The Universitas Programme is one of the working tools of the KIP International School. Originally set up in 2001 by ILO, UNDP, and UNOPS, Universitas is based on the premise that universities and research centres have an important role to play in taking forward the commitments of the main international summits of the ‘90s and the Millennium Assembly (Millennium Platform).
Universitas works with universities and research institutes of the south and north to design and realize professional development activities, higher education programmes and action-oriented research to meet the development priorities of their territories in line with the UN Millennium Platform. In doing this, it brings together academics and researchers, practitioners, policy makers and students and engages them directly in concrete development practices: the programme organizes intensive short courses (summer schools) and post-graduate diploma courses, and provides technical assistance for setting up local human development laboratories that encourage the systematization of practice, action research for innovation and international exchanges among researchers, practitioners and students. In interested countries, these activities are guided, at national level, by a steering committee chaired by the Ministry of Higher Education and other pertinent national institutions. Where interest exists, the programme facilitates the establishment of international university and decentralized cooperation partnerships for the implementation of these activities.
Universitas also manages two international tools for knowledge dissemination that contribute to the International School’s cultural campaign:
- The Human Development Resource Net is an open-access electronic library that archives material in four languages that can contribute to building an organic body of knowledge for the Millennium Platform and teaching material for interested universities and training programmes. (www.hdrnet.org)
- Universitas Forum is a peer-reviewed open-access electronic journal that publishes material in four languages and in various formats related to local human development and the Millennium Platform (www.universitasforum.org), giving priority to knowledge and know-how coming from southern contexts that may not be well-known internationally but could be pertinent in other realities. Where possible, Universitas establishes agreements with international partners to launch research projects aimed to systematize innovative practice in forms that can be published as articles, videos, teaching tools and so on.