Climate Change, Water, and Komodo Dragons

Welcome back to Jakarta! I appreciate you coming back to the GW UNESCO Fellowship blog and keeping up with me and my colleagues on our experience and adventures. As you may not know, I have decided to extend my stay in UNESCO Jakarta for another month. There is more work to be done and more opportunities for future workshops and meetings to attend in UNESCO Jakarta and many places to explore in Indonesia.

It has been over 2 months working in the UNESCO Jakarta office. My work has been a lot of support on planning upcoming workshops and meetings under Japan Funds-in-Trust (JFIT) and Malaysia Funds-in-Trust (MFIT) programs. Two big events that will be happening in September will be the annual Science to Enable and Empower Asia Pacific for Sustainable Development Goals II (SEE-AP for SDGs II) (funded by JFIT) and the Malaysia-UNESCO Cooperation Programme (MUCP) Post-Synthesis Meeting (funded by MFIT). Both events focus on the implementation of science education across the Asia-Pacific region and promote Science for Peace and Sustainable Development through South-South Cooperation on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

My responsibilities on preparing for the two upcoming events were developing the program booklets and creating and emailing out formal invitation letters to the participants from academia, non-governmental organizations, and government. For SEE-AP for SDGs II and MUCP, the program booklets showcase all the programs from the Natural Science unit as well as the contribution of the national government from Japan, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, and other countries across the Asia-Pacific region. As it highlights all the departments within the Natural Science unit, there are six thematic UNESCO Science programs: Man and the Biosphere (MAB), Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), Science, Engineering, Technology and Innovation (SETI), International Hydrological Programme (IHP), International Geoscience and Geoparks Programme (IGGP), and Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC). I volunteered to work with MAB and IGGP programs and developed a one-page summary to highlight its recent and on-going projects. These two programs focused on the changes in the biosphere resulting from human and natural activities and the effects of these changes on humans and the environment, in particular in the context of climate change. The programs also promote the exchange and transfer of knowledge on environmental problems and solutions and foster environmental education for sustainable development using green technology and innovation.

I have also assisted with the Water and Environmental Science department on their workshop, Drafting of Water Management Curriculum for Africa, this past month. My role during this the workshop was taking notes for each participants’ presentation and summarizing their presentations into a brief report for the Natural Science unit to have in their records. Five water-related Category 2 Centers and Chairs in Africa and Asia: Regional Center for Integrated River Basin Management (Nigeria), African Regional Center on Ecohydrology (Ethiopia), UNESCO Chair on Ecohydrology and Transboundary Water Management (Tanzania), Humid Tropics Center Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), and the Asia Pacific Center for Ecohydrology (Indonesia), and two Indonesian universities, participated in the workshop to jointly draft a Water Management Curricula for Africa. The topics that were discussed in this workshop had an alignment with my interest in identifying the scientific approach that can increase carrying capacity of water resources, biodiversity, ecosystem services, and resilience and ensure sustainable water resource management in Africa. The presenters also mentioned the use of ecohydrology to improve water security, enhance biodiversity and further opportunities for sustainable development by lessening ecological threats and maximizing greater harmony within catchment processes. This was a great learning experience for me to gain a deeper understanding of ways to process clean water accessibility and establish water facilities for vulnerable communities in Africa and Asia-Pacific. There will be a following regional workshop on Water Education in Asia and the Pacific in early September, which I am particularly looking forward to attending.

Outside of UNESCO Jakarta, I had the chance to travel to 3 islands within the Lesser Sunda Islands: Komodo, Padar, and Rinca. My trip to the islands was my most memorable traveling experience. For 4 days and 3 nights, I stayed with a group of tourists on a moderate size boat sailing to the Komodo, Padar, and Rinca island as well as other islands along the way. The most exciting part of my trip was visiting the Komodo National Park and witnessing Komodo dragons roaming around the islands. When I first saw the Komodo dragons in the Komodo National Park, one of 1,121 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it was interesting to see how they behave in the wild and how dangerous they can be when provoked. Some people may not see them as fascinating as I do but being present in front of the world’s largest lizards is something you do not see every day.

