UN Studies

Research Centres

UN Studies

The Centre for the Study of United Nations aims to develop a learning platform on opportunities and limits of the UN by enhancing research and building knowledge on how the United Nations system works both in terms of institutional development and in terms of promotion and implementation of various multilateral policies. The Centre fits very well with the global vision and global aspirations of Jindal Global Law School and also with O.P. Jindal Global (Institution of Eminence Deemed To Be University) commitment to independent scholarship and academic freedom.

In 1953 the first UN Secretary-General Trygve Lie welcomed Dag Hammarskjöld, the second Secretary-General, arriving in New York, saying: “Welcome, Dag, to the most impossible job on this earth.” The UN has been often criticized and turned into a scapegoat, when states failed to live up to the initial expectations of its founders. But let’s also remind what Dag Hammarskjöld famously once said that the UN “was not created to take us to heaven, but to save us from hell”. The Centre for the Study of United Nations engages in projects studying the history and the traditions but also takes a transformative approach to research, teaching and societal engagement, having in mind latest dynamic geopolitical and technological shifts.

The modern world has become dangerously over-armed, over-populated and over-heated, and states cannot deal with the challenges alone. They need international co-operation to foster common actions. They need also consistent support from civil society and private sector. The Centre therefore promotes dialogue and mutual understanding across and between academics, practitioners, civil society and students in India and abroad. It aims to build and disseminate knowledge on the most pressing global problems and possible solutions, to assist in developing capacity among stake-holders.

The Centre for UN Studies at JGU was established in 2015 with the aim to:


  • Identify knowledge gaps and undertake individual and collaborative research related to the UN institutional developments and its role in international peace and security, human rights, sustainable development, climate change etc. and publish the outcomes of this research.
  • Engage with partner universities, think-tanks and other academic bodies in India and abroad to analyse, brainstorm and issue recommendations as to how to reform and strengthen the UN system.
  • Organize public lectures, conferences, workshops, debates and other events, facilitating exchange of experiences and viewpoints, disseminating knowledge on the UN, engaging faculty and students in deliberations and discussions on most pressing contemporary global issues.
  • Organize career events for students interested to work in the UN and its vast network of agencies, inviting representatives of UN agencies based in Delhi or visiting UN practitioners.

The Centre formulates collaborative research projects, each having its specific partnership, focus, scope, budget and implementation schedule. Normally a project will run between 2 and 3 years, engaging a dozen of scholars and will result in edited books or special issues in academic journals. Projects will normally start with a planning meeting, followed by concept drafting, a scope conference with partners, donors, beneficiaries, call for papers, project workshop followed by editing books or special issues in journals. The publications will be promoted at book launches and presentations at academic conferences.

Book name: Fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals On a Quest for a Sustainable World

Edited by Narinder Kakar, Vesselin Popovski, Nicolas A. Robinson

This book contains assessment of the progress, or the lack of it, in implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through review of the assessments and of case studies, readers can draw lessons from the actions that could work to positively address the goals.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is designed to catalyze action in critical areas of importance to humanity and the planet. The effort to implement the SDGs, however, demands a sense of urgency in the face of environmental degradation, climate change, emerging conflicts, and growing inequality, among a number of other socio-economic problems. Five years after the launch of the 2030 Agenda, this book takes stock of how far the world has come and how we can position ourselves to achieve the global targets. The book is one of the first to assess how the implementation is impeded by the onset of COVID-19. It contains a special chapter on COVID-19 and the SDGs, while many thematic chapters on different SDGs also assess how COVID-19 adversely affects implementation, and what measures could be taken to minimize the adverse effects.

This publication thus provides a fresh look at implementation of the SDGs highlighting impactful and creative actions that go beyond the business-as-usual development efforts. The volume reinforces this analysis with expert recommendations on how to support implementation efforts and achieve the SDGs through international and national strategies and the involvement of both the public and private sectors. The result is an indispensable textual tool for policy makers, academia, intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), as well as the public, as we march toward the 2030 deadline.

  • On 23 February2015 the Centre for the Study of United Nations organized a two hours theatrical-musical performance titled “Transforming Dystopia into Ourtopia” to commemorate 70 years of the United Nations, produced by Dr. Rama Mani, an internationally renowned peace-builder, poet-performer and a Senior Researcher at the Centre for International Studies, University of Oxford. The performance was followed by academic discussion on peace, justice and reconciliation, fitting into the theme of the two-days joint Jindal-Murdoch Conference at OP JGU (23-24 February).

  • On 4 March2015 the Centre organized a guest lecture “Climate change and global policy regimes: towards institutional legitimacy” by Dr. Tim Cadman, Research Fellow with the Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance and the Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law at Griffith University, Queensland, Australia. The lecture was followed by a discussion on the governance of sustainable development, environmental politics and policy, climate change, responsible investment, and institutional performance.

  • On 10 March 2015 the Centre jointly with the Centre for International Legal Studies organized a policy debatewhere Vesselin Popovski faced three students from the JGU Debate Society. The motion for the debate was “RIP R2P” on whether the doctrine of Responsibility to Protect remains relevant in International Law.

  • On 30 March 2015 also in collaboration with the Centre for International Legal Studies a Lunchtime Panel Discussionon Careers in International Law: UN Internships was held with speakers McCall Carter, Associate Legal Officer, United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, Prof. Stephen Marks and Prof. Vesselin Popovski.

