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The UNIN was an educational body set up by the United Nations Council for Namibia in Lusaka, Zambia on 26 August 1976. It was the brainchild of the then United Nations Commissioner for Namibia, Sean MacBride. The main purpose of the creation of UNIN was to have a facility for the education of Namibians in preparation for taking up roles in an independent Namibia. Namibia at that time was still being illegally ruled by Apartheid South Africa, which treated Namibia as its fifth province. Namibia did not have its own tertiary education system but was using the apartheid Bantu Education system, which, by design was inferior and meant specifically for blacks in South Africa and Namibia. Thus, in 1974, the United Nations Council for Namibia under Sean MacBride suggested a tertiary education institution for Namibia in Zambia. This saw its inauguration as UNIN on 26 August 1976 by the then President of Zambia, Kenneth Kaunda. Funding for the UNIN was initially provided for by the United Nations Fund for Namibia, for a short period. However, UNIN also received financial support from individual government donations and private organizations such as the Ford Foundation. The UNIN was closed in September 1990 (six months after Namibia’s independence) and its documents were transferred to the University of Namibia Library, Archives Unit.
Peter Williams was the Director of the Education Programme, Human Resource Development Group of the Commonwealth Secretariat. He was also a Professor of Education in Developing Countries at the University of London, Institute of Education. In addition, he also worked as consultant in educational development. Prof. Williams was part of the Commission on Higher Education in Namibia.