Research > Global Challenges

Understanding Cultures

Following on the WUN umbrella theme of sustainable development, the research agenda of the WUN Understanding Cultures Global Challenge is focused on decolonization as an overarching theme of sustainable development. Without recognizing the issues of continuing racial, economic, and structural inequities that are inherent in the colonizing history of the world, it is impossible to move forward in the research areas of the Understanding Cultures group.

Research work to date by the Group has had a primary focus on migration, mobility, and displacement in all of its various aspects.

Moving forward, the group continues to recognize the critical focus on migration in achieving sustainable recovery, particularly in Goals 10 – Reduced Inequalities, 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities, 14 – Life Below Water, 15 – Life on Land, and 16 – Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

In addition, with the development of the UNESCO World Heritage Framework on Climate Change and ICOMOS’ dual emphasis on heritage and its intersection with climate change and the SDGs, two additional foci are particularly relevant at this time: that of the role of indigenous knowledge, leadership and ways of knowing the world; and the importance of intangible heritage in understanding cultures and their ways of being.

A deeper understanding of these aspects of cultural change is necessary to inform effective policy-making and implementation.

Steering Group

The Understanding Cultures Global Challenge Steering Group is made up of experts in the field from across the WUN network. The Steering Group is responsible for guiding the development, focus and research portfolio of the global challenge in consultation with the member faculties of the WUN institutions.

Chair: Dr William Narteh Gblerkpor, University of Ghana
Vice Chair: Professor Stuart Taberner, University of Leeds

Academic Experts 

Dr. Tore Saetersdal, University of Bergen
Ann Singleton, University of Bristol
Dr. Fraser Sturt, University of Southampton
Professor Frank Finlay, University of Leeds
Dr. Jane Mulderrig, The University of Sheffield
A/Prof Susanna Trnka, The University of Auckland
Prof Robin Kearns, The University of Auckland (Deputy for A/Prof Susanna Trnka)
Professor Jinlong Liu, Renmin University
Professor Ka Lin, Zhejiang University
A/ Professor Ping-Sheng WU, National Cheng Kung University
Dr. Katie Kuschminder, Maastricht University
Dr. Florence Glanfield, University of Alberta
Dr. Divine Fuh, University of Cape Town
Dr. Rahel Kunz, University of Lausanne
Dr. Enrique Tamés, Tecnologico de Monterrey
A/Professor Grace Kibanja, Makerere University
Dr Emma Pearson, The University of Sheffield
Prof. Kate Washington, University of Rochester



Research Projects: Understanding Cultures

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