Launched in 2014, the GW UNESCO Chair in International Education for Development supports a program of research, outreach, teaching, and mentoring of a new generation of educators, working on education for global citizenship and social equity and inclusion. The Chair is housed within GSEHD’s International Education Program and contributes directly to UNESCO's mission on education by supporting priorities in achieving equitable access to quality education for all.

The GW UNESCO Chair in International Education for Development is one of three 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 program establishes UNESCO Chairs in higher education and research institutions around the world to invest in research related to UNESCO’s fields of competence – education, the natural and social sciences, culture, and communication. Today, the Program involves over 812 institutions in 128 countries, covering 70 disciplines. There are only 21 UNESCO Chairs in the United States.

The primary activities associated with the Chair include annual seminars; the GW UNESCO Fellows program, teaching of the UNESCO: Agenda in the 21st Century graduate seminar, and other graduate courses aligned with the Chair's themes; outreach; and research projects focused on Chair themes.

Chair and Co-Chairs

James H. Williams, Ed.D., Chair

Laura C. Engel, Ph.D., Co-Chair

Bernhard T. Streitwieser, Ph.D., Co-Chair


Tess Cannon, Program Coordinator, Partnerships and International Relations (cannont@gwu.edu)

Nenelwa Tomi, Program Assistant, International Education Program (iep@gwu.edu)

Office Address

2129 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20052


Housed in the GW UNESCO Chair in International Education for Development is the GW UNESCO Fellows Program. Each cohort is made up of 4-6 current graduate students who participate in a 3-month internships at a UNESCO field office, gaining valuable experience in international development and non-profit management.

Each academic internship includes:

  • Roundtrip airfare to field office placement
  • Living stipend
  • Insurance

More information? Please email Tess Cannon.

View the map of GW UNESCO Fellows Program placements.

2018 Fellows

The 2018 GW UNESCO Fellowship is now closed.

2017 Fellows

  • Victoria Barone - Dakar, Senegal
    Working for the CapED Niger program, and participating in the Gender Equality and Inclusive Education task team of the Regional Coordination Group on SDG4-Education 2030 for West and Central Africa.
  • Suzanne Fils-Aime - UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning - Hamburg, Germany
    Utilizing Literacy Based Program Case Studies for South to South Cooperation: Influencing a Reading Culture in the MENA Region.
  • Melissa Glynn - Bangkok, Thailand
    Helping develop ICT programming for out-of-school children in Thailand, addressing issues of both access and quality assurance.
  • Aishwarya Khurana - UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Peace and Sustainable Development - New Delhi, India
    Researching the role of UNESCO and UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Peace and Sustainable Development in Education for Peace.
  • Kelsey Sherbondy - UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning - Paris, France
    Assisting the IIEP-UNESCO Training Unit in the development and delivery of a three-week educational planning and leadership skills development workshop for female planners from Africa and Asia.
  • Elizabeth Solem - Amman, Jordan Elizabeth has also been selected as the 2017 Barker Fellow, generously funded by the Barker (IEP alumna) Family.
  • Conducting research on the legal and financial challenges refugee students face to continue their post-secondary education.

Visit the 2017 Fellows Wordpress page

2016 Fellows

  • Jen Romba - Bangkok, Thailand
    Conducted a case study of UNESCO’s work in school-related gender-based violence on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression in the context of Thailand as a part of SDG4 and Education 2030.
  • Elena Saavedra - Havana, Cuba
    Researched UNESCO's work in promoting a culture of peace in Cuban schools from a gender perspective.
  • Katherine Tek - Dakar, Senegal
    Helped develop monitoring and evaluation tools to use in for future case studies on gender equality in education in West African countries. Katherine was selected as the 2016 Barker Fellow, generously funded by the Barker (IEP alumna) Family.
  • Marie Balo-Lou - Dakar, Senegal
    Researched the state of non formal education policy and planning in the Sahel Region and its relation to the Lifelong Learning Agenda.
  • Nora Tomlinson-Weintraub - Paris, France
    Researched MOST Ministerial Forums in Cameroon and Malaysia, focusing on the effect of climate change on migration in Central Africa, with a specific focus on women and girls.

