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

Laura C. Engel, Ph.D., Co-Chair
Bernhard T. Streitwieser, Ph.D., Co-Chair
James H. Williams, Ed.D., Chair


Celia Pena-Gomez, 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 6-8 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


Visit the 2015 Fellows blog

Visit the 2016 Fellows blog

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 2017 Fellows blog

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 2018 Fellows blog

2017 Fellows

Victoria Barone - Dakar, Senegal
Worked for the CapED Niger program, and participated 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
Utilized Literacy Based Program Case Studies for South to South Cooperation: Influencing a Reading Culture in the MENA Region. Melissa Glynn - Bangkok, Thailand
Helped 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
Researched 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
Assisted 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 was also been selected as the 2017 Barker Fellow, generously funded by the Barker (IEP alumna) Family. Conducted research on the legal and financial challenges refugee students face to continue their post-secondary education.
  • Matthew Brady, International Education, placed in the UNESCO Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific in Jakarta, Indonesia. Matt’s work centered around the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Asia Pacific region. This included preparing updated drafts of the regional science bureau's support strategy around the SDGs, assisting in updating country strategy documents for cluster countries, and reviewing inter-sectoral actions for delivering SDGs at the cluster level.
  • Rebecca Johnson, International Education, placed in the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in Latin American and the Caribbean in Santiago, Chile. Rebecca was also selected as our Barker Fellow, generously funded by the Barker (IEP alumna) Family. Rebecca worked in the Latin American Laboratory for Assessment of Quality in Education (LLECE) to support the work of the Fourth Regional Comparative and Explanatory Study (ERCE). As such, she aided in the development of literature reviews and key documents generated by UNESCO, the design of instruments aimed to assess non-cognitive skills in line with the E2030 Agenda, and the research and analysis of the education systems of the LLECE's 19 member countries.
  • Tamara Oki, International Education, placed in the IIEP UNESCO: International Institute for Educational Planning in Paris, France. Tamara gathered data and analyzed trends surrounding female teacher management in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Melquin Ramos, Organizational Leadership and Learning, placed in the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in Latin American and the Caribbean in Santiago, Chile. Melquin provided support in implementing youth and adult education and lifelong learning activities. In addition, he collected statistical data and information on education (formal and non-formal), as well collected and disseminated information on innovative educational experiences in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region.
  • Emily Silverberg, International Education, placed in the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development in New Delhi, India. Emily assisted in their Libre project which infuses global citizenship education into school curriculum and teacher training.
  • Meng Zhou, International Education, placed in the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning in Hamburg, Germany. Meng supported the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities' work in providing knowledge exchange on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals at the local level in Hamburg, Germany. She researched the concept of lifelong learning and the implementation of learning cities in Latin American and Caribbean countries.

2018 Fellows

Nelsy Affoum, International Trade and Investment Policy (ESIA), placed in the Dakar, Senegal Field Office. Nelsy’s internship focused on assisting in the regional coordination of Sustainable Development Goal #4 - Education for All. More specifically, she provided support in the implementation and monitoring and evaluation of the CapED programme which aims for the “Promotion of sustainable peace and developments through building skills for life and work in the Sahel.” Courtney Argenti, Education Policy, placed in the UNESCO Asia and Pacific Regional Bureau for Education in the Bangkok, Thailand Field Office. Courtney worked under direct supervision of the Head of the Executive Office at UNESCO Bangkok to support the strategic programming of Education Sector work in Bangkok and the region. She assisted in monitoring and evaluation of all projects and activities of UNESCO Bangkok and implemented a research project on teaching and learning of SDG 4.7 (global citizenship education) with a focus on the development of socio-emotional skills.

For more information, please email iep@gwu.edu.

View the map of GW UNESCO Fellows Program placements.

2019 Fellows

Learn about the 2019 Fellows' experiences on the GW UNESCO Fellows blog.

