GW UNESCO Chair : Thoughts and Impressions

About the author: Ebote Adiang Ngulle is a second year Masters in International Education for Development student at the George Washington University. She is currently interning at the GW UNESCO Chair in Washington DC.

General Pre-internship Thoughts

A domestic fellowship with GW UNESCO Chair also turns out to be an international experience per se. Let me explain. When the UNESCO Fellowship was published, I thought it would be a good international experience for me to work on real live education development projects abroad. As I scrolled through the list of countries, I hoped Cameroon (my country) would be on the list. Why? I thought, if I engaged in the international fellowship, that would be a great opportunity to give back to my community. Cameroon was not on the list but, I was equally fascinated when I saw other African countries – of course, Africa is one of UNESCO’s main priorities. It also turned out, wishes are not horses, so I settled for a domestic fellowship but then I thought I will miss out on doing real ground work.

During our orientation sessions, one of our fellows made me look at the domestic fellowship differently. I might not be abroad from the perspective of travelling out of the US but, I actually am abroad, considering I am an international student. Whilst it might not be development work per se, it is research work that contributes towards UNESCO’s mission and I stand to gain knowledge from this experience that will become handy, applicable and practical as I move on to become an education development practitioner. So, I am equally as excited. Sounds cool doesn’t it?  Sometimes all it takes is a change of perspective in achieving a range of goals – not necessarily in the order previously intended. Also every experience is a learning process, so let us now see where I am working and what I am doing.

GW UNESCO Chair 

GW GSEHD

My fellowship is with the George Washington University UNESCO chair. GW UNESCO Chair is lodged within the International Education department of the Graduate School of Education and Human development. It focuses on the following themes – education for global citizenship, social equity and inclusion and education in emergency contexts. Within the office is a chair and two co-chair holders. It is a good opportunity to be learning from these seasoned professors who have extensive experience in the field of International Education.

Thinking about what is said about all work and no play and also looking back at the constraints of the last winter, I am excited to be in Washington DC this summer. Not only am I part of meaningful work and learning, I also have the opportunity to explore DC before winter returns from vacation.

First Assignments

My assignments are research and administrative based. Assisting the different chairs with projects related to their work. Turns out among the many skills I am gaining and developing are the ability to self-direct, work independently with limited supervision, analyze information and improve my research skills among others. I am currently assisting one of the chairs in data collection and literature review on a sponsored project. It is related to UNESCO and its relationship with the academic community – in this case UNESCO Chairs in the European Union. The final project will be published sometime in August.

I am also working on a literature review on UNESCO and US implemented strategies and policies to foster Global Citizenship Education (GCE). GCE is actually one of UNESCO’s focus and I am excited as I learn more about its relevance to 21st century education.

Another assignment I am working on with GW UNESCO chair is the distribution of a new book by Dr. Raymond E Wanner titled UNESCO’S Origins, Achievements, Problems and Promise: An Inside/Outside Perspective from the US. This book is a joint publication by GWU and the University of Hong Kong’s UNESCO Chair on the occasion of UNESCO’s 70th Anniversary. You should grab a copy! Contact GW UNESCO Chair.

UNESCO'S Origins, Achievements, Problems and Promise
UNESCO’S Origins, Achievements, Problems and Promise

As I go through this journey and the remaining two months, I look forward to sharing my thoughts with you.