I believe working in the UNESCO Jakarta office has given me more insights on social and environmental development in Indonesia and the Asia-Pacific region. With projects that I am working on involving climate action and water sanitation, this trip has broadened my viewpoint on how it is important to focus on the Sustainable Development Goals and what strategies to implement the goals throughout the Asia-Pacific region. I hope to get into more projects involving the indigenous islands in Indonesia, particularly the Lesser Sunda Islands. In terms of having a memorable experience taking a trip to Komodo Padar, and Rinca, I highly recommend my friends and colleagues to take the opportunity to visit the islands and explore the unique faunas and floras that inhabit the islands. There are many islands to visit in Indonesia, but I hope to visit Komodo again in the near future.

As some of my colleagues in the UNESCO Fellowship program are finishing their time abroad, I will be staying another month to attend and perhaps participate in the upcoming workshops and meetings. I am excited to get more involved with UNESCO Jakarta and build my professional network with scholars and government officials who specializes in science education, specifically in climate change and sustainable development, from cluster countries.

I highly encourage you all to attend the UNESCO Fellowship Reception on September 13, where the UNESCO Fellows will share their personal and professional experience in UNESCO and their time abroad during the summer. Unfortunately, I will not be participating in the reception, but I am open to meet with students to share my experience working in UNESCO and living in Jakarta. If you would like to meet up for coffee or beer, you can contact me via email at Thanks again for visiting the UNESCO Fellowship 2019 blog!

Jonathan is a Master’s candidate in International
Education with a focus on Environmental and
Sustainability Education and Climate Change Education.

Diary of a GW UNESCO Fellow disguised as a Hamburger

Hello, and thank you for checking back in with me via the GW UNESCO Fellows blog. As of July 31, I concluded my fellowship at the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) in Hamburg, Germany. This summer, I was one of eight graduate students from The George Washington University who were placed at UNESCO offices across seven countries. Our work was quite varied at our respective placements, so I encourage you find the time to also read through the posts of my colleagues who have made incredible contributions to UNESCO’s mission of building peace, eradicating poverty, and bolstering sustainable development and intercultural dialogue.

In signing off one last time as a 2019 representative of the GW UNESCO Chair in International Education for Development, it is my goal to provide information on my assignments at UIL, recommendations to future GW Fellows who may be placed in Hamburg, as well as an attempt to summarize my reflections into a closing paragraph.

UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, located in the Rotherbaum District


In my first entry, “Furthering educational equity for disadvantaged groups”, I highlighted my major tasks of assessing biennial progress reports of member cities of the Global Network of Learning Cities (GNLC) and supporting the preparation of the fourth International Conference on Learning Cities (ICLC’19) taking place in Medellín. These assignments were ongoing and presented my team with numerous undertakings throughout my time at UIL.

For example, my counterpart Maria Clara and I frequently revisited the progress reports of ~170 GNLC member cities to determine strengths, weaknesses, and common themes. Our analyses helped the GNLC Coordination Team determine its newest short- and long-term strategies which will be disseminated later this year. Moreover, our reports allowed the Coordination Team to establish prevalent topics to be presented on at ICLC’19.

Once topics and themes were established for the plenary agenda of ICLC’19, I was tasked with undergoing an expansive and thorough literature review to identify researchers in the fields of lifelong learning, adult education, and non-formal education who focused on youth at risk (NEETs), migrants and refugees, digitally excluded populations, and people living in slums and deprived neighborhoods. Invitations to present at ICLC’19 were later sent to recommended researchers.

In my final weeks, I was able to branch out from the GNLC Coordination Team to support the Monitoring, Assessment and Learning Team in their evaluation of the UIL Fellowship Programme for Adult Learning and Education. The International Conferences on Adult Education (CONFINTEA) Fellows participate in an intense one-month training program that will ultimately help them design a national strategy on adult learning education to be presented to their responsible government minister upon their return. I was very pleased to wrap up my fellowship the same way I started it with the evaluation of international development programs.


