UN University, worldwide partners launch online university
Universities in developed countries have been taking ever-greater advantage of new technologies through online learning programmes and other virtual efforts, and it is time now for that experience and expertise to reach educational institutions in the developing world, Mr. Annan said in a message delivered by the UN University Rector, Hans van Ginkel, at the launching ceremony of the Global Virtual University (GVU) in Arendal, Norway.
The Global Virtual University is an online university for sustainable development, with a particular objective to meet the needs of the developing world. GVU will promote an international network of equal-partner universities and institutions delivering e-learning courses and programmes with a global outreach focused on environment and development. These institutions – organized as a branch of the UN University with an administrative centre in Arendal – will issue common diplomas and will develop joint academic degrees.
“An information society has emerged, and the developing world must be a full partner,” the Secretary-General said, stressing that the GVU, under the auspices of the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP), is a fine example of building bridges in an area of crucial importance to human prosperity; environmentally sustainable development. “As such, it can make an important contribution to efforts to achieve the objectives set out at last year’s World Summit for Social Development in Johannesburg,” he added.
The GVU initiative also offered the prospect of constructive international cooperation, not only between rich and poor countries, but also within the developing world. The GVU will be administered by UNEP’s partner Global Resource Information Database (GIRD-Arendal) and will include Norway’s Adger University among its core partners.
“I am pleased to know that African universities from Ghana, Uganda and South Africa are among the participants,” Mr. Annan said, urging all to work together to ensure this “invaluable tool succeeds in its efforts to promote education, protect the environment and shape a more sustainable future for our world.”