The University of Information Technology and Management in Rzeszów has joined the elite group of over one thousand organizations from around the world whose aim is to bring the international community closer in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Institutions certified by the United Nations will help to put forward ideas in order to solve problems that humanity faces permanently. The certificate crowns achievements of the university in the area of social responsibility.
The United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) is an initiative of the United Nations. It certifies universities which act for the human rights protection, make education more accessible and support sustainable development and conflict resolution around the world. Since 2010 the program has been creating a stimulating debate network which includes students, scientists, researchers, universities and think-tanks from around the world. The network’s task is to use the energy and innovation of the scientific community in the service of humanity. UNAI members come from more than 120 countries.
– For UITM the certificate does not only mean prestige, but most of all it is a signal that our contribution in building tolerance and openness is acknowledged and appreciated. It is also our commitment to make further efforts in this area. Rzeszów has rich and, in contrast to many other Polish cities, clear history of multiculturalism. We accept this certificate not only as a reward for our University, but also for the whole city – for its openness, tolerance and hospitality – emphasizes dr Anna Siewierska-Chmaj, director of the Institute for Research on Civilizations at UITM, and the team member of the UNAI certificate application process.
Since the beginning the UITM has been implementing various types of projects, which are in accordance with the vision of a socially responsible institution that plays a pioneering role in the region and the country. – In the last few years acting in the area of social responsibility has become standard in the business world. This kind of practice has also become embedded in academic undertakings; many universities, including ours, are looking for alternative ways to achieve sustainable development – says Dominik Łazarz, UITM Spokesperson. – According to the definition of CDGs, a university contributes in an ethical and transparent way to the improvement of society – he adds.
In general, the UITM’s activities related to social responsibility are divided into three groups. The first one includes activities connected with the received certificate. – UNAI units ensure, that energy and innovation of the academic community and young people from around the world are used in the service of humanity– emphasizes Dominik Łazarz.
The second area constitutes activities related to internationalization of the university, education in the area of intercultural communication and promoting dialogue and peace. – UITM, as one of the most internationalized universities in Poland, has been conducting activities with the purpose of creating methods and tools to better understand representatives of different cultures, which in consequence should build lasting peace. Compulsory classes, in subjects such as Intercultural Communication, Culture and Civilizations, innumerable workshops run by our academics and foreign students in schools, enterprises and public administration institutions are often given as examples of good practices. The Institute for Research on Civilizations is the main university unit responsible for activities in this area. The institute’s activities have been part of the calendar of the most important events in the region for many years now – says dr Anna Siewierska-Chmaj, director of the Institute of Research on Civilizations.
Another area constitutes activities related to informing the public, in particular young people, about possibilities related to obtaining education, skills and effective job search, including foreign labourmarkets. Also, various forms of entrepreneurship facilitation should be added to this list. – There are information points at our university, i.a. Eurodesk – the Regional Information Point and Centre for European Documentation which are run pro bono, as well as the Academic Business Incubator – says Dominik Łazarz.
– The scope of UITM activities in the area of social responsibility is constantly growing. Modern education cannot be limited to lecture halls. Undertakings, which the UNAI certificate commits to, give a great opportunity to get students involved in activities that improve the quality of social life on a micro and macro scale – sums up dr Agata Jurkowska-Gomułka, UITM Vice-Rector for Science.