UNESCO Chair for Peace Studies

Purpose of the UNESCO Chair for Peace Studies

The UNESCO Chair for Peace Studies of the University of Innsbruck was established in June 2008 as a consequence of the systematic research on the interpretations of peaces and the unique approach to Peace Studies as developed at the Unit for Peace and Conflict Studies and its MA program for Peace Studies since 2001. The agreement was been signed between the UNESCO, represented by its Director-General Koichiro Matsuura, and the University of Innsbruck, represented by its rector Karlheinz Töchterle. In light of the excellent results achieved and confirmed by the positive evaluations of the reports on its activities in 2015 and 2019, UNESCO renewed the agreement concerning the UNESCO Chair for Peace Studies at the University of Innsbruck until June 2023.

According to the agreement the main purposes of the UNESCO Chair are:

  • The promotion of an integrated system of research, training, information and documentation in the field of peace studies
  • The facilitation of collaboration between high-level, internationally recognized researchers and teaching staff of the University and other institutions in Austria, in Europe and North America, and other regions of the world
  • The reinforcement of the existing network of cooperating partners through further regional, as well as international, cooperation
  • The enhancement and complement of the already existing on-line teaching methods
  • The exchange of professors, researchers, and students with other universities within the framework of UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme

Academic Orientation of the UNESCO Chair for Peace Studies

In its approach to teaching and research in Innsbruck and in the framework of international cooperations around the world, the UNESCO Chair for Peace Studies follows the principles of the UNESCO's famous Manifesto 2000, which proposed to turn the new millennium into a new beginning, an opportunity to change, all together, the culture of war and violence into a culture of peace and non-violence.

The six corner stones of the Manifesto 2000 are:

  • Respect the life and dignity of each human being
  • Practise active non-violence
  • Share time and material resources
  • Defend freedom of expression and cultural diversity
  • Responsible consumer behavior
  • New forms of solidarity


In line with these corner stones, Innsbruck became famous for its unique approach to transrational peace philosophy, elicitive conflict transformation (Lederach) as its practical application and elicitive conflict mapping as its very specific method. 

The UNESCO Chair promotes research and publication in this field and currently cooperates for this end with the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena/Germany in the Academic Alliance for Reconciliation in the Middle East and North Africa AARMENA and its Ersamus+ Program Capacity Building for Higher Education in the same area. Further the UNESCO Chair engages in capacity building and curriculum development in various projects around the world. 

Current UNESCO Chairholder for Peace Studies at the University of Innsbruck

Dr. Rina M. Alluri is Assistant Professor, Head of the Unit for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Innsbruck since 2022. She co-leads the newly established regular Master’s Programme in Peace and Conflict Studies and is the Speaker of the Research Centre INNPeace. She was born in Mumbai, India, raised in Ibadan, Nigeria and then migrated to Vancouver, BC Canada (Turtle Island). She holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Basel, Switzerland and conducted her post-doctoral research at the University of Zurich. She has lived, worked and engaged with topics related to business and peace, natural resource conflicts, conflict affected diasporas, decolonizing peace education and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI). She has focused her career as a peace academic and practitioner in conflict affected contexts in Asia and Africa. She is of mixed Indian and Filipina descent and is a Canadian citizen.

The University of Innsbruck’s 1st UNESCO Chairholder

Since 2008 the UNESO Chairholder at the University of Innsbruck is Prof. DDr. Wolfgang Dietrich . He is a member of the Austrian UNESCO Commission.

Born in Innsbruck in 1956 and Austrian citizen, Wolfgang Dietrich was educated in Austria and England, received a Ph.D. in history and literature at the University of Innsbruck in 1980 and a Doctor of Laws LL.D. at the same University in 1984. In 1990 he was promoted to the degree of Adjunct Professor in Political Science.

He was co-founder of the MA Program in Peace, Development, Security and International Conflict Transformation in 2001 and its Academic Director from 2013 to 2021.

2015 the Association of the Alpine States (ARGE ALP) appointed him Peace Ambassador of Alpine Region and the University of Innsbruck promoted him to a Honorary Professor.

2017 he became head of the then new founded Unit for Peace and Conflict Studies, which he was until 2021.

2018 to 2021 he was co-director of the Research Center for Peace and Conflict INNPEACE at the University of Innsbruck.

Wolfgang Dietrich was president of the Austrian section of amnesty international from 1989 to 1991. He was director of the European Peace University from 1995 to 1998 and academic director of the Austrian Institute for Latin America from 1995 to 2007 before he committed full time to the development of Peace Studies Innsbruck.

He worked and taught mainly in Central and Latin America, but also in India, Eastern Africa, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, the USA and many European countries.

His focus is applied conflict transformation, peace philosophy and peace education.

His about 300 academic writings have been published in English, German, Spanish, French, Russian, Portuguese, Arabic, Turkish and Farsi. He has taught in departments for peace and conflict studies, political science, history, arts and law at universities all over the world.


The UNITWIN UNESCO Chair Programme

Launched in 1992, the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Programme, which involves over 700 institutions in 116 countries, 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 thinktanks and bridgebuilders between academia, civil society, local communities, research and policy-making. 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. In areas lacking expertise, chairs and networks have evolved into poles of excellence and innovation at regional or sub-regional levels. They also contribute to strengthening North-South-South cooperation.

Nach oben scrollen