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Queen’s awarded first UNESCO Chair of Arts and Learning


Queen’s Faculty of Education has been awarded the first Chair in Arts and Learning from UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization).

The new Chair opens important doors to internationally recognized collaboration and networking in arts education between Queen’s and higher education institutions in developing countries and countries in transition.

As the UNESCO Chair of Arts and Learning, Queen’s drama and arts education professor Larry O’Farrell leads in the creation of new learning tools and initiatives at Queen’s including an international research and development project on e-learning for teacher education in drama and theatre education; a research project for creativity in arts education; and a planned web-based symposia.

“By establishing a Chair in the field of the arts, UNESCO has extended its commitment to promoting the arts in education,” says Professor O’Farrell. “A person who is exposed to the arts at school or in community based arts programs has an enhanced opportunity to become a more creative, imaginative, empathetic, confidant, self-reliant and critically thinking human being.”

The Chair is established under the university education twinning and networking scheme (UNITWIN Program) initiated in 1992. The main participants are universities and research institutions, in partnership with higher education NGOs, foundations, and public and private sector organizations. UNITWIN opens avenues for the higher education community to join forces with UNESCO to achieve the objectives of the global agenda.

”I am delighted that Professor O’Farrell has been awarded this prestigious UNESCO Chair,” says LeRoy Whitehead, associate dean of the faculty of education. “The faculty has been a strong advocate for arts education, and the award of this Chair honours not only a member of our teaching staff but also recognizes our commitment to the arts as being fundamental in education.”

Professor O’Farrell is Queen’s Coordinator of Continuing Teacher Education and has overseen the implementation of more than 70 e-courses.

“Through his achievements, Larry O’Farrell has demonstrated that arts education can often be a stimulus to the teaching and learning process, therefore making learning more effective because it is more accessible,” says David Walden, secretary-general of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. “I trust that in his capacity as Queen’s UNESCO Chair of Arts and Learning, his efforts will serve as guide to us all.”


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