UNEP DTU Partnership director appointed Sustainable Development Professor

The title was bestowed by Yonsei University and former UN general secretary Ban Ki-moon to John Christensen, UNEP DTU Partnership's long time director

February 21, 2019

John Christensen, Director of the UNEP DTU Partnership, was appointed as the first Sustainable Development Professor at Yonsei University, in Korea.

The Sustainable Development Professorship is part of a long-term project at Institute for Global Engagement & Empowerment (IGEE) at Yonsei University’s to increase educational value on sustainable development.

In order to support this effort eight global leaders and experts who are capable of broadening perspectives on sustainable development projects will over the next years be appointed as Sustainable Development Professors, and John Christensen’s long career and merits within the fields of climate, energy and sustainable development research meant that he was chosen as the first.

“I am extremely honored to be invited as the first Sustainable Development Professor at IGEE at Yonsei University. I have worked most of my career on sustainable development issues, and receiving this recognition is truly one of the most proud moments” – John Christensen

The major role of the Sustainable Development Professors will be to deliver special lectures, provide ideas and input to research projects, as well as deliver keynote speeches at the annual Global Engagement & Empowerment Forum on Sustainable Development event, hosted by Yonsei University, IGEE, the Ban Ki-Moon Center for Global Citizens and Korea International Cooperation Agency.

“This professorship offers a unique opportunity to motivate students and young researchers, both at Yonsei University and beyond, on the importance of the Sustainable Development Goals and the many interesting challenges and opportunities associated with efforts to achieve them. This is something I look very much forward to” – John Christensen

30 years of climate

John Christensen has been heading the UNEP DTU Partnership, an integrated part of DTU Management, for almost 30 years, since the partnership started in 1990. He has been overseeing the transformation from a small group of five researchers working on aligning energy and environmental issues, to now being an internationally leading research institution with 70 researchers and engagement with more than 60 developing countries.

Current focus of work is on implementation of the Paris Agreement and SDG 7, including co-leading the annual UN Environment flagship Emissions Gap Report. John Christensen has in addition had a long involvement with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC) where he has been a lead author on five reports and a member of the Bureau for some years. As part of the large IPCC author family, he contributed to the Nobel Peace Prize award in 2007.

Presented by Ban Ki-moon

The professorship was presented by former UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon at the Global Engagement & Empowerment Forum on Sustainable Development 2019 event, a venue for global leaders, practitioners, scholars, activists, and students to collaborate towards implementing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Ban Ki-moon was UN Secretary General when the SDGs were adopted in 2015 and has since co-founded the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, working within the framework of the SDGs to promote peace, women and youth and global education. He also currently serves as Distinguished Chair Professor at IGEE.

As a Sustainable Development Professor John Christensen will play a significant role in shaping the impetus for sustainable development education at Yonsei University, one of Korea’s three SKY universities, considered the most prestigious in the country.

The Sustainable Development Professorship was accepted on John Christensen’s behalf by UNEP DTU Partnership Head of Section Myung-Kyoon Lee. The professorship initially lasts one year, with the possibility to be renewed annually.