Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

U.N. Agency Honors GU Research Team

UNESCO honored Georgetown’s leadership in the field of global education last week by recognizing the university as a national chair, a move that will provide the school with greater responsibilities in expanding education in the developing world.

The U.N. Educational, Science and Cultural Organization awarded the chair to honor the work of a Georgetown research team led by Phyllis Magrab that helped spread education to impoverished areas.

Magrab, the director of the university’s Center for Child and Human Development, previously served as a consultant to UNESCO on devising plans to confront illiteracy and lack of educational opportunities for disabled children.

“On a personal level, this is very nice to receive recognition for the work I’ve done both independently and on behalf of UNESCO,” Magrab said.

Georgetown will officially assume its new role as chair holder today at a luncheon.

When the United States rejoined UNESCO in 2002, University President John J. DeGioia decided to work toward earning a UNESCO chair as part of his broader plan to make Georgetown a more global university, Magrab said.

“We’re addressing a very significant global issue, and receiving recognition from UNESCO for that work demonstrates how effective our efforts have been,” she said.

The primary duty of the university as a UNESCO chair will be building and maintaining a network of colleges and universities to offer specific contributions to the organization’s efforts in the field of education.

Magrab emphasized the need to improve education in the developing world. Sixty percent of girls and over 95 percent of children with disabilities in developing countries do not have access to basic primary education, she said.

Georgetown, as one of only 10 American universities holding a chair, will take steps to fulfill UNESCO’s mission both abroad and in the United States. In addition to launching its own programs to increase access to education, Georgetown will work closely with UNESCO representatives to craft future policy and action plans, according to a university press release.

Georgetown will also choose several developing nations where it will work directly to improve education and increase literacy. agrab said that Georgetown will likely select Afghanistan and China due to the university’s strong ties to each region and its aim to foster more extensive programs in Middle Eastern and Chinese studies.

The Mortara Center for International Studies and the School of Foreign Service will fulfill the academic role of the chair by sponsoring a forum series in educational development, Magrab said.

Magrab added that much of the funding for Georgetown’s activities as chair will be provided by the Verizon Foundation.

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