The role of higher education for human and social development


The role of higher education institutions is today's world immense, complex and vital. A wide range of challenges and opportunities is emerging, with many political, economic and social implications. Perhaps most significant are the challenges associated with shifting perspectives of knowledge itself, which are strongly influencing the role and the responsibility of universities in society. Universities are well positioned to link the local and the global and this gives them considerable access to and influence over change process in  may societies. It may enhance their potential to contribute to human and social development through the promotion and facilitation of citizen participation and involvement in these processes.

  • Article
    Valtencir Maldonado Mendes (Brasil) “We must not fail the billions who look to the international community to fulfil the promise of the Millennium Declaration for a better world...
  • Abdel Moneim Osman

    In this interview, Abdel Moneim Osman, Director of the UNESCO Regional Bureau of Education in Arab States and Secretary of GUNI Arab States, reflects upon the challenges for higher education and UNESCO’s projects in the region. He also gives his vision on how higher education institutions can...

  • Ana Lucia Gazzola

    In this interview, Ana Lúcia Gazzola, the former executive director of both INHOTIM and IESALC, reflects on the role of higher education in creating knowledge and eradicating economic and social inequalities. INHOTIM and IESALC (Instituto Internacional de la Unesco para la Educación Superior en ...

  • Young-Gil Kim

    Young-Gil Kim, President of Handong Global University, which is hosting the UNITWIN Network on Capacity Building of Sustainable Development in Developing Countries, details the objectives and activities of the Network and reflects upon the contribution of higher education towards sustainable...

  • David Francis

    Professor David Francis reflects on the role of higher education institutions in peace building and gives some concrete examples of how universities can contribute to post-conflict societies.

  • Mary-Louise Kearney

    Mary-Louise Kearney, Consultant to the OECD/IMHE Programme and until recently Director of the Secretariat of the UNESCO Forum on Higher Education, Research and Knowledge, shares her views on the significance of research for the development of a country. She also highlights the importance of...

  • Denise Leite

    Professor Denise Leite reflects on the concept of innovation and good practices in higher education.

  • Cristina Escrigas

    The third report `Higher Education in the World´ is about to be presented at the 4th International Barcelona Conference on Higher Education, which starts on 31 March. Cristina Escrigas, GUNI’s Executive Director, talks about its contents and main ideas.



  • UNESCO. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
  • The Catalan Association of Public Universities (ACUP)

Sponsored by

  • Generalitat de Catalunya. Ministry of Business and Employment. Department of Research and Universities
  • Generalitat de Catalunya. Ministry for Foreign Action and Open Government