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Posted June 15, 2012

United Nations

Laurier wins unprecedented third term as home of Academic Council on the United Nations System

WATERLOO – Wilfrid Laurier University has won its bid to remain home to the prestigious Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS) for an unprecedented third five-year term.

In conjunction with the start of its new term, ACUNS is in the process of relocating to larger offices at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, in order to accommodate a new staff member and graduate student. The Balsillie School is located at the CIGI Campus, a hub of international scholarship located in uptown Waterloo, Ontario.

“Laurier’s success with ACUNS proves that a relatively small university with strong international programs can have a global influence,” said Alistair Edgar, executive director of ACUNS.

Previous hosts of ACUNS include Dartmouth, Brown and Yale universities in the United States. Laurier’s first term as the organization’s host began in 2003, when ACUNS relocated from Yale. It was the first time in 15 years that the council was hosted outside the US.

“We’ve had quite an impact on the growth of international studies in Waterloo Region,” Edgar said. He also noted that the organization has also been a boon to Laurier, through its participation in the Global Studies program, for example, and in bringing influential visiting scholars to the university.

ACUNS publishes an award-winning quarterly journal and newsletter, maintains a global network of liaison offices, and hosts international conferences and meetings on the UN and on international issues. The council works closely with the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), an independent think tank on global issues, which is also headquartered at the CIGI Campus.

“The CIGI Campus is a hub for international studies, with superb scholars, several of whom are ACUNS members, and a steady flow of high-profile visitors,” said Edgar. “This puts us in front of them.”

ACUNS’ membership of approximately 700 comes from some 50 countries and includes leading international institutions, scholars and diplomats. The organization’s mandate is to promote excellence in research, writing and teaching about the UN, international organizations, international law and the functioning of multilateralism.

The announcement of Laurier’s third term was made at ACUNS’ Annual Meeting, held June 13-15 in New York. The meeting also included celebrations of ACUNS’ 25th anniversary, and Edgar says it is fitting that the council’s capabilities are being enhanced in a milestone year.

“The fact that we’ve existed for 25 years as a council says something,” he said. “We have stronger momentum now than in the past, and over the course of our next five-year term we’ll be able to do even more.”

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