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Inaugural Ceremony and Symposium

New UNU-ISP Postgraduate Programme Declared Open

UNU Rector Konrad Osterwalder speaks at the Inaugural Ceremony and Symposium for the New UNU-ISP Postgraduate Programme. Photo: UNU-ISP

The United Nations University (UNU) celebrated the launch of a new postgraduate programme, the Master of Science in Sustainability, Development, and Peace, offered by the UNU Institute for Sustainability and Peace (UNU-ISP), with a ceremony and symposium on Friday, 3 September.

The event was held in the U Thant International Conference Hall at UNU Headquarters in Tokyo, in collaboration with the Japan Foundation for UNU. More than 300 people attended, including distinguished guests, UNU alumni and the general public.

In his opening remarks, UNU Rector Konrad Osterwalder expressed his deep appreciation for the support given to UNU in its evolution towards a true graduate school, and highlighted UNU’s unique characteristics and importance for the global community. Mr. Koïchiro Matsuura, former UNESCO Director-General, honoured UNU’s achievements and expressed his expectation that UNU will produce international leaders and experts.

Professor Dennis Meadows speaks at the keynote lecture. Photo: UNU-ISP

The ceremony was followed by a symposium featuring a keynote lecture “Implication of The Limits to Growth for Peace” delivered by Professor Dennis Meadows, Professor Emeritus of Systems Policy, University of New Hampshire and co-author of The Limits to Growth. It has been nearly four decades since publication of the book, “The Limits to Growth”, which modelled the consequences of a rapidly growing world population faced with finite supplies of resources and drew attention to the concept of sustainable development.

In his lecture, Prof. Meadows emphasized that humankind has exceeded the earth’s carrying capacity in terms of global population, industrial production, climate change and the use of fossil fuel resources. He argued that the habits of the human race up until this point in history are no longer practical, and that our values as a species must change. The lecture was followed by an open forum on “Implications of The Limits to Growth for the Future of Humanity”.

The first cohort of UNU-ISP master’s degree students will begin their two-year course on 13 September 2010.