Senior Vice-Rector

United Nations University (UNU)

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres announced on 13 September 2021 the appointment of Sawako Shirahase of Japan as Senior Vice-Rector of the United Nations University (UNU). 

She will succeed Taikan Oki of Japan to whom the Secretary-General is grateful for his contributions to UNU’s work on water issues in connection to climate change and his initiative to engage the private sector in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the ‘SDG Corporate Strategy Forum’.

Ms. Shirahase is a sociologist whose research interests include social stratification and inequality, social demography, and generation and gender studies.  She previously served at the University of Tokyo as Professor of Sociology (since 2010) in the Graduate School of Humanities and Sociology and served as the Executive Vice-President for International Affairs (2019-2021).  Her previous academic positions included Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Tokyo (2006‒2010); Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Tsukuba (2003‒2006); and Senior Research Fellow with the Japan-based International Institute of Population and Social Security Research (1997‒2003).

She has served on various Japanese government councils and policy advisory boards, including the Statistical Commission of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and the Social Security Council of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

Ms. Shirahase holds a D.Phil in Sociology from Oxford University.