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

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.


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
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.

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."


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.

2017 Fellows

  • Victoria Barone - Dakar, Senegal
  • Suzanne Fils-Aime - UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning - Hamburg, Germany
  • Melissa Glynn - Bangkok, Thailand
  • Aishwarya Khurana - UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Peace and Sustainable Development - New Delhi, India
  • Kelsey Sherbondy - UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning - Paris, France
  • Elizabeth Solem - Amman, Jordan
  • Elizabeth has also been selected as our Barker Fellow, generously funded by the Barker (IEP alumna) Family.

    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.
    • 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