Academic Impact is a program of the Outreach Division of the Department of Public Information. It is open to all institutions of higher education granting degrees or their equivalent, as well as bodies whose substantive responsibilities relate to the conduct of research. Its essential frame of reference is:
i) To bring into association with the United Nations, and with each other, institutions of higher learning throughout the world.
ii) To provide a mechanism for such institutions to commit themselves to the fundamental precepts driving the United Nations mandate, in particular the realization of the universally determined Millennium Development Goals
iii) To serve as a viable point of contact for ideas and proposals relevant to the United Nations mandate.
iv) To promote the direct engagement of institutions of higher education in programs, projects and initiatives relevant to this mandate.
Academic Impact is informed by a commitment to support and advance ten basic principles:
1. A commitment to the principles inherent in the United Nations Charter as values that education seeks to promote and help fulfil;
2. A commitment to human rights, among them freedom of inquiry, opinion, and speech;
3. A commitment to educational opportunity for all people regardless of gender, race, religion or ethnicity;
4. A commitment to the opportunity for every interested individual to acquire the skills and knowledge necessary for the pursuit of higher education;
5. A commitment to building capacity in higher education systems across the world;
6. A commitment to encouraging global citizenship through education;
7. A commitment to advancing peace and conflict resolution through education;
8. A commitment to addressing issues of poverty through education;
9. A commitment to promoting sustainability through education;
10. A commitment to promoting inter-cultural dialogue and understanding, and the “unlearning” of intolerance, through education.
Participants in this initiative are expected to undertake to further, within their institutions, policies and programmes that reflect adherence to the principles governing Academic Impact. This would specifically include:
a) Undertaking one new activity each year, to actively address at least one of the ten basic principles of Academic Impact listed above. Examples of this could include research projects and papers, the hosting of a conference, the financing of participation of students in a specific United Nations activity in the field, or a specific action or activity on campus. Any activity which is sponsored or paid for by a United Nations entity in the context of its own work programme shall be excluded from consideration.
b) Placing prominently upon its websites, or in periodic printed publications, details of such activity, highlighting its relationship to Academic Impact.