I am delighted to have become the Rector of United Nations University (UNU) in March 2023, just in time to celebrate the 30th anniversary of UNU Institute in Macau.

From 1987 to 1989, two scoping studies found that a UNU Institute focused on computing in developing countries could help support the needs of the United Nations and its Members States. The studies led to the decision of the UNU Council to establish in Macao the United Nations University International Institute for Software Technology (UNU-IIST), which was founded on 12 March 1991 and opened its doors in July 1992.

UNU-IIST developed research and capacity building programmes focusing on the pressing global problems of human survival, development, and welfare.  It helped address these problems through international co-operation, research, and advanced training in software technology.  In 2007, UNU-IIST established a comprehensive centre on research and practice in Electronic Governance, which eventually evolved into its own UNU Institute – the United Nations University Operating Unit on Policy-Driven Electronic Governance (UNU-EGOV), established in Guimarães, Portugal, in 2014.

We are standing at a critical moment of history, which is full of risks, challenges, and enormous opportunities for development. Digital technology has been changing peoples’ lives and societies on all levels. Never before has it been so important to continue producing top-level teaching, research, and policy offerings in the field of digital technology.  And UNU Macau is well positioned to contribute to these activities in support of the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

I have three principal objectives to achieve at UNU. The first is to raise the profile of UNU globally. The second is to expand the activities of UNU, particularly in the Global South. The third is to increase the capacity of UNU in the spheres of teaching, learning, research, and policy work in partnership with universities and other key stakeholders across our world. I look forward to working together with the team at UNU Macau to achieve them. Happy 30th anniversary.