UNESCO Chair & Fellowship



Established in 2014, GSEHD’s UNESCO Chair in International Education for Development (IED) supports a program of international collaboration, research, outreach, teaching, and mentoring of a new generation of educators, dedicated to education for global citizenship, social equity and inclusion.

It is a designated UNESCO Chair in a US school of education under the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Program, which promotes international inter-university cooperation and networking to enhance institutional capacities through knowledge sharing and collaborative work. The Chair is housed within GSEHD’s International Education Program and contributes directly to UNESCO's education mission by supporting priorities in achieving equitable access to quality education for all.

The program's aims include:

  • knowledge cultivation in international education and global engagement, including on core themes related to equity and educational opportunities for vulnerable populations, particularly refugees and at risk migrants, and global citizenship education and education for sustainable development, particularly SDG 4.7;
  • public engagement with international communities, most readily through our co-chairs’ direct partnership with international communities and the GSEHD visiting scholars program;
  • capacity building in the newest generations of international educators, particularly through the GW UNESCO Fellows program, which provides opportunities for graduate students to contribute to UNESCO’s efforts in education.

Citizenship Education in the Global Digital Age: Thematic Paper (2022)

This document, prepared by UNESCO’s Section on Global Citizenship and Peace Education with the contribution of Laura Engel and Evelyne Koumtingue, is part of several thematic papers developed by UNESCO to inform the Revision of the 1974 Recommendation concerning Education for International Understanding, Co-operation and Peace and Education relating to Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Access the Full Report >

Where are the Immigrant Girls? (2016)

Theophania Chavatzia (UNESCO), Laura Engel (The George Washington University), and Dirk Hastedt (IEA)

Girls and women, especially the most vulnerable, are more likely to be excluded from education than their male counterparts. Exclusion and gender disparities in access to and performance in education are also observed among immigrant children, with immigrant girls often being the most disadvantaged. Data from the IEA’s Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2011 for lower secondary schools (Grade 8) show that in certain countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, the percentage of immigrant girls enrolled in schools at the lower secondary level is much smaller than that of immigrant boys. For example, in several countries (such as Iran, Romania, Chinese Taipei, Lithuania, and Turkey), more than half of immigrant girls are not enrolled in schools. This unequal access threatens gender equality in educational outcomes within the immigrant population and hinders overall development efforts towards the attainment of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) (or ‘the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’). Policymakers need to identify and address the underlying factors preventing immigrant girls from exercising and benefiting from their right to education.

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UNESCO's Origins, Achievements, Problems and Promise: An Inside/Outside Perspective from the US (2015)

GW’s UNESCO Chair in International Education for Development recently published UNESCO's Origins, Achievements, Problems and Promise: An Inside/Outside Perspective from the US by Raymond Wanner in collaboration with Mark Bray of the Comparative Education Research Centre (CERC) and the UNESCO Chair in Comparative Education at the University of Hong Kong. GSEHD faculty from the International Education Program wrote the foreword of this unique volume, released on the 70th anniversary of the founding of UNESCO. Told from the viewpoint of a sympathetic yet critical insider from the U.S., the book tells the story of UNESCO's role in preserving and advancing the best of humanity’s achievements in education, science, and culture. Offering a glimpse into the inner workings of an important international organization, the book takes a close look at the relationship and history between the United States and UNESCO. Featured topics include the perspectives of scientists, scholars, and preservationists that have played a part in UNESCO's efforts to improve international cooperation in education, the sciences and cultural domains.

Download the book >


Research associated with the UNESCO Chair is part of two research labs:

The GW UNESCO Chair partners with other Chairs worldwide in different research projects.


GW UNESCO Fellows Program

The UNESCO Fellows program places graduate students in 3-6 month intensive internships at UNESCO regional/field offices and institutes around the world. Since 2015, the program has enabled 6-8 student to participate annually. The most recent placements were in Chile, Costa Rica, Germany, Morocco and Thailand.

Through their experiences, Fellows directly contribute to UNESCO’s work in addressing some of the leading educational, environmental, and social issues, including promoting social inclusion, gender equity, education for sustainability, and community development. Students gain valuable professional and academic skills, which enhance their career readiness. These skills include cross-cultural competence, oral and writing communication, policy dialogue among various stakeholders, community development, and monitoring and evaluation.

