KOLKATA: The United Nations (UN) has chosen the Northeast region of India as the site for setting up its second global university that will facilitate study on conflict-resolution, among other subjects. The UN University is being set up in one of two states — Assam or Meghalaya — as per the tripartite agreement signed by the UN, Government of India and Federation of UN Associations in India. The university, will be the second such varsity in the world after Tokyo
Apart from key areas where UN specialises as a global body promoting humanitarian and — often — peaceful military assistance, the university will offer courses on arts, social science, management, science and UN studies at the graduation, post-graduation and research level. The university will admit students from various countries and is expected to play a crucial role in promoting the region across the world.
“The university will be set up in the state capitals Guwahati or Shillong of Assam and Meghalaya subject to availability of land,” Dr Aswini Sharma, secretary general of the Unesco Association here said
Though there is palpable excitement over the development among the locals as they believe the university will go a long way in development of states and the region as a whole. “This is the best news for the region as it will put us on the global map. Until now few people knew about the states. Now the whole world will take notice,” said Joseph Cajee, a senior lawyer in Assam.
However, the state governments of both the states seems strangely less enthused as neither has written back to the UN identifying and allotting the required 20 acres of land for the university.
“We wrote to both the state governments in 2014 and again in August this year. We are yet to get a reply. The Meghalaya government has got back to us,” said Sharma.
Officials in Meghalaya say that though they are eager to host the university, finding suitable land of 20 acres in a hilly state like theirs is a difficult task considering that many people have to be relocated and they do not want the UN officials to face any unpleasant situation. “It is not an easy task to locate a single 20 acre piece of land in a hilly region like Shillong. We are working on it and will soon get back to UN,” said a senior state bureaucrat privy to the development.