNESCO Chairs are awarded each year to individual colleges, universities and research institutions to initiate programs that further research and training in one of UNESCO's fields of competence. A Chair may be established by reinforcing an existing teaching or research program and giving it an international dimension, or one may be established as a new teaching and research unit. More information on current Chairs can be found on the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs section of UNESCO's website.
Through the University Twinning and Network Scheme (UNITWIN), UNESCO matches colleges, universities and research institutions in industrialized countries with counterparts in the developing world to share information and knowledge in areas of need. Scholars who participate are often linked through web sites and portals, in addition to loaned faculty positions, trainings and conferences. One example is the ORBICOM network, established in 1994 to link UNESCO Chairs and associate members in the field of communication and communications technologies.