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OSU joins networks focused on global impact

Friday, July 21, 2023

Media Contact: Kelli Norton | Communication Specialist | 405-744-5496 |

Oklahoma State University’s work towards global sustainability has been internationally recognized, and now, the university has formally joined two academic networks with a focus on global sustainability. In July, the university was notified that it had been accepted as a member of both the U.N. Academic Impact Network (UNAI) and the University Global Coalition (UGC).

Formed in 2010, the UNAI assembles a diverse group of students, academics, scientists, researchers, think tanks and universities from around the world. The network has over 1,600 member institutions representing over 150 countries, reaching over 25 million people in the education and research sectors worldwide. The UNAI facilitates interaction between institutions of higher education and the United Nations to contribute to the U.N.’s missions. 

U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the foundation of the United Nations’ work globally through 2030 and currently instruct the UNAI’s projects with their members.

The U.N. describes SDGs as the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. World leaders adopted the SDGs in 2015, marking the most ambitious global contract ever sanctioned. SDGs are a priority of the UNAI as they facilitate collaboration and publicity regarding SDG activities. 

“In 2020, OSU made the SDGs our framework for international engagement,” said Dr. Randy Kluver, associate provost and dean of OSU Global. “Joining UNAI and UGC enables us to learn from other institutions and organizations about best practices in the academic context, such as curriculum development, sustainability practices, and sharing what we have learned.” 

OSU’s efforts towards sustainability in 2023 ranking of 72 overall among over 1,600 global universities in participation of SDGs. The rankings come from the fifth edition of the Times Higher Education Impact Rankings, which assesses how universities’ research, stewardship, outreach and teaching contribute to global sustainability. 

Kluver emphasized that joining the two organizations of institutions with similar commitments helps raise the visibility of OSU’s deep global and local impact and exposes more opportunities for students.

In addition to the SDGs, the UNAI promotes research and collaboration on advancing and protecting human rights, access to education and conflict resolution. Further benefits of UNAI membership include potential student scholarships and connecting directly with the U.N.

“Our students gain a better understanding of the role of the U.N., and the role of their university, in addressing these critical global challenges,” Kluver said.

The UGC — founded in 2019 by an international group of university leaders —  also prioritizes SDGs by promoting their incorporation into the teaching, research, operations and partnerships of higher education institutions through a commitment from institute leadership. 

“Our partnerships are complementary,” Kluver said. “We develop them because they are mutually beneficial, in helping us learn more about the others’ context and efforts, and them to learn about ours. These partnerships, such as study abroad programs, can directly help our students and faculty, as it opens up opportunities for them to learn more about the international context and to see a dimension of their scholarship or research that they might not see if they were to stay here.”

Story By: Kelli Leech |

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