  1. Sightseeing
    • Hamburg is an easy city to navigate with its public transportation and there is plenty to see. From the Rathaus to the Reeperbahn, the city has something to offer for everyone. If the weather permits (which it rarely does in Hamburg), you can find an afternoon to relax alongside the Inner and Outer Alster Lakes. There are boat tours of the Port of Hamburg that allow you to get on and off as you please to find a beach to relax on. I also recommend checking out at least a couple of museums, such as Miniatur Wunderland and the International Maritime Museum.
  2. Food
    • Germany is known for their sausage, but I am here to tell you 99% of these “würste” are glorified hot dogs. Instead, do as I did and eat falafel dürüms every single day because they are always delicious, always healthy, and always cheap (~4€). Or you can heed the advice I ignored from basically everyone who said you can’t survive on solely falafel dürüms and check out Hamburg’s abundance of sandwich shops as well as the variety of international options.
    • Specifically around UIL, there is a street market every Thursday which has an incredible selection to choose from for lunch. The University of Hamburg is only a couple blocks away and its cafeteria has three main courses to choose from each day. The best falafel dürüm in town is just one block away at Bona We.
  3. Exercise
    • Hochschulsport Hamburg is a network of gyms and athletic facilities throughout the city. Membership is 50€/month at a training room just down the street from UIL that has weight and cardio machines, as well as power lifting courses.
    • CrossFit is very popular in Hamburg and there are ‘boxes’ in many neighborhoods. I joined the Hammerbrook Box which offers some intense workouts and a great community.
I will never forget you, Falafel Dürüm…


“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,
Summer 2019 marks one of the greatest achievements in my career working for a United Nations agency. It also marks the passing of my father.

it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,
I will forever be grateful for the knowledge I have acquired, but will always have remorse for the occasional apathy I subsided to.

it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,
I found God in Ireland. I grappled with grief in Spain.

it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness,
I found myself immersed in love and support by so many, but still stumbled over insecurities that are long overdue to be cast out.

it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
I realized life will always be beautiful, but it will never be easy.

Kyle is a Master’s candidate at The George Washington University’s International Education Program. His research concentrates on the (re)integration of migrants, refugees, and other disenfranchised populations into educational settings as well as the methodological foundations for assessing and evaluating international development programs.

Citizenship, democracy, and education

Hello again from Santiago, where it is almost springtime and my time in Chile is sadly coming to a close! I’d like to echo my colleagues in thanking you for keeping up with us these past few months; I know I have enjoyed getting to read about everyone’s work and adventures.

My work since I last wrote has been a lot of support planning future meetings, namely the capacity-building workshop on global citizenship education (GCED) and rule of law I wrote about in my last blog, and a series of workshops on GCED we’ll be holding in the fall in a few Caribbean countries. There’s a lot going on for GCED through the end of the year with many different meetings and convenings to help build a regionally-contextualized vision of GCED, and target 4.7 as a whole, going into 2020.

The pasantes from UNESCO Santiago in Valparaíso, Chile

One of my favorite things I’ve gotten to do since I’ve been in Chile was attend, with a delegation of UNESCO staff, a book release event at the Universidad de Chile on a joint initiative between the Universidad de Chile’s center for the study of teaching, Saberes Docentes, and the Ministry of Education of El Salvador on citizenship education in Chile and El Salvador. The project was twofold, involving a teacher exchange for professional development where Salvadoran teachers spent time in Chilean classrooms, as well as a study of the exchange of experiences and pedagogical methodologies for citizenship education between the two countries.

