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Prestigious UNESCO Chair Awarded to GU Faculty


Phyllis Magrab to Lead University Team’s Work on Global Education Initiatives

October 20, 2006 - Washington, DC—The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has recognized the interdisciplinary work of a Georgetown University team of psychologists, lawyers, theologians and policy experts for their work to enhance access to education in the world’s most poverty-stricken areas. UNESCO awarded the team, led by Phyllis Magrab, Ph.D., director of the Center for Child Health and Human Development at Georgetown University Medical Center, with a Chair designation, only the tenth Chair ever awarded to an American university.

UNESCO Chairs are awarded to colleges, universities and research institutions to initiate programs furthering research and education globally. Georgetown’s Chair is specifically designated for work to achieve universal primary education for the world’s children.

“This partnership between UNESCO and Georgetown illustrates the University’s commitment to furthering access to education in the developing world. The project draws upon the existing expertise of faculty and creates new connections that span diverse disciplines and departments,” said Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia, who is one of ten “At Large” members of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO and who also chairs its Education Committee.

Magrab has ties to UNESCO as well—she been engaged with their strategic planning activities for literacy initiatives since 2000. She said she looks forward to working with a diverse group of faculty to achieve UNESCO’s goal of worldwide literacy and education.

On Tuesday, October 24, the Georgetown UNESCO Chair team will host several UNESCO leaders at a luncheon and planning meeting to kick off its literacy work. DeGioia will welcome the group and discuss how the project fits with the larger University goal of extending Georgetown’s global reach.

The Georgetown UNESCO Chair team will address two goals that were set at a UNESCO meeting in 2000 in Dakar, Senegal: to achieve universal primary education by 2015, and to achieve a 50 percent improvement in adult literacy levels throughout the world by 2015. Magrab and her colleagues plan to do this by leveraging existing expertise on campus and through their oversight of a newly created consortium of U.S. colleges and universities. The Global Education Consortium (GEC), which was created following a UNESCO-sponsored meeting on the subject of global education held at Georgetown in 2005, is an interest group of higher education leaders committed to achieving universal education. Leading the GEC, the Georgetown team will advise other universities in establishing partnerships with developing countries, among other oversight responsibilities.

At the kick-off meeting, the team will discuss its long-term plans, including establishing a technology platform to enhance information delivery to literacy teachers and practitioners; sponsoring national teleconferences on teacher training and literacy; partnering with developing nations to help them achieve education goals and developing new Georgetown courses on education and development for undergraduates and graduates.

The full faculty roster for the Georgetown UNESCO Chair Steering Committee is as follows:

* Anthony Clark Arend, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Government, Director, Institute for International Law and Politics
* Thomas Bullock, Assistant to the President for DC Initiatives
* Judith Feder, Ph.D., Dean, Georgetown University Public Policy Institute
* Sybil K. Goldman, M.S.W., Special Assistant to the Director, Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development
* Victoria Jennings, Ph.D., Director and Professor, Institute for Reproductive Health
* Carol Lancaster, Ph.D., Director, The Michael and Virginia Mortara Center for International Studies, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service
* Gasper F. Lo Biondo, S.J., Ph.D., Director, Woodstock Theological Center
* Toby Long, Ph.D., Director of Training, Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development
* Phyllis R. Magrab, Ph.D., Director, Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development; Professor, Department of Pediatrics; UNESCO Chair
* Jessica Raper, Esq., Special Assistant for Policy Planning, Office of the President
* Chantal Santelices, Director, Center for Intercultural Education and Development
* Elizabeth H. Stephen, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Demography, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service
* Kathleen Maas Weigert, Ph.D., Executive Director, Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching and Service

About Gerorgetown University Medical Center

Georgetown University Medical Center is an internationally recognized academic medical center with a three-part mission of research, teaching and patient care (through our partnership with MedStar Health). Our mission is carried out with a strong emphasis on public service and a dedication to the Catholic, Jesuit principle of cura personalis—or “care of the whole person.” The Medical Center includes the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing and Health Studies, both nationally ranked, and the world renowned Lombardi Cancer Center.


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