About

Biography and profile

Christmas 2020 lockdown

Tim Unwin is an academic and practitioner who has devoted much of his life in seeking to serve the interests of the poorest and most marginalised.  He is Emeritus Professor of Geography (since 2011) and Chairholder of the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D (since 2007) at Royal Holloway, University of London.  He was Secretary General of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) from 2011-2015, and was Chair of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission from 2009-2014.  He is also an Honorary Professor at Lanzhou University in China.   In 2018-19 he led the co-ordination of 21 UN agencies on behalf of UNESCO and UNICEF to develop a system-wide strategy on the future of education and learning for the UN’s High Level Committee on Programmes and Chief Executives Board. His influential edited book Information and Communication Technologies for Development,was published by Cambridge University Press in 2009, and his latest book Reclaiming ICT4D was published by Oxford University Press in 2017.  Most of his research and writing currently focuses on the inequalities caused by digital technologies and what needs to be done to ensure that the poorest and most marginalised people can benefit from them.  He is a Co-Investigator of the UKRI GCRF South-South Migration Hub (2019-23) undertaking research on the use of digital technologies by migrants, Co-Founder of TEQtogether (an initiative to change men’s attitudes and behaviours towards women and technology), Chair of the Advisory Board of the UNU Institute in Macau, and is also well-known for his research on the history and geography of wine. In 2020 he conceived and led a collaborative initiative funded by DFID (now FCDO) and the World Bank to produce an innovative report for governments on Education for the most marginalised post-COVID-19: Guidance for governments on the use of digital technologies in education. He was appointed a Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St George (CMG) in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours list in 2016 for his services to the Commonwealth.

Links to his main current activities are as follows:

Further information is available as follows: