GSE News

UNESCO Director-General Visits Penn to Inaugurate New Chair in Learning and Literacy

May 16, 2012 - UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova visited Penn on March 15, 2012, to inaugurate Penn’s new UNESCO Chair in Learning and Literacy at Penn’s Graduate School of Education. The first of its kind at a U.S. school of education, the UNESCO Chair will focus on achieving UN Millennium Development Goals in the area of basic education and literacy in the poorest countries of the world.

Established within Penn’s International Literacy Institute (ILI), the UNESCO Chair will be held by Dr. Dan Wagner, director of Pen GSE's International Educational Development Program and Director of the ILI.

The events of the day began with public symposium on “Global Literacy in the 21st Century: Problems and Prospects.” The keynote address was delivered by Mme. Bokova, who stated: Other speakers included Ezekiel Emanuel, Vice Provost for Global Initiatives, Penn GSE Dean Andy Porter; Nerissa Cook, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State; Kristi Fair, Senior Specialist, USAID; Moses Oketch, Reader, University of London; and Vivian Gadsden, Professor of Education.

During the visit, UNESCO and Penn formalized a summer internship program that will give Penn students an opportunity to serve and learn at UNESCO field offices worldwide. This internship program will begin at Penn as part of Penn GSE’s International Educational Development Program (IEDP). For the summer of 2012, Penn IEDP students will serve in Paris, Hamburg, Beijing, Dakar, Bangkok, and Santiago.

UNESCO chairs are created as part of a bilateral partnership between UNESCO and universities committed to the goals of the United Nations. There are currently over 600 UNESCO chairs in 128 countries. The UNESCO Chair at Penn is the 18th Chair in the United States.

Dr. Wagner has extensive experience in national and international educational issues, and has served as an advisor to UNESCO, UNICEF, World Bank, OECD, USAID and others on international development issues. His current responsibilities include directing the International Educational Development Program at Penn GSE, and the International Literacy Institute.