UNITWIN is the abbreviation for the university twinning and networking scheme. This UNESCO Programme was established in 1992. The UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme consists of the establishment of UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks in higher education institutions. The UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme promotes international inter-university cooperation and networking to enhance institutional capacities through knowledge sharing and collaborative work. The Programme supports the establishment of UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks in key priority areas related to UNESCO’s fields of competence – i.e. in education, the natural and social sciences, culture and communication.
Through this network, higher education and research institutions all over the globe pool their resources, both human and material, to address pressing challenges and contribute to the development of their societies. In many instances, the Networks and Chairs serve as think tanks and as bridge builders between academia, civil society, local communities, researchers and policy-makers. They have proven useful in informing policy decisions, establishing new teaching initiatives, generating innovation through research and contributing to the enrichment of existing university programmes while promoting cultural diversity.
As of May 2017, about 700 Chairs are established within the Program around the globe in 116 countries covering about 70 disciplines. There are presently 24 UNESCO Chairs in the field of environmental education and education for sustainable development. In March 2017 Payame noor University as 14th UNESCO chair in Iran was selected by UNESCO to establish a Chair in the field of Environmental Education specially in the regard of waste management for 4 years.
Dr. Seyed Mohammad Shobeiri selected as Chair holder and leads the program.