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The UNESCO Chair in Transnational Challenges and Governance

The UNESCO Chair in Transnational Challenges and Governance was established by an agreement between American University, Washington, D.C. and UNESCO dated 8 March 2011. Amitav Acharya was appointed as the inaugural chairholder. The creation of the Chair was in response to momentous developments in world politics, especially the increasing mutual vulnerability of nations to transnational challenges, such as climate change, drug trafficking, people smuggling, competition for scarce energy resources, new forms of pandemics, terrorism, and the spread of technologies of mass destruction. The initiative also came on the backdrop of a diffusion of world power, triggered not just by the “emerging powers” (e.g. China, India, Brazil, South Africa), but also by a host of transnational actors and institutions. Underlying the establishment of the chair was a belief that despite the uncertainty and risks caused by any power diffusion, the shared need for confronting common global challenges offers opportunities for new forms of multilateral cooperation in which emerging actors play a central role.  

The core objective of the UCTCG is to study transnational challenges and explore solutions to them through multilateral cooperation at global and regional levels. The Chair is currently established at the School of International Service at American University in Washington, D.C.

A key initiative of the UNESCO Chair is the Transnational Challenges and Emerging Nations Dialogue, or TRANSCEND. As a worldwide network of academic research centers, policy think-tanks, government agencies and non-governmental organizations, TRANSCEND specifically aims to forge a shared understanding among the developed and developing countries of how to manage the current diffusion of world power in the face of growing transnational challenges.

The Principal Thematic Areas of the UNESCO Chair in Transnational Challenges and Governance are:

·       Concepts and Approaches: Ideas and approaches to global and transnational governance.

·       Human Insecurity and Non-Traditional Threats: Transnational threats matter and are here to stay. The nature and impact of transnational threats, e.g. climate change, financial crises, pandemics, human trafficking etc., and responding to them with the help of emerging nations.

·       Multilateralism and Diffusion of Power: The role of emerging forums, especially the G-20, and how they reshape North-South relations.

·       Governing Regional Worlds: The role of regional institutions and how they affect the management of transnational issues.

·       Ideas and the Unity of Civilizations: History tells us that civilizations do not necessarily clash, but learn and benefit from each other. How to translate these lessons into concrete policy tools to arrest the perceptions of a clash of civilizations?


The UNESCO Chair Program

Report on Activities: The UNESCO Chair in Transnational Challenges and Governance (UCTCG): 2010-2013

Brochure of the UNESCO Chair in Transnational Challenges and Governance (2016)


Brochure of the Transnational Chellenges and Emerging Nations Dialogue (pdf)