Penn GSE Event Addresses Global Literacy, Recognizes Inauguration of UNESCO Chair

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Media Contact: | | February 29, 2012

PHILADELPHIA — The University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education will host “Global Literacy in the 21st Century: Problems and Prospects,” at 4 p.m., Thursday, March 15 in Huntsman Hall.

Featuring Irina Bokova, the director-general of UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, this symposium is free and open to the public.

“Global Literacy in the 21st Century” is part of the formal inauguration of the new UNESCO Chair in Learning and Literacy in Penn GSE.  The event is co-sponsored by Penn’s Office of the Provost, Penn GSE International Educational Development Program, International Literacy Institute and GSE.

Dan Wagner, a professor at GSE and director of Penn’s International Literacy Institute, will be recognized as UNESCO chair during the event, which will include introductory remarks from Ezekiel Emanuel, a Penn Integrates Knowledge professor and the vice provost for global initiatives at Penn; GSE’s Dean Andy Porter, and Nerissa Cook, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state.

Panelists for the forum include Richard Whelden, director of the U.S. Agency International Development’s Office of Education; Moses Oketch from the University of London’s Institute of Education, and Vivian Gadsden, professor of child development at Penn GSE.

“UNESCO is the single United Nations agency that has consistently put global literacy and international development at the top of its priorities,” Wagner said.  “It is a particular honor to have Director-General Bokova come to Penn for this inauguration event, and we look forward to a continuing partnership over the years to come.  Global literacy is a very serious development goal, and this relationship will allow Penn to further its commitment to global engagement set forth by Penn President Amy Gutmann.”

The first of its kind at a school of education in the United States, this UNESCO Chair is part of a bilateral partnership between UNESCO and universities that are committed to the United Nations’ objectives, specifically its Millennium Development Goals in the areas of basic education and literacy in the world’s poorest countries.

The UNESCO Chair at Penn builds on decades of collaboration between this United Nations specialized agency and the University, which began in 1994  when former Director-General Federico Mayor came to Penn to help establish the International Literacy Institute.

The UNESCO Chair at Penn is the 18th chair in the United States and is one of 600 UNESCO chairs in 128 countries.

Additional information is available at 215-898-6447 or coralh@exchange.upenn.edu.

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