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Home Events The Mission of the University for Peace of the United Nations

Invitation

Thursday, January 10th, 2008 from 18.00-20.00

The Brussels-EU Chapter and the European Support Centre of the Club of Rome are pleased to invite you to the 47th Aurelio Peccei Lecture at the The Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium of Sciences and Arts

The Mission of the University for Peace of the United Nations

by Dr. Martin Lees

Rector Emeritus of the University,
and Secretary General of the Club of Rome

The University for Peace is developing, teaching and disseminating programmes in the fields of peace and development, which enable local and often under-resourced universities in developing countries to take advantage of international knowledge and best practice in teaching a new generation of leaders. Martin Lees will outline the history and development of UPEACE, describe its current activities and consider the prospects for the future.

About the Topic

Recognizing the central role of education to create the human capabilities essential to peace and development, the General Assembly of the United Nations established the University for Peace in 1980 to become a world wide centre of education for peace.
The University for Peace is developing, teaching and disseminating programmes at the Masters level in eight fields. The international content, curricula and methodologies are made available to partner universities and other institutions of learning across the world. This enables local and often under-resourced universities in developing countries to take advantage of international knowledge and best practice in teaching a new generation of leaders in all walks of life who can take their future in their own hands to build sound governance, equitable societies and sustainable development.

Martin Lees will outline the history and development of UPEACE, describe its current activities and consider the prospects for the future.

About the Speaker

Besides obtaining a degree in mechanical sciences at Cambridge University, Martin Lees was awarded a post-graduate Diploma in European Studies at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium.
After working as an industry manager, he decided to make a career shift to what has become a 35-year international career. Beginning at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), he was responsible for developing cooperative programs in the fields of science and technology, as well as for designing and launching the project entitled "InterFutures", which assessed the long-term future of the world economy.

He then served at the United Nations in several capacities. In 1982, he was appointed Assistant Secretary General for Science and Technology for Development. He was also responsible for different high-level programs of international cooperation with China, including the establishment of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development.

He fondly remembers his work at the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in New York, implementing projects related to science and technology for development. Mr. Lees believes that, "If developing countries cannot use knowledge, science and technology to build their economies and to succeed in trade and investment, then they will always remain developing countries. This raised a question during the 70s and the first half of the 80s: how could developing countries build their own capacities to make use of knowledge and skills and, at the same time, carry out new activities linked to their industries and services and be successful in terms of trade and competitiveness in a difficult world economy? We were able to successfully foster a decision from the General Assembly to establish a program focusing on capacity building in developing countries, so that they could take advantage of the existing science and technology to promote development."

Mr. Lees referred to his experience as Director General of the International Committee for Economic Reform and Cooperation. Between 1991 and 1996, he developed and implemented cooperative programs with the Newly Independent States (NIS) of the Former Soviet Union and, as he pointed out, "I took on the responsibility of developing a program for supporting the transition stage of former Soviet Union’s states as they became newly independent countries. We managed to operate an interesting program to support them as they made this difficult transition from centrally-planned economies to newly independent states."

In addition to his international experience, between 1978 and 1988, Mr. Lees advised the government of China, on issues related to economic reform and the environment. Between November 1998 and December 2000, he assisted in the revitalization of the University for Peace as the Director for Program Development, which led to his appointment as the UPEACE Rector, in January 2001.
In 2007, Martin Lees was elected as Secretary-General of the Club of Rome.

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