Ambassador of El Salvador to Chile Víctor Manuel Valle speaks at the book launch

Chile and El Salvador see many similarities between their countries — they’re both relatively new democracies, emerging from military regimes, and expressed that they’re still learning what it means exactly to be citizens in their new democratic contexts. Educators in both countries are still working through what should be the role of memory in education, particularly when it comes to recent and divisive history. It was a fascinating conversation to be able to witness. A favorite quote of the evening, that I think is relevant beyond Chile and El Salvador’s cases, came from Dr. Carlos Ruiz, the Dean of the Department of Philosophy and Humanities at the Universidad de Chile; he said, “la democracia no es herencia, cada generación la tiene que construir de nuevo” — democracy isn’t inherited, each generation has to build it anew.

The big news at OREALC/UNESCO Santiago this past week has been the convening of two major meetings: the Regional Steering Committee and the Regional Education Forum. The Regional Steering Committee is a group of representatives from Ministries of Education in Latin America and the Caribbean and other high-level organizations, such as CARICOM (the Caribbean Community), who help keep the region on track to complete the goals of UNESCO’s Education 2030 Agenda. The Regional Education Forum gathers experts in the region, and this year’s meeting had a focus of “Education Beyond Borders,” the right to education for young people in situations of mobility. It’s been all hands on deck with both efforts so, though I’m not directly involved, it was a busy past few days translating presentations and providing other meeting support.

Over a recent holiday weekend, I was able to take advantage of some connections I have in the north of Chile to visit the Atacama desert and the Coquimbo region. Chile has stunning natural sights and absolutely every type of landscape we have on Earth (and beyond — being at 2600m altitude above the clouds at the Paranal Observatory was like being on Mars!), so I was glad to make it out of Santiago for a bit to get to know more of the country.

With GW UNESCO Fellow Renny in Viña del Mar, Chile

In closing, I have to agree with Dave that this experience has exceeded the wildly high expectations I had of it. Getting to spend three months working for UNESCO has changed my outlook on so many things, including future work I would be interested in pursuing, and I am so grateful for the experience. This has been an unforgettable few months and I’ll be heading home with some incredibly interesting professional experiences, new friends and mentors, and some classic Chilean experiences under my belt (namely, Chilean slang and a temblor or two).

Thank you again for following along, and a huge thank you to everyone who works to make the GW UNESCO Fellows program possible.

Maggie is a Master’s candidate in International Education with a focus on global citizenship education, citizenship education, and international student exchange.

Back in Bangkok

Welcome back to Bangkok! Thanks for checking back in with me and my fellow Fellows, I hope you have enjoyed reading about their work and adventures abroad as much as I have. 

Things have started to get quite busy for me here in Bangkok over the past month as our conference is quickly approaching. I am still primarily assisting in preparations for the The 6th International Conference on Language and Education and the 13th Language and Development Conference which is occurring 24-26 September. Over the last few weeks, I have been focused on working out some logistics, particularly preparing the first draft of the conference programme which I finally completed and is now live on our website! I have learned just how much goes into scheduling and organizing a conference of this magnitude (hint: it’s a lot of work). I will also be responsible for making necessary adjustments and finalizing the schedule within the next few weeks as well as preparing all the abstracts for uploading to the website, confirming registration with participants, and general logistics related to the conference. 

The real MVPs of the officethe other interns are ok, too

I have also been helping with the High-level Policy Forum on Multilingual Education that is scheduled to occur on the second day of the conference. We have invited high level officials and ministers from the Ministries of Education in Asia Pacific in order to share best practices and existing challenges, discuss efforts to integrate mother tongue-based multilingual education (MTB MLE) in national SDG 4 plans and monitor SDG indicator 4.5.2, and create regional recommendations for MTB MLE. 

In addition to the conference, I have been contributing to a paper on MLE and equity in assessments for The Network on Education Quality Monitoring in the Asia-Pacific (NEQMAP), working on an OpEd celebrating International Literacy Day (this year’s theme is Literacy and Multilingualism!), and assisting with work related to financing mechanisms for Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE). 