  • On 6 April2015 the Global Studies of Rutgers University, New Jersey, invited the Centre’s director Popovski for its distinguished lecture on ‘Law of Armed Conflict’. The lecture may be viewed online here <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwAprRTqvHE>

  • On 2-3 May 2015 the Centre co-organized the Model UN General Assemblywith the JGLS Students’ Society where JGLS students coached high school pupils from several schools in the State of Haryana, presenting countries’ positions on four major topics of the UN General Assembly.

  • On 4 May 2015the Centre organized UN Careers Seminar on the in T1 150 seater auditorium. Ms Jiji Bhattacharjee, Head of HR for UNDP India was the guest speaker, giving the students an institutional perspective on the kind of internships and entry level job opportunities that exist in the various UN organs. She was joined by Dr Sudarshan, Dean JSGP, Prof. Stephen Marks, Prof. Gudmundur Eiriksson and Prof. Popovski. The event was attended by many students from across schools and was extremely useful for students who would like to apply for UN jobs. Many students remained in touch with Ms Bhattacharji over email after the event.

  • On 13 June 2015the Centre organized a panel during the Annual Meeting of the Academic Council of the UN System (ACUNS), held at the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, presenting its completed edited book ‘Ethical Values and Global Climate Integrity Systems’ (Ashgate 2015) where five authors from the book presented their chapters. This is the first of three books to result from the ARC-funded project jointly with the Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law (IEGL) of Griffith University. On 15-16 June 2015 the Centre organized the second workshop from the same ARC-funded project in the premises of the T.M. Asser Institute in the Hague on ‘Global Carbon Governance and Climate Justice’.

  • On 30 July 2015 in Tokyo, Japan, the Centre organized and took part in the third meeting of its MEXT-funded project ‘United Nations History and Human Peace’, presenting the project progress and planning next activities.

  • On 21 August 2015the Centre organized a guest lecture by Prof. Eiji Oyamada (Doshisha University, Japan) on ‘Good Governance, Transparency and Anti-Corruption

  • On 14 September 2015the Centre organized a guest lecture by Prof. Alistair Edgar (Waterloo University, Canada) on ‘United Nations at 70’

  • On 27 October 2015the Centre co-organized the launch of the report ‘Confronting the Crisis in Global Governance’, a joint initiative of the Hague Institute for Global Justice and the Stimson Centre (Washington DC), for which the Centre contributed one of the main background papers ‘Reform of the UN Security Council’

  • On 2 November 2015the Centre organized a guest lecture by Prof. Peter Spiro on ‘Dual Citizenship’

  • 15 February 2016 guest lecture by Prof. Margaret Walton-Roberts (Wilfrid Laurier University) on ‘Migration, Development and Global Governance’

  • On 17-18 March 2016the third workshop from the ARC-funded project with the Institute for Ethics, Governance and Law (IEGL) of Griffith University on ‘The Climate Change Policy after the Paris Agreement’. The papers will be collected in an edited book.

  • On 14 April 2016a second Career Event “How to Work in International Organizations?” was organized in the T1 150 seater auditorium. Jiji Bhattacharjee, Head of HR came again and was joined by Silje Holmboe, HR Analyst with the UNDP New York Office, Dr Deepti Kapoor (ICRC Marketing and Sourcing Officer), Dean Sudarshan, Prof. Gudmundur Eiriksson and Prof. Popovski. The event again was very useful and attended by many students.

  • In October 2016the ACUNS Summer Workshop on ‘Implementation of International Law through Facilitation Mechanisms’ looking at the limitations of imposing sanctions, and whether facilitating the implementation through specific measures and mechanisms may offer an alternative model.

  • 20-21 February 2019 Conference ‘The Future of the UN” with Dr. Sukehiro Hasegawa, Dr. S. M. Sharei, Virendra Dayal, Chimnaya Garekhan, Dilip Sinha, Malakesh Sharma and other senior UN experts

  • 27 July 2019 Book Launch for Palgrave Handbook on Global Approaches to Peace, University College, London

  • 9 September 2019 Keynote on Mechanisms of Implementing SDGs at the Conference ‘Agenda 2030 and the Role of Sciences’, United Nations University, Tokyo

  • 22-23 October 2019 Keynote on ‘Implementing Climate Change Regimes’ at the Green Global Growth Summit, Seoul, Korea, organized by the Global Challenges Foundation, Together First, UN75

  • 2 November 2019 Panel presentation on ‘Reforming the UN Peace and Security Architecture’ at the Annual Conference of the Peacebuilding Forum, JICA Research Institute, Tokyo

  • 4-12 November 2019 Presentations on Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Corruption at several meetings with law firms and the Department of Justice, Sao Paulo, Brazil

  • 15 December 2019 Keynote speech ‘From Peacebuilding Commission to Peacebuilding Council’ at the Stimson Centre Global Policy Dialogue, 2019 Doha Forum 

  • 21-24 January 2020 World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland. Organizing and chairing the panels on “Leadership and Higher Education” (21.01.2020) and “The Role of Global University for Sustainable Future” (22.01.2020) at the Caspian Week

The Centre for the Study of the United Nations (later ‘The Centre’) was set up in 2015 as a learning platform to explore and analyse the opportunities and the limits of the United Nations (UN) system as part of the global governance.