The „UNESCO Chair for Peace Studies“ was established in Innsbruck in 2008. ON 26 January, peace researcher Ass.-Prof. Dr. Rina Alluri was inaugurated as the new Chairholder. She succeeds Dr. Dr. Wolfgang Dietrich, who had held the chair since 2008. “I’m really looking forward to exploring how this Chair can support us in deepening the cooperations we already have, reflecting on where adaptations can be made and expanding our networks more strategically,” says Alluri.
Alluri's predecessor Wolfgang Dietrich co-founded the continuing education university programme “Peace, Development, Security and International Conflict Transformation” in 2001 and was Academic Director of this programme between 2013 and 2021. In September 2022, the continuing education programme was converted to a regular Master's programme. Rina Alluri is co-director of the new Master's programme and spokesperson of the INNPeace research centre; she also heads the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Innsbruck. “This chair was approved and awarded in 2008 because of the unique approach to peace and conflict research in Innsbruck. I am glad and grateful that UNESCO and in particular the Austrian Commission for UNESCO continue to support our new Master's programme in Peace and Conflict Studies through this chair and that Rina Alluri has accepted this position,” emphasised Rector Tilmann Märk on the occasion of the inauguration.
The Master's programme in Peace and Conflict Studies brings students from all over the world to Innsbruck to study peace and conflict theories and practices in the context of critical peace education, decolonisation, justice and reconciliation, queer and intersectional approaches, humanitarian operations and related topics. “What could be more timely than a programme dealing with peace: with conflict and its resolution? For more than 20 years, Innsbruck Peace and Conflict Studies has attracted students from all over the world and brought them to Tyrol. The original continuing education programme has now become a regular Master's programme, and after a change of generations there is a young international team that brings new ideas and approaches. The fact that UNESCO has agreed to hand over its chair to Rina Alluri underlines once again the positive development in recent times. We can build on this in the future,” says Dirk Rupnow, Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and History, where the programme is located.
The UNESCO Chair Programme was established in 1992 to anchor the goals of UNESCO in higher education institutions. It promotes research, training and development of higher education institutions through the formation of university networks and inter-university, cross-border cooperation. Today, more than 850 institutions in 117 countries belong to the programme. There are currently ten UNESCO Chairs in Austria; the UNESCO Chair for Peace Studies in Innsbruck is the second oldest existing in Austria. “The UNESCO Chairs play a central role in the networking and cooperation of scientific disciplines. In the current world situation, multilateral cooperation is one of the conditions for sustainable development. The UNESCO Chair for Peace Studies at the University of Innsbruck has been part of this network for more than ten years and we are very pleased to be able to continue the good cooperation now with Dr. Rina Alluri,” emphasises Martin Fritz, Secretary General of the Austrian Commission for UNESCO.
About Rina Alluri
Dr. Rina M. Alluri is Assistant Professor and Head of the Unit of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Innsbruck. She is co-director of the Master's programme in Peace and Conflict Studies and spokesperson of the INNPeace research centre. She holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Basel and did post-doctoral research at the University of Zurich. Her research interests include topics around economics and peace, conflicts over natural resources, conflict-affected diasporas, decolonising peace education and diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). As a peace scholar and practitioner, she focuses on conflict contexts in Asia and Africa. Alluri is of Indian and Filipino descent and a Canadian citizen.