GW's 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, including education in emergency contexts. The UNESCO Chair is housed within International Education and will contribute directly to UNESCO's mission on education by supporting priorities in achieving equitable access to quality education for all.

GW UNESCO Chair Appointments

James H. Williams, Ed.D., Chair

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

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

Office Address

2129 G Street
Washington DC, 20052


Only the 2nd designated UNESCO Chair in a school of education and the only one located in our nation's capital - Washington DC

In 1945, UNESCO was created in order to respond to the firm belief of nations, forged by two world wars in less than a generation, that political and economic agreements are not enough to build a lasting peace. Peace must be established on the basis of humanity’s moral and intellectual solidarity. UNESCO strives to build networks among nations that enable this kind of solidarity, by Mobilizing for education: so that every child, boy or girl, has access to quality education as a fundamental human right and as a prerequisite for human development. Building intercultural understanding: through protection of heritage and support for cultural diversity. UNESCO created the idea of World Heritage to protect sites of outstanding universal value. Pursuing scientific cooperation: such as early warning systems for tsunamis or trans-boundary water management agreements, to strengthen ties between nations and societies. Protecting freedom of expression: an essential condition for democracy, development and human dignity.

Today, UNESCO's message remains the same, with a particular emphasis on creating holistic policies that are capable of addressing the social, environmental and economic dimensions of sustainable development in today’s globalized and uncertain world. UNESCO is known as the "intellectual" agency of the United Nations. At a time when the world is looking for new ways to build peace and sustainable development, people must rely on the power of intelligence to innovate, expand their horizons and sustain the hope of a new humanism. UNESCO exists to bring this creative intelligence to life; for it is in the minds of men and women that the defenses of peace and the conditions for sustainable development must be built.

Launched in 1992, the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Program promotes international inter-university cooperation and networking to enhance institutional capacities through knowledge sharing and collaborative work. UNITWIN is the abbreviation for the UNIVERSITY TWINNING and networking scheme. The Program supports the establishment of UNESCO Chairs and UNITWIN Networks in key priority areas related to UNESCO’s fields of competence – i.e. in education, the natural and social sciences, culture and communication. Through this network, higher education and research institutions all over the globe pool their resources, both human and material, to address pressing challenges and contribute to the development of their societies.

In many instances, the Networks and Chairs serve as think tanks and as bridge builders between academia, civil society, local communities, research and policy-making. They have proven useful in informing policy decisions, establishing new teaching initiatives, generating innovation through research and contributing to the enrichment of existing university programs while promoting cultural diversity. In areas suffering from a dearth of expertise, Chairs and Networks have evolved into poles of excellence and innovation at the regional or sub-regional levels. They also contribute to strengthening North-South-South cooperation.

Today, the Program involves over 812 institutions in 128 countries, covering 70 disciplines. There are only 21 UNESCO Chairs in the United States.


The Chair's 2014-2015 theme of research: Education, Identity and the Civic Good.

Research areas aligned with the Chair center around education for global citizenship, education in emergencies, and education for social inclusion. Each year the UNESCO Chair's program will focus on a central theme. The theme of the Chair's first year (2014-2015) is Education, Identity and the Civic Good. Additionally, activities associated with the Chair include the launch of a UNESCO Lecture Series, a Working Paper Series, Seminar/Workshop Series, teaching of the UNESCO: Agenda in the 21st Century graduate seminar and other graduate courses aligned with the Chair's themes, outreach, and planning of a UNESCO Fellows program.

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.

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."


2017 GW UNESCO Fellows Application is now closed!

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

This past year, the GW UNESCO Chair sent their second round of Fellows through the GW UNESCO Fellows Program, a three-month international internship program. Five GW UNESCO Fellows are worked as interns in UNESCO field offices in Bangkok, Thailand; Havana, Cuba; Paris, France; and two in Dakar, Senegal. Fellows worked on issues related to barriers to quality education in their host countries, including violence in the home, gender, and other areas of social exclusion.

More information? Please email Tess Cannon.

2017 Fellows

Announcements coming soon!

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
    Maggie Appel-Schumacher was a UNESCO Fellow in 2015 in Bangkok, Thailand, where she served within the Education, Policy and Reform unit completing research on teacher effectiveness in the Asia-Pacific region and participating in a variety of conferences and seminars about education policy, technical and vocational education and quality education in the region. Maggie graduated with her Master’s in International Education with concentrations in International Exchange and Educational Development from the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development’s (GSEHD) in August 2015. Currently, Maggie works at Cultural Vistas in New York, an international education non-profit organization, where she serves as the Assistant Program Officer within the Internships Abroad Division.
    At the UNESCO office in Bangkok, Thailand, Maggie’s primary contribution to the Education, Policy and Reform Unit included a comprehensive research project on the current state of teachers and teacher effectiveness in the Asia-Pacific region. The literature review analyzed the current status of teacher effectiveness to include quality education, teacher management, and support in schools across a variety of Asian-Pacific countries. Additionally, Maggie volunteered at the 2015 Asia-Pacific Conference on Education and Training in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where she supported UNESCO colleagues with speech writing and record keeping of the conference seminars and plenary sessions. Within the EPR unit, Maggie edited a variety of reports to include the ERI-NET Transversal skills project and participated in data analysis and translation for the Happy School project. In her free time, Maggie traveled to a variety of cities in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia and participated in an introductory Thai language course.

  • Yishan Ding - Jakarta, Indonesia
    Yishan Ding is a recent graduate from the International education program at GWU. In the summer of 2015, she had the honor of being a GW-UNESCO fellow working in the UNESCO office in Jakarta for 3 months. Her work there mainly included drafting strategy on the networking of UNESCO Chairs and Category-2 Centers, developing concept note on the strategic networking of UNESCO family to deliver post 2015 agenda, and drafting the curriculum plan on water education in Asia and the Pacific. Largely thanks to this valuable and memorable experience in which she had a glimpse of the life of researchers, she has determined to pursue a doctor degree after graduation and is currently working on the application.

  • Chloe Bacon - Santiago, Chile
  • Nichole Saad - Amman, Jordan

Visit the 2015 Fellows Wordpress page