Special Events

The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) organizes a series of open lectures that are held on a regular basis at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. UNITAR also organizes high-level panels on key issues related to the United Nations, bringing together key stakeholders from the Private and Public Sector and major, key UN players.


Geneva Lecture Series

Geneva Lecture SeriesThe Geneva Lecture Series (GLS), organized in partnership with the United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG), aims at bringing awareness of pressing global challenges to the concerned public and civil society in Geneva, with a focus on how each individual can contribute to resolve such challenges. Successfully launched by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the GLS invites prominent speakers to give a lecture on an annual basis, explaining the various challenges facing the international community around a specific theme. A moderator then leads an open discussion in which participants have a rare opportunity to raise questions and engage in discussions with the internationally renowned speakers.


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Inaugural Lecture (29 April 2008): "Are the MDGS doomed to fail?" by Ban Ki-moon (United Nations Secretary-General)

Second Lecture (10 December 2008): "Are Human Rights Universal?" by Shirin Ebadi (2003 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate) and Wole Soyinka (1986 Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature)

Third Lecture (5 October 2009): "Resetting the Nuclear Disarmament Agenda" by Mikhail Gorbachev (Former President of the Soviet Union, and Founding President of Green Cross International),  Introductory statement by Ban Ki-moon (United Nations Secretary-General)

Fourth Lecture (26 May 2010): "Nature's wake-up call: Why we must heed the warning" by Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE (United Nations Messenger of Peace, and Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute)

Fifth Lecture (16 September 2010): "Building bridges: intercultural dialogue, identities and migration" by Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu (Secretary-General of the Organzation of the Islamic Conference)

Sixth Lecture (8 December 2010): " The lessons of the financial crisis and the need for new economic growth and governance models" by Dominique Strauss-Kahn (Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund) and Pascal Lamy (Director-General of the World Trade Organization)

Seventh Lecture (11 June 2012): "'How are new technologies impacting business and changing the world?" by Carlos Slim Helu (President of the Carlos Slim Foundation)

Eighth Lecture (13 November 2013): "Complexities of Peacemaking: The Untold Story" by Martti Ahtisaari (former President of Finland) and José Ramos-Horta (1996 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Guinea-Bissau and former President of Timor-Leste)

Ninth Lecture (21 April 2016): "A Civil Peace by Civil Society - Tunisian Experiences for the Future of the Region" by Ouided Bouchamaoui (President of the Tunisian Union of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts), Hocine Abassi (Secretary General of the Tunisian General Labour Union), Abessatar Ben (Moussa, President of the Tunisian Human Rights League) and Fadhel Mahfoudh (President of the Tunisian Order of Lawyers)

Tenth Lecture (9 November 2017): "Current Internet Governance Challenges: What’s next?" by Brad Smith (President and Chief Legal Officer of Microsoft), Kate Gilmore (Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)) and Phillip Spoerri, (Head of the Delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to the United Nations in New York.)