The United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) is an initiative that aligns institutions of higher education with the United Nations in actively supporting and contributing to the realization of UN goals and mandates including the promotion and protection of human rights, access to education, sustainability and conflict resolution. McMaster has been a member of UNAI since its formation in 2010, and is part of a diverse network of students, academics, scientists, researchers, think tanks, institutions of higher education, continuing education and educational associations in more than 120 countries around the world.
The UNAI is informed by a commitment to support and advance ten basic principles:
  1. Addressing Poverty – A commitment to addressing issues of poverty through education;
  2. Capacity Building – A commitment to building capacity in higher education systems across the world;
  3. Education for All – A commitment to educational opportunity for all people regardless of gender, race, religion or ethnicity;
  4. Global Citizenship – A commitment to encouraging global citizenship through education;
  5. Access to Higher Education – A commitment to the opportunity for every interested individual to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary for the pursuit of higher education;
  6. Human Rights – A commitment to human rights, among them freedom of inquiry, opinion, and speech;
  7. Intercultural Dialogue – A commitment to promoting inter-cultural dialogue and understanding, and the “unlearning” of intolerance, through education.
  8. Peace and Conflict Resolution – A commitment to advancing peace and conflict resolution through education;
  9. Sustainability – A commitment to promoting sustainability through education;
  10. United Nations Charter – A commitment to the principles inherent in the United Nations

The members of UNAI believe that every subject and discipline can have an impact on these goals and member institutions commit to recognizing this link and, often without additional effort or expense, undertaking activities that can directly support United Nations mandates and objectives.

“By sharing ideas, across borders and disciplines, we can find solutions to the interconnected problems that cause so much suffering. Climate change is not just an environmental threat; it is closely tied to poverty. Poverty is not just about jobs, it is directly related to food security. Food security has an impact on health. Health affects generations of children. Children hold the key to our future. And education can lead to progress on all these fronts.

Former UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, at the launch of the United Nations Academic Impact on November 18, 2010

Member institutions are asked to report annually on at least one activity relevant to the goals of UNAI. Recent McMaster reports can be found below.