United Nations Institute for Training and Research, Oberlin College & Conservatory, the Global Foundation for the Performing Arts, Announce Wide-Ranging Partnership

September 29, 2022

Office of Communications

Three logos including United Nations Institute for Training and Research, Oberlin College, and The Global Foundation for The Performing Arts

Oberlin is one of a select few higher education institutions across the U.S. collaborating with U.N.-affiliated groups on programs to improve education and social progress around the world.


NEW YORK—The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), Oberlin College & Conservatory, and the Global Foundation for the Performing Arts (GFPA), announce a new partnership that also includes a select group of higher education institutions dedicated to expanding international student access to world-class academic and musical instruction.

The goal of this collaboration is to apply the benefits of higher education and the arts to enhance the culture and quality of life within countries around the world. Oberlin College & Conservatory is the only institution among those few partnering with the United Nations to focus specifically on undergraduate education. Other institutions within the group UNITAR and GFPA formed will focus on graduate-level study. 

Through this collaboration, students from around the world who otherwise could not afford to attend a prestigious U.S.-based college or university with exemplary musical instruction and academics will have the opportunity to apply. If it is needed, financial assistance would come from the students’ home countries or from UNITAR and the GFPA.

Students would apply to Oberlin and if accepted would pursue either a bachelor of arts, a bachelor of music, or a double degree; students who attend the other institutions would pursue post-baccalaureate degrees. The first students engaged in this program would arrive on their respective campuses in fall 2023.

Oberlin, UNITAR and GFPA have agreed to a memorandum of understanding which calls for collaboration in a number of areas. Negotiations on specific programs are continuing.

“UNITAR is proud to collaborate with Oberlin and other institutions of excellence that believe that education and the arts can foster deeper understanding around the world and improve quality of life at home. In Oberlin we have found a partner with a history of producing graduates dedicated to serving the world,” said Ambassador Marco Suazo.

“Oberlin is fortunate to be in conversations with UNITAR and GFPA on how we can work together to improve the world through mutual understanding, education, and cultural exchange,” said college President Carmen Twillie Ambar. “This collaboration eventually could involve hundreds of students each year who will enrich our campus community. This partnership is a singular opportunity for Oberlin to help improve the world through education and the arts.”

The Global Foundation has been meeting with Oberlin leadership for the past several weeks to discuss areas of collaboration.

“The Global Foundation for the Performing Arts warmly welcomes Oberlin College & Conservatory to its growing family of partner institutions dedicated to arts and cultural learning,” said Benjamin Woodroffe, President of GFPA. “Education is a vital element in healthy societies and we certainly look forward to delivering relevant and dynamic programs with Oberlin and UNITAR.”

Under the MOU, Oberlin’s relationship with UNITAR will extend beyond academic degree programs into a pre-collegiate curriculum that teaches English as a second language. This immersive program would serve students who need to develop their language skills prior to entering a UNITAR program at Oberlin or the other participating colleges and universities.

Oberlin, UNITAR and GFPA also have the potential to create joint practice-based programs that include performances, educational and research opportunities, conferences, and symposia. Oberlin already is collaborating with UNITAR and the United Nations on a significant musical program scheduled for later this year in Carnegie Hall, New York City. 

“The principles behind this collaboration are consistent with Oberlin’s heritage and goals for the future,” Ambar said. “It is an honor to work with UNITAR and GFPA in a collective effort to develop programs that will help large numbers of students do good in the world through education and the arts.”

The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) was established in 1963 pursuant to a United Nations General Assembly resolution. UNITAR is governed by a Board of Trustees with the mission to develop the individual, institutional, and organizational capacities of countries and other United Nations stakeholders through high-quality learning resources. Rooted in the goal of enhancing global decision-making and supporting country-level political and social action, UNITAR provides innovative learning resources to individuals, organizations, and institutions, with established programs offering advanced degrees in international leadership, diplomacy, law, and policy, as well as science and business. The partnership marks UNITAR’s first major program in arts and cultural education.

Oberlin College and Conservatory uniquely combines a world-class conservatory of music with a top-ranking liberal arts college. An independent institution in Ohio, Oberlin was the first college to grant undergraduate degrees to women in a coeducational program and, historically, has been a leader in the education of African American students. The Oberlin community is known for its commitment to social and global engagement and diversity. The Conservatory of Music provides flexible programs to prepare students as professional musicians and teachers of music. Deeply committed to academic excellence, Oberlin’s College of Arts and Sciences offers a rich and balanced curriculum in the humanities, social sciences, mathematics, and natural sciences. Recognizing that diversity broadens perspectives, Oberlin is dedicated to recruiting a culturally, economically, geographically, and racially diverse group of students. Oberlin aims to prepare graduates with the knowledge, skills, and perspectives essential to confront complex issues and to create change and value in the world.

The Global Foundation for the Performing Arts (GFPA) is an international foundation with a mission to provide valuable artistic education and professional support in service of those in the performing arts while fostering a global community and enabling cross-cultural exchange. A longstanding partner of UNITAR, the foundation is dedicated to supporting the performing arts, particularly in the realms of classical music and ballet through education, mentorship, and collaboration. GFPA is centered in the belief that young artists deserve professional guidance from experienced musicians in order to remain true to their artistic practice. The foundation provides advice to artists, competitions, and institutions dedicated to rewarding the world’s future performers. It has been a long-term partner of UNITAR.



Pelayo Alvarez, UNITAR: pelayo.alvarez@unitar.org

Scott Wargo, Oberlin: swargo@oberlin.edu

Benjamin Woodroffe, GFPA: bw@gfpa.ngo

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