It's Official: KSU Partners with U.N.'s CIFAL Atlanta

Craig Lesser, chair of CIFAL Atlanta Board of Directors and Daniel S. Papp, president, Kennesaw State University, sign MOU.

Training center moves to Kennesaw State; forms partnership to train government leaders …

Georgia (Feb 11, 2013)

Training center moves to Kennesaw State; forms partnership to train government leaders 

 KENNESAW, Ga., (Feb. 11, 2013) —The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and its training center for government authorities and leaders, CIFAL Atlanta, have signed a memorandum of understanding with Kennesaw State University to jointly provide training programs for leaders around the world.

 Through the partnership, CIFAL Atlanta will relocate its offices to Kennesaw State University’s Institute for Global Initiatives. This move creates the first and only U.N. CIFAL training center worldwide hosted by a university, which is expected to serve as a global model for other partnerships.

 Craig Lesser, Chair of CIFAL Atlanta’s Board of Trustees, said: “The partnership between CIFAL Atlanta and Kennesaw State University is a major step in furthering Georgia’s efforts in leading international education. Our partnership is a unique integration of education efforts to benefit government officials and leaders around the world. Leaders from countries around the globe will come to Kennesaw State to participate in training programs, while KSU students and faculty will have the opportunity to interact with these international visitors.”

 In 2013, CIFAL Atlanta and Kennesaw State will provide joint training programs for government authorities in the areas of STEM education, aviation and economic development, and inclusive technologies. Student-oriented activities will also take place at the University to raise awareness of the U.N.’s academic partnerships that address issues such as HIV/AIDS, gender equality, green economy and economic development.

 “Kennesaw State is honored to be the first university to enter into a comprehensive agreement with UNITAR and CIFAL Atlanta,” said Kennesaw State University President Daniel S. Papp. “This partnership allows the university to extend its resources to help governments and organizations around the world while simultaneously giving our students and faculty access to a vast global network.”

 CIFAL Atlanta and Kennesaw State have already collaborated on several initiatives, most recently between CIFAL Atlanta and Kennesaw State’s Center for Advancing the Teaching of Mathematics and Science (ATOMS), the University’s Institute for Global Initiatives and the Michael J. Coles College of Business.  In October 2012, the university’s top global education administrator and the director of its ATOMS Center led discussions during a STEM-focused session at the Americas Competitiveness Forum (ACF) in Cali, Columbia. Leaders of some 34 countries across the Western Hemisphere attended the forum. 

 “This collaboration provides the opportunity to build on mutual strengths, to achieve excellence in training delivery and curriculum design based on academic thinking in international development fields. KSU has a variety of leading programs that can meet capacity-building needs in countries around the world”, said Estrella Merlos, Senior Fellow of UNITAR and Chief Executive Officer of CIFAL Atlanta.



A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit