The United Nations as a Knowledge System: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The United Nations as a Knowledge System

1st Edition

By Nanette Svenson


266 pages | 9 B/W Illus.

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This book seeks to explore how the UN has generated, warehoused, disseminated, structured, packaged, expanded, transferred and leveraged its vast resources of accumulated information and experience throughout the decades and, particularly, since the start of the 21st century with the introduction of more connective information and communications technology. It examines the overarching objectives that have guided such activity and divides UN knowledge management into three distinct, but often overlapping and intertwining, categories:

  • knowledge for social and organizational learning;
  • knowledge for norm setting; and
  • knowledge for creation of products and services.

Svenson brings together these multiple aspects of UN knowledge management to present a holistic view of how the organization utilizes its global intelligence to educate, advocate and serve member countries’ development. Instead of looking at the UN as an international bureaucracy or as a peacekeeping, policymaking, humanitarian or development entity, this work studies the UN as a generator and purveyor of information, learning and experience in all of these areas. This book will be key reading for all students and scholars of international organizations.

Table of Contents

Introduction Part I – Knowledge for organizational and social learning 1 Internal learning initiatives 2 External learning initiatives 3 Mixed audience initiatives Part II – Knowledge for norm setting 4 Publishing, measuring, and monitoring 5 Education system planning and programming 6 International agreements Part III – Knowledge for creation of products and services 7 Knowledge management 8 Capacity development 9 Innovation Conclusion

About the Author

Nanette Svenson is an Adjunct Professor at Tulane University and an independent consultant for the United Nations and other international organizations. She has 20 years of professional experience in international development, academia and the private sector. She works as an Adjunct Professor of Florida State University and independent consultant for the United Nations and other organizations involved in capacity development, particularly of higher education. She helped establish the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Centre for Latin American and Caribbean in Panama and worked there for four years in charge of research and knowledge management. She co-founded Pro Artesana, Panama's first NGO dedicated to developing capacity for national artisans. Prior to that, she held various management positions in private sector service firms. Her education includes an MS and PhD in International Development from Tulane University; an MBA from IESE in Barcelona; and a BA in Human Biology from Stanford University. She has taught at graduate and undergraduate levels, conducted research and program evaluations, and published in academic and international development journals

About the Series

Global Institutions

The "Global Institutions Series" is edited by Thomas G. Weiss (The CUNY Graduate Center, New York, USA) and Rorden Wilkinson (University of Sussex, UK).

The Series has two "streams" identified by their covers:

  • Blue covers offer comprehensive, accessible, and informative guides to the history, structure, and activities of key international organizations, and introductions to topics of key importance in contemporary global governance. Recognized experts use a similar structure to address the general purpose and rationale for specific organizations along with historical developments, membership, structure, decision-making procedures, key functions, and an annotated bibliography and guide to electronic sources.
  • Red covers consist of research monographs and edited collections that advance knowledge about one aspect of global governance; they reflect a wide variety of intellectual orientations, theoretical persuasions, and methodological approaches.

Together these streams provide a coherent and complementary portrait of the problems, prospects, and possibilities confronting global institutions today.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Treaties
POLITICAL SCIENCE / NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations)