UN-affiliated entity reaches deal with Catalonia to train future world leaders

RAUN academy offers program for young people willing to do multi-disciplinary research on issues tackled by United Nations

The Catalan universities minister, Gemma Geis, with the head of the Regional Academy on the United Nations, Billy Batware, on June 9, 2022 (by Guifré Jordan)
The Catalan universities minister, Gemma Geis, with the head of the Regional Academy on the United Nations, Billy Batware, on June 9, 2022 (by Guifré Jordan) / Guifré Jordan

Guifré Jordan | Barcelona

June 9, 2022 01:03 PM

The Regional Academy on the United Nations (RAUN), an entity affiliated with the UN, signed a deal with the Catalan government to "encourage" students in Catalan universities to participate in their course.

The event took place on Thursday in Barcelona, where the universities minister, Gemma Geis, formalized the agreement with the organization's founder and president emeritus, Billy Batware.

Geis said that the program "allows students to tackle topics related to the UN and international cooperation," with training offering "practical skills needed to work in companies and institutions."

Foreign minister Victòria Alsina also attended the signature and said RAUN course will enable students to be "part of the conversation on how to put multilateralism in practice" in global challenges such as climate change or Covid.

"I hope in the next few years, when you are the ones running the world, you remember this experience (the course) and create the same experience for the generations that come after you," she told the around 20 students attending the event.

RAUN will run the tenth edition of its program in the coming months, with 22 of its 41 participants coming from Catalonia, more than in any of the previous editions.

The course covers topics related to activities tackled by the UN and some of its agencies, and this year it focuses on reducing inequalities through innovation.

Students will have the opportunity to carry out research projects with organizations including UN entities and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Talking to Catalan News, Batware said that the agreement between RAUN and the Catalan government will "open up opportunities for young people in Catalonia, to get to know the UN and to network with people from around the EU and around the world."

He also explained that they are not looking for a particular profile because "RAUN is on the UN and the UN is everything," as long as they are Masters' and PhD students in any field.

International relations is one of the most common backgrounds for students, but those enrolled in the upcoming edition also include future "lawyers, political scientists, and economists."

Students must be enrolled in a university since the Regional Academy is an extra-curricular program that can be attended in addition to regular lectures. The program consists of three in-person workshops held in Europe over the academic year.

According to Batware, most of the students are European, but there are some from "Asia, Africa, the US, and Australia" who mostly study in European universities.

Indeed, one of the students Catalan News spoke to, who had a background in economic development, was from Lebanon. "I am, at the moment, working on a PhD in economics and innovation policy, and I am very interested in the topic of how to make economic policy sustainable," she said. The RAUN student hopes to work in international public policy, ideally in a UN agency.

Another pupil, from Catalonia, is specialized in "EU and international public law" and wants to meet people from around the world and do research. She would like to work "for a UN organization such as the World Intellectual Property Organization."