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In 1992 the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) launched the programme UNITWIN (University Twinning and Networking Scheme/Système de jumelage et de mise en réseaux des universités), in conformity with a specific resolution adopted by the General Conference during its 26th session (1991).
This programme of UNESCO is one of the instruments intended to reinforce the capacity for the sharing and the transferring of knowledge in a spirit of solidarity. It promotes the North-South and South-South cooperation as a strategy of enrichment for all of the institutions involved.
The participants are principally universities and research institutes that act in partnership with numerous NGOs, foundations and organizations of the public and private sectors, involved in the field of upper level education.
The UNITWIN/UNESCO programme includes training and research activities, university exchanges, and works as a framework for information sharing in all of UNESCO's great fields of competence.
At the University of Padova, the UNESCO Chair “Human Rights, Democracy and Peace” was established in 1999 with an agreement signed by the Director-General of UNESCO and by the Rector of the University of Padova.
In Italy, other Chairs dealing with the specific sector of human rights are: the UNESCO Chair “Human Rights and Ethics of International Cooperation" established in 2003 at the University of Bergamo and the Chair “Bioethics and Human Rights” established in 2009 at the Pontifical University “Regina Apostolorum”, European University of Rome.
The UNESCO Chair “Human Rights, Democracy and Peace” carries out its educational and research activities in organic connection with the Human Rights Centre of the University of Padova.