The Gender Equality Studies and Training Programme (GEST) at the University of Iceland became formally part of the United Nations University (UNU-GEST) on 9 May 2013. It followed the signing of a tripartite agreement between the Icelandic Minstry for Foreign Affairs, the United Nations University, and the University of Iceland.

The UNU-GEST started as a pilot project of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the University of Iceland in 2009. It forms part of Iceland’s development cooperation and builds on the same goals and foundation as the United Nations University Geothermal Training Programme (UNU-GTP), the United Nations University Fisheries Training Programme (UNU-FTP) and the United Nations University Land Restoration Programme (UNU-LTR).

Since the GEST Programme started in 2009, 21 fellows from Afghanistan, Palestine, Mozambique and Uganda have graduated. On 31 May 2013, eight more students will join this group of graduates. The GEST Programme has worked in close collaboration with the EDDA – Center at the University of Iceland and will continue to do so as UNU-GEST.

The United Nations University, founded in 1975, is dedicated to the generation and transfer of knowledge, and the strengthening of individual and institutional capacities in furtherance of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations. The University consists of a network of training centers and programmes in 13 countries around the world. Iceland became one of the first member countries of the United Nations to operate a training programme when the UNU-GTP was founded in 1978. The UNU-FTP was established in 1998 and the UNU-LTR was established in 2010. Since 1978 over 600 scientists and experts have graduated from the three programmes in Iceland.