Brynn Acker - Bangkok, Thailand
Brynn's main role is to support the team with the Multilingual Education Programme. This includes assisting in the organization of events and meetings related to 1) the 6th International Conference on Language and Education on 24-26 September 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand, 2) High-level policy forum on MLE on 27 September 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand and 3) Asia Pacific Multilingual Education Working Group meeting in 2019 in Bangkok, Thailand. Brynn will be acting as the focal point for conference speakers, she is responsible for maintaining the conference agenda and website, copy- editing abstracts, taking notes in meetings, and will be drafting and sending all notes and updates to the conference participants.
Brynn will also be assisting in the production of MLE related reports, presentations and relevant advocacy materials, when required and supporting activities for the programme areas under the Inclusive Basic Education team.
David Childress - Paris, France
Dave works at UNESCO's International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) office in Paris and has spent his time thus far with the research department there. His main focus has been on an ongoing research project involving teacher career structures and reform. It examines a diverse selection of countries and seeks to provide policy options for better system design to improve teacher motivation and retention. He has also worked on several side projects to include activity design for a teacher management class taught at IIEP, the review and proofreading of several papers from independent consultants, and assisting with recording and compiling records for a final report on an educational planning and management seminar. In the second half of his time with IIEP, he intends to assist with another ongoing project involving teachers of refugees and continue to make connections in the international education community! Kyle Hall - Hamburg, Germany
As the GW Fellow at UNESCO's Institute for Lifelong Learning in Hamburg, Germany, Kyle is tasked with supporting the Global Network of Learning Cities and with strengthening National Lifelong Learning Policy Development and Implementation. His assignments have included the evaluation of biannual progress reports of member cities of the Global Network for Learning Cities (GNLC), the assessment surveys to identify priority topics within the GNLC, and the planning of capacity-building workshops to advance member cities in achieving the SDGs 4 and 11. Additionally, Kyle has contributed to the preparation of the fourth International Conference of Learning Cities taking place in Medellín, Colombia in October 2019.
Maggie Montgomery - Santiago, Chile
At OREALC/UNESCO Santiago, Maggie has been fortunate enough to assist the global citizenship education specialist (and fellow IEP alum) Romina Kasman on GCED projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. This involves a lot of collaboration with other UNESCO offices and agencies in the region on projects involving migration, human rights, and rule of law, and how these themes all intersect.
Renny Osuna - Santiago, Chile
At the UNESCO Santiago office, Renny is part of the Education 2030 Agenda team, assisting specifically the activities of UNESCO ́s Regional Strategy for People on the Move, which is meant to support countries’ efforts to guarantee the right to education of people in a context of mobility, including migrants, refugees, asylees, and returnees. All of the activities she has assisted are to prepare for the official launch of the Regional Strategy, She has contributed to the preparation of the Regional Forum 'Education beyond borders: regional solidarity for guaranteeing the right to education of people on the move.´ Renny has also been tasked in providing technical assistance on the regional mapping of socioemotional learning practices across the Latin America and the Caribbean region and GCE related projects in the contexts of mobility.
Stephanie Roach - Yangon, Myanmar
Stephanie splits her time at the UNESCO Myanmar Project Office between the Capacity Development for Education and Strengthening Pre-Service Teacher Education in Myanmar programs. On the CapED team, Stephanie assists her colleagues with organizing and facilitating policy dialogues between Ministry of Education officials, civil society organizations and development partners, as well as development partner working groups, themed around education. For the STEM team, Stephanie will be contributing to the annual report and is conducting research on updating the Monitoring and Evaluation the team is currently using. Outside of work, Stephanie has joined a hiking and mountaineering club along with several of her colleagues to explore Myanmar's diverse landscape.
Justin Rotundo - Amman, Jordan
Justin has two main priorities currently. One is the Jordan country update for the UNESCO Strategic Framework for Education in Emergencies in the Arab Region (2018-2021). He is looking through completed projects to find successes and looking at how UNESCO's ongoing/upcoming projects contribute to the framework's four strategic goals. Justin's second project is a mid-term update on the UNESCO Arab Region Educational Support Strategy. This involves similar work, looking at previous projects and how the successes contributed to the strategy and how ongoing and future projects contribute to it as well.
Jonathan Yoo - Jakarta, Indonesia
Jon has spent the summer assisting with research on improving clean water and sanitation in cluster countries, as well as supporting the Japan Funds-in-Trust and Malaysia Funds-in-Trust programs with a focus on climate action and water management.
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 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

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.


Chair Supported Research

Current Themes:

Refugees & Immigration

Global Citizenship

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.

  • 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.