The United Nations Academic Impact, also known by its acronym UNAI, is a United Nations initiative to align institutions of higher education, scholarship, and research with the United Nations and with each other.

In the words of former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon: “The Academic Impact aims to generate a global movement of minds to promote a new culture of intellectual social responsibility. It is animated by a commitment to certain bedrock principles. Among them: freedom of inquiry, opinion, and speech; educational opportunity for all; global citizenship; sustainability; and dialogue.”

Furthermore, UNAI aims to support the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals focusing on the reciprocal relationship between education and sustainable development.

The initiative was formally launched on 18 November 2010 by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at UN Headquarters in New York City. On this occasion, he outlined the purpose of UNAI:

“By sharing ideas, across borders and disciplines, we can find solutions to the interconnected problems that cause so much suffering. Climate change is not just an environmental threat; it is closely tied to poverty. Poverty is not just about jobs, it is directly related to food security. Food security affects health. Health affects generations of children. Children hold the key to our future. And education can lead to progress on all these fronts.”

As of February 2023, more than 1,500 institutions in over 150 countries and some 40 academic networks are members of the initiative.

Millennium Campus Network (MCN) is a global student movement to address humanity’s greatest challenges. MCN and United Nations Academic Impact have partnered to present the Millennium Fellowship. The Fellowship is a leadership development program on university campuses that convenes, challenges, and celebrates student leadership for UN goals. The partnership began in 2018 and has had a global impact. 15,159 young leaders applied to join the Class of 2020 on 1,458 campuses across 135 nations. 80 campuses worldwide were selected to host the 1,438 Millennium Fellows in the Class of 2020. These Fellows collectively advanced all 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 10 UNAI principles. The Fellowship is expected to grow in future years.

The Millennium Oceans Prize is returning for its tenth year to support and celebrate students who are passionate about conserving, protecting, and sustainably using oceans, seas, and marine water and life.

The Millennium Oceans Prize targets Sustainable Development Goal 14 by celebrating youth activists who are focused on enriching their communities through advancing marine and freshwater conservation and sustainable use of marine resources. Prize winners will receive mentorship and a $5,000 prize for the implementation of a concrete campaign idea to spark change and garner support in advocacy, policy, and leadership for oceans and freshwater systems.


  • Prize winners will receive mentorship and a $5,000 prize for the implementation of a concrete campaign idea to spark change and garner support in advocacy, policy, and leadership for oceans and freshwater systems.


  • Undergraduate students.
  • Young leaders who have demonstrated the ability to galvanize peers and sustain active engagement for a full academic year for the protection and sustainability of oceans and marine life.
Eligible Regions: Open for all.

Application Process

  • Eligible candidates should apply through the organization’s official web portal.
  • The web portal can be accessed by clicking on the “Apply Now” button below.

Application Deadline: May 31, 2024

Application ClosedOfficial link

For Further Queries

For further queries contact: [email protected]
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