Visit the 2016 Fellows Wordpress page

2015 Fellows

  • Maggie Appel Schumacher - Bangkok, Thailand
    Researched teacher effectiveness in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Yishan Ding - Jakarta, Indonesia
    Drafted strategy on the networking of UNESCO Chairs and Category 2 Centers to support the post-2015 agenda.
  • Chloe Bacon - Santiago, Chile
    Researched regional perspectives on global citizenship education in Latin America.
  • Nichole Saad - Amman, Jordan
    Researched monitoring and evaluation methods of non-formal education in refugee camps.

Visit the 2015 Fellows Wordpress page

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

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 glimse 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

Where are the Immigrant Girls?

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.

Read the policy brief


Chair Supported Research

Current Themes:

Refugees & Immigration

  • Refugee Integration in Germany: Case Study of the Berlin School of Economics and Law, BSEL (Bernhard Streitwieser)
    This project looks at BESL’s programming to help Syrian and other recent asylum seekers resume interrupted studies in higher education. The case study is intended to establish the research basis for a larger, externally funded project that will study migrant integration policy in German higher education vis-a- vis other countries facing integration challenges.
  • Global Citizenship

    • Going global: The impact of global education on student learning and worldview (Laura Engel)
      The project aims to understand the impact of study abroad opportunities on DCPS students’ achievement, intercultural competence, and worldview.
    • Barriers and potentialities for regional integration of higher education in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (James Williams)
      This project seeks to gain an institution-level perspective on barriers and potential of regional collaboration in higher education among four countries in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region. The study involves interviews with academic leaders and chief international officers at as many of the 20 higher education institutions participating in the Greater Mekong Subregion, University Consortium (GMS-UC) as possible in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand and case studies of up to four universities identified as success stories in preparing themselves for regional integration.
News & Events
2017 Uruguay Public School Educators Program

In spring 2017, the Chair welcomed 28 educators from Uruguay for a one-day seminar on U.S. educational governance; curriculum, standards, and assessment; innovative use of technology; and English language teaching.

History Can Bite Book Launch

In fall 2016, the Chair hosted a book launch of the edited volume History Can Bite: History Education in Divided and Post-Conflict Societies with several researchers and representatives of the Georg Ekert Institute for International Textbooks Research. Dr. Laura Engel provided opening remarks and moderated the panel.

2016 GW UNESCO Fellows Presentation

In fall 2017 the 2016 GW UNESCO Fellows presented their summer research in an open forum. Following the presentations from the six fellows, Dr. Emily Vargas-Baron offered some thoughtful insights and reflections.

GW UNESCO Fellows Meet UNESCO Director-General

GW UNESCO Fellows Marie Louise Balolou and Katherine Tek had the honor of meeting UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova during her visit to the UNESCO field office in Dakar, Senegal.

Fulbright Enrichment Seminar 2016

In spring 2016, the International Education Program and the Chair hosted 91 Fulbright Scholars from 49 countries for a four-day seminar titled Educational Justice: Overcoming Barriers to Quality Education in the 21st Century.

Launch Celebration for Dr. Raymond Wanner's UNESCO Book

On November 2nd GW's UNESCO Chair in Education for Development celebrated the launch of Dr. Raymond Wanner's book, UNESCO’s Origins, Achievements, Problems and Promise: An Inside/Outside Perspective from the U.S.

Pre-CIES Conference: Unpacking the Civic Good: The Potential Role of Education in an Era of Global Markets and Powers

On the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the founding of UNESCO, the Chair and GSEHD hosted a public forum on the ways education can contribute (or not) to the civic good.

UNESCO Chair in International Education for Development Launch

In fall 2014, GW Launched the UNESCO Chair in International Education for Development at the Westin Hotel in Washington, D.C. The launch featured a keynote address by UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova and remarks by U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO Crystal Nix-Hines.

UNESCO, uniTwin, GW and GSEHD Logos