UNESCO launched the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme in 1991 as an international action plan for academic solidarity to strengthen inter-university co-operation with particular emphasis on support to higher education in the developing countries.
The programme works towards establishing and reinforcing strong and durable linkages amongst higher education and scientific institutions worldwide and at facilitating the transfer of knowledge while combating the brain drain. Special attention is paid to providing assistance through inter-regional and (sub)regional linkages.
The UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme encompasses a broad spectrum of activities requiring very flexible modes of action. It is based on genuine, equal partnership among the higher education institutions which initiate various projects within its framework.
Two types of closely interrelated and interdependent activities have emerged as the base for the major strategies for implementing the Programme: inter-university networks and international UNESCO Chairs. While individual chairs responding to specific needs are possible, the programme endeavours to create the proper conditions to allow each chair to be a focal point of a network or to be a part of a network.
The UNITWIN network on Interreligious studies
New publication on intercultural dialogue: “World religions in the context of contemporary culture: New perspectives of dialogue and mutual understanding”
The new book “World Religions in the Context of Contemporary Culture: New Perspectives of Dialogue and Mutual Understanding” presents the results of a joint international research project conducted with the support of the UNESCO Cluster Offices in Moscow and Almaty in the framework of the UNESCO/UNITWIN Network on Interreligious Dialogue for Intercultural Understanding. The project has been implemented by the UNESCO Chair on Comparative Studies of Spiritual Traditions, their Specific Cultures and Interreligious Dialogue located at the Saint Petersburg Branch of the Russian Institute for Cultural Research with participation of leading experts from 10 countries, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russian Federation, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The international collective monograph is dedicated to the elaboration of the fundamental principles of responsible and constructive intercultural dialogue with consideration of different spiritual and religious traditions in the contemporary world, especially those rooted in the age-old traditions of world religions. It contains also an analysis of its main challenges, the most up to date prospects, a collection and evaluation of the good practices that have appeared in this realm, and practical recommendations. The authors focus on the new perspectives of dialogue and mutual understanding between Christianity and Islam, in particularly in the Russian Federation, Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus. The research has been conducted with due consideration of the strategic directions of the activities of UNESCO in the cultural realm. The monograph comprises three thematic parts. The first one is dedicated to 'fundamental problems of interfaith dialogue in the present-day world', the second one presents 'issues and prospects of dialogue between Islam and Christianity in multi-ethnic societies of the present-day world', while the third one contains 'reflections on fundamental issues of education for new prospects of interfaith dialogue in the context of contemporary culture'. The book is intended primarily for young students, as well as for broader international reading audience, interested in a new and dynamic realm of science, namely, the theory of intercultural, interfaith dialogue, especially between the adherents of Christianity and Islam. It is abundantly illustrated by pictures and photos, some of which are unique, and is prone to serve as a true introduction into the world of religious and cultural diversity of present-day world, especially the post-Soviet countries. The publication is available in English and in Russian on the UNESCO website