In 1987 the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) was established in order to revive UN studies. Research and teaching were in the doldrums. Neither the United Nations in particular, nor multilateralism in general, were central to the concerns of faculty, students, or policy-makers. Especially in the United States, UN-bashing was popular while serious scholarly studies of the organization and the policies, processes and institutions surrounding it were few and limited in scope.
Since that time, the agenda of world politics and the world organization – and the associated range of approaches, assumptions, issues and values included in the study of the UN system and contemporary multilateralism – have expanded dramatically. Set within this context, the theme of the 25th anniversary ACUNS Annual Meeting will be continuity and change - in the UN system, in related multilateral institutions, actors and forms of agency engaged in attempting to manage the overloaded agenda of contemporary multilateralism(s), and in scholarly and policy-oriented understandings of the field.
To what extent is the United Nations today equipped to help address and solve current as well as emerging future global challenges? What are the durable features and ‘truths’ of the UN system, versus the proposed adaptations and anachronisms that have failed? Would, and should, the Charter’s framers be pleased or disappointed by subsequent adaptations? What about ACUNS’ founding mothers and fathers – to what extent would (do) they recognize and appreciate the field of scholarship and practice today, given their critical role in supporting, sustaining and promoting excellence and innovation in UN studies and in UN practice a quarter of a century ago?
As the Academic Council on the United Nations System celebrates its 25th anniversary, our members and interested colleagues – scholars and practitioners of all kinds with an interest in the United Nations, multilateral institutions and global governance - will have a wide and challenging agenda to consider at the 2012 Annual Meeting.
When & Where
ACUNS is a professional association of educational and research institutions and individual scholars, teachers, and practitioners active in the work and study of multilateral relations, global governance, and international cooperation.
Through our core activities ACUNS stimulates, supports, and disseminates research and analysis on the United Nations, multilateralism, and international organization. ACUNS also promotes teaching on these topics, as well as dialogue and mutual understanding across and between the academic and practitioner communities. A special effort is made to ensure that advanced research conducted in universities finds its way into the programs of the UN system.
ACUNS has Category 1 Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council and has NGO Affiliate status with the UN Department of Public Information.
ACUNS was founded at Dartmouth College in 1987. It was later hosted by Brown University and Yale University. In 2003, ACUNS moved to Wilfrid Laurier University, where it will reside through 2018.