Students are selected through a competitive multi-step process involving first a review panel of GW faculty and second the UNESCO internship application process.

To learn more about the program, visit the GW UNESCO Fellows Blog or contact iep@gwu.edu



Maha Malik headshot
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I have very much appreciated my experience because I have had the opportunity to be more involved with content creation that helps push forward and communicate UNESCO’s work within the Global Citizenship and Peace (GCP) Section to advance their efforts for transforming education that is based on peace and human rights.

2022 UNESCO Fellow, Paris



Meet the Fellows

Visit each cohort's blog to learn more about each Fellow and their experiences within the program.

2023 GW UNESCO Fellows pose for group photo at the presentation of their experiences
  • Caroline Rakus-Wojciechowski: Santiago, Chile

  • Zineb Haimoud: Rabat, Morocoo

  • Jessie Wetherby: San Jose, Costa Rica

  • Sara Cohn: Hamburg, Germany

  • Isabella McCallumBangkok, Thaila

  • Gabriella Osei-Poku: Washington, DC

2023 Fellows Blog Coming Soon

Dr. Engel and Maha Malik smile for selfie during the UNESCO/UNITWIN conference with Eiffel Tower in distance
  • O. Abiola Akintola: Washington, DC
  • Jiyi Choi: Hamburg, Germany
  • Maha Malik: Paris, France
  • Stacy Peralta-Ortiz: Santiago, Chile
  • Hayley Pottle: Jakarta, Indonesia
Left: Abby Anaya headshot, Right: Katharine Summers headshot
  • Abby Anaya: Hamburg, Germany
  • Katharine Summers: Jakarta, Indonesia


Jonathan Yoo volunteering with group to plant Mangroves in Jakarta
  • Brynn AckerBangkok, Thailand

  • Dave Childress: Paris, France

  • Kyle Hall: Hamburg, Germany

  • Maggie Montgomery: Santiago, Chile

  • Renny Osuna: Santiago, Chile

  • Stephanie Roach: Yangon, Myanmar

  • Justin Rotundo: Amman, Jordan

  • Jonathan Yoo: Jakarta, Indonesia

2018 GW UNESCO Fellows pose for group photo around easel with UNESCO fellowship sign
  • Nelsey Affoum: Dakar, Senegal
  • Courtney Argenti: Bangkok, Thailand
  • Matthew Brady: Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Rebecca Johnson: Santiago, Chile
  • Tamara Oki: Paris, France
  • Melquin Ramos: Santiago, Chile
  • Emily Silverberg: New Delhi, India
  • Meng Zhou: Hamburg, Germany
Aishwarya Khurana pictured with group of UNESCO New Delhi team members at a Youth Townhall
  • Victoria Barone: Dakar, Senegal
  • Suzanne Fils-Aime: Hamburg, Germany
  • Melissa Glynn: Bangkok, Thailand
  • Aishwarya Khurana: New Delhi, India
  • Kelsey Sherbondy: Paris, France
  • Elizabeth Solem: Amman, Jordan
2 photos combined; left:Katherine Tek and Marie Louise Balo Lou pose for photo on stairs while visiting the House of Slaves in Senegal; right: image of sea taken from inside House
  • Marie Louise Balo Lou: Dakar, Senegal
  • Jennifer Romba: Bangkok, Thailand
  • Elena Saavedra: Havana, Cuba
  • Katherine Tek: Dakar, Senegal
  • Nora Tomlinson Weintraub: Paris, France
Maggie Appel-Schumacher poses with group of UNESCO staff/fellows at in front of conference signage in Bangkok
  • Maggie Appel-Schumacher: Bangkok, Thailand
  • Chloe Bacon: Santiago, Chile
  • Yishan Ding: Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Ebote Adiang Ngulle: Washington, DC
  • Nichole Saad: Amman, Jordan



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I assisted in developing a global citizenship curriculum, a really cool and inspiring project. I learned a lot about how international organizations plan events, hire consultants, and budget for projects.

2018 UNESCO Fellow, Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Education and Peace,
New Delhi, India

Emily Silverberg headshot



Meet the GW UNESCO Team


Dr. James Williams headshot

Dr. James Williams
UNESCO Chair in International Education for Development

Dr. Williams serves as Director of GSEHD's International Education Program and is a faculty member of both GSEHD and the Elliott School of International Affairs, where he teaches graduate classes on education and development; education policy in developing countries; education of marginalized communities; education in emergencies; and international/comparative education.


