Higher Education Project Created

Memorandum of Understanding Signed at U.N. Headquarters

Teaneck, NJ (May 4, 2005) – Today, a memorandum of understanding creating the Higher Education Outreach Project among the United Nations, acting through its Department of Public Information (DPI), Fairleigh Dickinson University and the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA) was signed.

The three organizations have agreed to develop the Higher Education Outreach Project, using videoconferencing as a communications and learning tool. Students at Fairleigh Dickinson and other colleges and universities in the United States — if they possess the required technical capabilities — will be able to follow and participate in discussions among U.N. ambassadors, diplomats and other distinguished individuals.

Fairleigh Dickinson University is the only organization or institution with which the United Nations DPI has a memorandum of understanding regarding video-conferences.

From left, Williams Luers, President of the United Nations Association of the USA; Shashi Tharoor, U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information; and J. Michael Adams, FDU President, sign the memorandum of understanding creating the Higher Education Outreach Project.

As of May 4, the three organizations will begin to organize and develop discussions, meetings, lectures, panels, and similar events at U.N. Headquarters in New York City that are suitable for interactive videoconferencing.

For each U.N. event transmitted to FDU via videoconferencing, the University is authorized to distribute it to other colleges and universities. The Department of Public Information at the United Nations will approve the participating institutions and be responsible for the topic, program, schedule and content of these U.N. events.

The University will post the videoconferences on its Global Issues Gateway ( http://www.gig.org ) Web site and distribute videotapes to the participating institutions or other academic institutions.

This project is being created because the three organizations believe that students should learn how people from different backgrounds and different viewpoints could come together to solve global problems and promote peace.

“A university education,” said Fairleigh Dickinson University President J. Michael Adams, “should contain an understanding of and possible interaction with the United Nations. Current and future students should have opportunities to experience the vital role of the United Nations in working toward world peace, sustainable development, adequate natural resource deployment, and the welfare of individuals and nations.”

The memorandum was signed by Shashi Tharoor, under-secretary-general for communications and public information, U.N. DPI; William H. Luers, president, UNA-USA; and J. Michael Adams, president, Fairleigh Dickinson University, at U.N. Headquarters in New York City.

President Adams added, “This is an exciting collaboration. It is a direct path to the rich resources within the United Nations, and it is our intention to develop a broad college/university audience, building bridges between academia, the United Nations and the world. Fairleigh Dickinson is very proud to be part of this unique collaboration.”


About GIG.org

Developed by Fairleigh Dickinson University and launched in April 2004, the Global Issues Gateway ( http://www.gig.org ) is an educational Web site intended to illuminate the various impacts of globalization by providing information, commentary, and other global learning resources. FDU faculty oversees topic areas dealing with the global aspects of culture, economics, ethics, politics and science.

About Fairleigh Dickinson University

New Jersey’s largest private university, Fairleigh Dickinson has two campuses in northern New Jersey and a third in Wroxton, England. Dedicated to the preparation of world citizens through global education, the University features more than 100-degree programs and a nationally acclaimed Core curriculum. A nongovernmental organization associated with the United Nations, FDU students and faculty enjoy special access to U.N. resources, people and programs. It was the first traditional university to require that all undergraduate students take one distance-learning course per year. A central part of the distance-learning initiative is the creation of Global Virtual Faculty – scholars and practitioners from around the globe who contribute to online courses via the Internet.

A widely respected leader in higher education, Dr. J. Michael Adams became Fairleigh Dickinson University’s sixth president on July 1, 1999. At Fairleigh Dickinson, he has led the development of a new University vision and mission: creating world citizens who are comfortable in environments of diversity, increasingly sophisticated technology and rapid change. The author of eight books, Dr. Adams is active on national and international education panels and commissions, including the United Nations/IAUP Commission on Disarmament Education, Conflict Resolution and Peace, and is a National Council member of UNA-USA. He also serves on the Executive Committee of the International Association of University Presidents.


The mission of UNA-USA is to build a stronger, more effective United Nations through constructive U.S. leadership. UNA-USA is a leading center of policy research and outreach, with over 175 community-based chapters and divisions across the United States. It has launched cutting edge programs, including Adopt-a-Minefield® and Global Classrooms® and is a member of the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA). Meanwhile, Business Council for the UN (BCUN) helps the United Nations to engage US-based business through a series of ongoing conferences and working groups on technology, UN-private sector partnerships, risk mitigation and sovereign debt. Other UNA programs include Model UN, American NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court (AMICC), Help Education at-Risk Orphans and vulnerable children campaign (HERO), Young Professionals and Student Alliance.

William Luers is President of the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA). Prior to joining UNA-USA in February 1999, Mr. Luers served for 13 years as President of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City. Prior to his move to New York in 1986, Mr. Luers had a 31-year career in the Foreign Service. He served as U.S. Ambassador to Czechoslovakia (1983-1986) and Venezuela (1978-1982) and held numerous posts in Italy, Germany, the Soviet Union, and in the Department of State, where he was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe (1977-1978) and for Inter-American Affairs (1975-1977).

About United Nations DPI (Department of Public Information)

DPI seeks to promote an informed understanding of the work and purposes of the United Nations among the peoples of the world. It communicates the complex work of the United Nations through a variety of outreach efforts, including promotional campaigns, the United Nations Web site, radio and television, the United Nations News Centre, press releases, publications, documentary videos, special events, public tours and library facilities, with the assistance of its 77 information centers, services and United Nations offices with information components around the world.

Sashi Tharoor, the United Nation’s Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, began his work with the U.N. in 1978 and has led the Department of Public Information since January 2001. His is in charge of the U.N.’s communication strategy, with particular effort to ensure the cohesiveness and effectiveness of the U.N’s external message. Tharoor has also won several journalism and literary awards.

Fairleigh Dickinson University

Gretchen Johnson

Office of Public Relations
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This release authored with FDU Pagetoaster.