Washington, DC 19 September 2014 – Director-General Irina Bokova today inaugurated the newest additions to the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs program in a ceremony at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Noting the significance of a Chair in International Education for Development, the Director-General focused on the challenges that remain to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and the pivot into the post-2015 agenda.
“As we look ahead, we must finish what we started and each of us knows the power of education,” she said. “There is simply no stronger transformational force -- for reducing poverty and inequality, for improving food security, for promoting health, for inclusive and sustainable growth.”
In accepting the honor, Professor Jim Williams appeared ready to rise to the challenge. “In the first year we will launch a UNESCO speaker series,” said Williams, “focusing on education, identity and the common good.”
Williams will be joined by professors Laura Engel and Bernhard Streitwieser as co-Chairs. The Chair is based at the university's Graduate School for Education and Human Development. The Chair will focus global citizenship, social inclusion and education in emergency context.
U.S. Ambassador Crystal Nix-Hines, who also attended, applauded the program as one of UNESCO's important contributions to the sharing of knowledge across the vast network of UNESCO Chairs. Started in 1992, the UNESCO Chairs Programme involves 812 institutions in 128 countries.
Former Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs and now George Washington Professor, Dr. Esther Brimmer, hosted the program, which included a panel discussion with UNESCO Chairs, Professors Dan Wagner of the University of Pennsylvania and Mark Brennan from Penn State, before an audience of more than 100 people.