Dr. Laura Engel headshot

Dr. Laura Engel
Co-Chair; Director of UNESCO Fellows Program

Dr. Engel is a Professor of International Education and International Affairs, and she directs GW's Global Education Lab and UNESCO Fellows program. She was named a Fulbright Scholar stationed in Costa Rica in 2023-24. As a policy sociologist, her interests focus on the influence of global education policy trends in national and regional systems, with specialization in federal systems.


Jihae Cha headshot

Dr. Jihae Cha

Dr. Cha is an Assistant Professor of International Education and co-director of Refugee Educational Advancement Laboratory (REAL). Her research interests examine the intersection of education quality, sense of belonging, gender, and psychosocial well-being, and the ways in which they influence students’ academic motivation, persistence, and transition in forced displacement caused by armed conflicts and natural disasters.


Dr. Bernhard Streitwieser headshot

Dr. Bernhard T. Streitwieser

Dr. Streitwieser is an Associate Professor of International Education and International Affairs and co-director of Refugee Educational Advancement Laboratory (REAL). His research looks comparatively at the impact of globalization on the internationalization of higher education.


Celia Pena-Gomez headshot

Celia Pena-Gomez
Program Coordinator, International Education Program & Advanced Studies Program for International Visiting Scholars



   iep@gwu.edu    2129 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052    202-994-9283



GW UNESCO Program In the News


Graduates’ Fondest Memories of GW

Zineb Haimoud, International Education
May 16, 2024

Graduating GSEHD student, Zineb Haimoud, shared about her experience as a UNESCO Fellow in Morocco in a GW Today story on grads' favorite memories.

GSEHD Faculty and Alumna Organize First International Inclusive Education Symposium in Ghana

May 3, 2024

Drs. Gresham and Engel collaborated with GSEHD alumna Elaine Walton to organize the inaugural International Inclusive Education Symposium in Ghana.

GW Students Make Global Impact through UNESCO Fellowship

The UNESCO Fellows program places graduate students in intensive internships at UNESCO field offices and institutes around the world.
April 16, 2024

The UNESCO Fellows program places graduate students in intensive internships at UNESCO field offices and institutes around the world.

Dr. Engel Takes Part in Panel, "Educating for Global Citizenship in the Digital Age"

April 1, 2024

Dr. Laura Engel took part in a panel webinar, "Educating for Global Citizenship in the Digital Age," as part of UNESCO's International Day for Digital Learning.

GW Faculty, Students & Alumni Help Revise 2024 UNESCO Global Citizenship Education in a Digital Age Teacher Guidelines

February 28, 2024

Dr. Engel along with a team of GW students and alumni helped to write and revise the UNESCO Global Citizenship Education in a Digital Age Teacher Guidelines.

Streitwieser and Alumni Debut New Book During Expert Panel

September 27, 2023

In a panel by Harvard's Diwan Org, Streitwieser presented the REAL Lab's new book: Accessing Quality Edu: Local & Global Perspectives from Refugees.

GSEHD Alumna Maha Malik Earns Consultancy in Paris

January 9, 2023

Following completion of the GW UNESCO Fellow program with UNESCO Paris, Malik was offered a consultancy with their Global Citizenship and Peace (GCP) Section.

Webinar Recap: Smithsonian Expert Discusses Education on Sustainability, UN Goals

January 31, 2022

The GW Hatchet provided a recap on a webinar hosted by the GW UNESCO Chair in Intl Education for Development and the Smithsonian Science Education Center.

Dr. Engel Publishes Chapter in 2020 UNESCO Book

February 6, 2020

Dr. Laura Engel published a chapter titled Humanistic Futures of Learning: Perspectives from UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks with co-author.

Should K-12 Students Be Treated as Commodities?

At UNESCO symposium, education experts discuss what happens when public good meets private gain.
March 9, 2015

UNESCO Sumposium, “Unpacking Education and the Civic Good: The Potential and Role of Education in an Era of Global Markets and Power," hosted at GW's GSEHD.

UNESCO Director General Calls for a ‘New Push in Education’

GW’s UNESCO chair in international education for development plans to build citizen-leaders.
September 22, 2014

GSEHD hosted director general of UNESCO to celebrate the installation of the university’s UNESCO chair in international education for development.