About the Academy

The UN Summer Academy is an annual five day programme that offers executive education, learning and knowledge exchange to those working to advance sustainable development approaches. Combining academic rigour with cutting-edge thinking, it provides a platform for participants to engage in discussions on issues of relevance for the work of the UN and its partners in the context of the 2030 Agenda.

Started in 2012, the UN Summer Academy takes pride in the strength of its faculty which includes former Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson, current Deputy Secretary-General Amina J. Mohammed, former Chef de Cabinet Susana Malcorra, former Under Secretary-General Sigrid Kaag , former Assistant Secretary-General Sir Richard Jolly and various heads of UN Bonn agencies, including UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa as well as German Development Institute Deputy Director Imme Scholz  to name but a few.

The UN Summer Academy fosters interactive learning where speakers and participants examine relevant thematic areas and discuss a wide range of topics such as the work of the United Nations more than 75 years and its relevance in an evolving global context as well as the core dimensions of sustainable development and implications for a diversity of actors. The previous UN Summer Academies have taken place in different UN cities such as New York, Turin, and Bonn. The 2020 and 2021 editions of the UN Summer Academy have been redesigned as immersive virtual events.

Main Features: Virtual Editions


Plenaries are live webinars in which all participants come together for expert inputs or to exchange learnings. Varying formats and digital tools ensure engagement and collective reflection.

Working group sessions

In working group sessions, small groups of participants collaborate on a group project to co-create solutions to the issues under discussion. Multi-stakeholder participants engage in in-depth knowledge and best practice sharing to generate scalable and cross-cutting solutions for sustainable development.

Side events

Interactive side events offer participants a variety of expert perspectives and social activities. They also provide a space for greater interaction, peer networking and building communities of exchange.

Main Features: Face-to-Face Editions

App Labs 

App (Application) Labs are solution-oriented workshops that help to gain practical handson experience. They promotes peer-to-peer learning and introduces approaches that are scalable and transferable. Multiple AppLabs are organized during the course of the Academy.

Story Fair

The Story Fair is an exhibition of different organizations in the UN Summer Academy tent to showcase their work on sustainable development. It provides an opportunity for participants to connect with Bonn-based UN agencies as well as international organizations in a relaxed networking atmosphere. 


A daylong excursion in the surrounding of Bonn brings to the fore real-life examples of concrete sustainable development practices, challenges, and opportunities. 

To see the press release for UN Summer Academy 2020, please click here.


“This was perhaps the most enjoyable and engaging virtual event I have been involved in …the experience was very close to having been there in person.”

“It was a great learning experience for me, full of learnings, commitments, and outcomes to take back [and] apply locally.”

"I really liked the fact that the UN Summer Academy brought together a diverse group from so many different walks of life. It provided me with great insights."

"I appreciate the good balance between the content, experience we were exposed to and the time available for networking and discussions. "