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The United Nations University (UNU) is the academic arm of the United Nations. It bridges the academic world and the United Nations system. Its goal is to develop sustainable solutions for current and future problems of humankind in all aspects of life. Through a problem-oriented and interdisciplinary approach it aims at teaching, applied research and education on a global scale. UNU was founded in 1973 as an autonomous organ of the United Nations General Assembly. The University comprises headquarters in Tokyo, Japan, and more than a dozen Institutes and Programmes worldwide.


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UNU-Barcelona begins work in its Sant Pau historic site premises

7 March 2013, Barcelona — The United Nations University (UNU) is pleased to announce that its academic Institute in Barcelona has, as of this month, embarked on a multidimensional research programme aimed at achieving a better understanding of cultural diversity and mobility in the context of globalization.

The UNU Institute in Barcelona (UNU-Barcelona), which became operational on 17 September 2012 with the appointment of Prof. Dr. Parvati Nair of the UK as its founding Director, is funded by the Government of the Kingdom of Spain and supported by the Generalitat of Catalonia. On 20 February 2013, the staff of UNU-Barcelona moved into the Institute’s permanent premises within the Sant Manuel Pavillion of the Sant Pau Historic Site.

The Institute’s specific areas of interest within these broader themes will be migration, media and intercultural dialogue; female agency, mobility and socio-cultural change; socio-cultural impacts of the global economic crisis on migration; and statelessness and transcontinental migration. In carrying out its research, teaching, capacity building and policy advisory work, UNU-Barcelona will seek to engage with other United Nations system organizations as well as with research and teaching centres of excellence throughout the world.

”I am honoured to have had the privilege of founding the UNU Institute in Barcelona”, said Director Parvati Nair. “Our focus will be on pressing issues of globalization, culture and mobility that are fundamental for a better understanding of the impacts and challenges of development at global and local levels.

Director Nair, born in Oslo to Indian parents, is a UK national. Prior to joining UNU, she was Professor of Hispanic, Cultural and Migration Studies (2007–2012) and Director of the Centre for the Study of Migration (2009–2012) at Queen Mary, University of London. Her previous positions at Queen Mary included Reader in Hispanic Cultural Studies (2006–2007), Senior Lecturer in Hispanic Studies (2004–2006) and Lecturer in Hispanic Studies (2000–2004). From 1995 to 2000, she was Senior Lecturer in Spanish at London Guildhall University.

Prof. Dr. Nair holds a BA in Spanish from Westfield College, University of London, and an MA in Teaching of Foreign Languages and Literature from the Institute of Education, University of London. She received her PhD (in Spanish Cultural Studies) from Birkbeck College, University of London.

Prof. Dr. Nair is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, an Assistant Fellow of the Institute of Romance Studies and the Institute for the Study of the Americas (School of Advanced Studies, University of London), and a member of the Advisory Board of OECUMENE: Citizenship After Orientalism (based at the Open University (UK) and funded by the European Research Council). She has published widely and served on the editorial board of several refereed journals. She is the Principal Editor of CROSSINGS: Journal of Migration and Culture.

“As a newcomer myself to UNU, I am particularly pleased to support the important work of Director Nair in the UNU family”, said UNU Rector David Malone. “I am confident that under her leadership, the new UNU Institute in Barcelona will quickly establish itself as a leader in the field of globalization, culture and mobility.”

Full press release




Ms. Mirjam Kaplow

Head of Communications

Tel.: (+1) 212-963-6346