Monday, 31 May 2021 14:32

Vacancy Announcement: Rector of the United Nations University

Organizational Unit: United Nations University Centre, Tokyo, Japan

Reference Number: 2021/UNU/HQ/RO/FTA/R/79015

Applications to: Chair of the Nominating Committee

By Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Closing Date: 15 July 2021

About the Organisation:

UNU is the academic arm of the United Nations and for the last four decades has been a go-to think tank for evidence-based research on the pressing global problems of human survival, development, and welfare. Fully funded through voluntary-contributions, UNU counts over 400 researchers in 12 countries, and its work spans the full breadth of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, generating policy-relevant knowledge to effect positive global change in furtherance of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. UNU maintains numerous collaborations with UN agencies, leading universities, and research centres. For more information, please visit

The Position:

The United Nations University (UNU) is recruiting a new Rector. The Rector is the chief academic and administrative officer of the University and has overall responsibility for the direction, organization, administration, and programmes of the University. The Rector is appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations after consultation with the Director-General of UNESCO. The position carries the rank of United Nations Under-Secretary-General and requires extensive overseas travel.

Required qualifications:

Advanced university degree, with strong preference for a Ph.D. The successful candidate must have a prominent academic profile with evidence of high-quality research work in the course of his/her career. In addition, he/she will demonstrate an understanding of contemporary development and policymaking challenges and will have experience translating research for policy communities. Demonstrated management experience as the head of a university or research centre is required. Fluency in English is essential.

Desirable qualifications and characteristics:

Established profile in the international community. Experience in managing donor relations and raising funds for organizations. Knowledge, appreciation of, and commitment to the principles and ideals of the United Nations. Capability to maintain close cooperation with individuals, governments, and research institutions worldwide to promote scientific cooperation. Great drive and initiative to achieve the goals of UNU. Demonstrated commitment to gender and diversity issues. Fluency in other official United Nations languages is desirable.

Start Date:

It is expected that the appointee will take up the position on 1 March 2023.

Duration of Contract:

The initial appointment will be for a five-year term, with the possibility of a second term.

Female candidates are strongly encouraged to apply for this position. UNU is committed to achieving gender balance and geographical diversity in its staff. The University has a zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination.


UNU offers an attractive package at the Under-Secretary-General level within the UN system, including an annual net salary and post adjustment, which reflects the cost of living in Tokyo. Benefits include 30 days annual leave, dependency benefits, pension plan and health insurance, and applicable additional benefits and entitlements.

Application Procedure:

Interested candidates should email their applications in English to the UNU Rectorship Nominating Committee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. no later than 15 July 2021.

The application must contain the following supporting documents:

  • a cover letter describing how the candidate’s qualifications and experience match the requirements,
  • a curriculum vitae,
  • a list of publications, and
  • a completed and signed UNU Personal History (P.11) form, which can be downloaded at; please avoid using similar forms provided by other United Nations organisations.

Human rights screening:

Individuals who seek to serve with the United Nations in any individual capacity will be required, if short-listed, to complete a self-attestation stating that they have not committed, been convicted of, nor prosecuted for, any criminal offence and have not been involved, by act or omission, in the commission of any violation of international human rights law or international humanitarian law.

Conflicts of interest:

All United Nations staff members are expected to uphold the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity. Senior leaders in particular, have the responsibility to serve as role models in upholding the organization’s ethical standards. Short-listed individuals will also be required to complete the pre-appointment declaration of interests for senior positions to identify possible conflicts of interest that may arise and to proactively prevent and manage, as much as possible and in a timely manner, situations in which personal interests may conflict or appear to conflict with interests of the United Nations, should the individual be appointed to this position.

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