In between all that work, I have also been able to get a little traveling in and a lot of eating. I spent a holiday weekend in July island hopping in Krabi. I am not much of a beach person but that trip might just have made me a convert. If you are ever in Thailand, go to Krabi. And eat massaman. And a mango smoothie. Delicious. I also just happened to get back to Bangkok a few hours ago from Kanchanaburi, which is known for the Death Railway of World War II (perhaps better known as the Bridge over the River Kwai) and beautiful national parks and waterfalls. 


Erawan falls, Kanchanaburi

I’ve got a few days of work to get through this week then I am heading to Ho Chi Minh and Phu Quoc, Vietnam, for a few days of fun and exploring. Outside of traveling, I have also been trying out new places to eat around Bangkok, enjoying the pool, and attending a few outdoor exercise classes (although existing in this humidity feels like enough of a workout). After two months, I finally feel like I am settling in and adjusting to my new surroundings. It took a little longer than I anticipated but I have three months left to enjoy and bask in the comfort of my new routine. 

I am looking forward to getting to do a bit more traveling, having some friends from back home visit, and, last but certainly not least, seeing what exciting adventures await me at UNESCO Bangkok. 

Brynn is a Master’s candidate in International Education with a focus on multilingual education and linguistically marginalized populations.

TVET, AE, and EiE, oh my!

Another week another update. Thank you for your continued support and patronage of the GW UNESCO Fellows Blog. I hope our journeys have helped give you a glimpse into UNESCO’s diverse work around the world. It still amazes me to read about the range and scope of projects for which our respective offices are responsible.

Over the last month, I have been fortunate to receive encouragement from my Head of Office to dig into the various areas of interest for UNESCO in Myanmar. Participating in meetings and events with the CapED team has given me opportunities to learn about Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), Alternative Education (AE), Education in Emergencies (EiE) and much more.

I attended the World Youth Skills Day competition, held by the Yangon Government Technical Institute. There young people from across the country showcased their skills acquired at TVET institutions through projects aimed to address critical issues facing Myanmar. The Government of Myanmar is working to equipping youth with 21st-Century skills that will be essential in building a more sustainable future for the country, reforming the TVET sector is a key component in this endeavour. Read more about the capacity development work UNESCO is doing in this sector here.

Within the AE sub-sector UNESCO Myanmar doesn’t specifically play a role, however UNESCO Bangkok, as the Mekong Cluster Office representative, does get involved and the CapED team is asked to attend Ministry meetings from time to time. I was able to sit in on the 9th Alternative Education Sub-Sector Working Group along with ministry officials and education development partners. Alternative Education is particularly important in countries where children lack access to tradition, formal education due to obstacles such as poverty or armed conflict.

I also furiously took meeting minutes at the Education Development Partners Coordination Group (EDPCG) meeting at the end of the month. Discussions revolved around the Inclusive Access and Quality Education project, the state of EiE in the country, and the next meeting of the Education & TVET Sector Coordinating Group (ETVSCG), among other topics. Observing these various functions has helped me appreciate better the roles of different stakeholders at the intersection of education and development in Myanmar.

On Fridays, I started heading to the Center of Excellence for Business Skills Development, managed by UNESCO in collaboration with the Yangon University of Economics. There I assist another UNESCO fellow in teaching English classes with a business focus. Last week we worked on making appointments using both formal and informal language. This week we will go over email correspondence.

Outside of UNESCO, I had the chance to travel to one of Myanmar’s famous holy sites, Kyiakthiyo Pagoda or Golden Rock Pagoda. I joined a group of my colleagues and Yangon University students in hiking 12 miles to a small pagoda that sits atop a gold-painted bolder sitting precariously over a cliff. The two-day trek was a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and recharge my batteries.

While many of the UNESCO Fellows are wrapping up their time abroad and preparing for a final year of graduate school, I am excited to have four months left in this position still. Over the remaining months, I can continue posting snippets of my experience for those who are interested.

Stephanie is a Master’s candidate in Global Communication with a focus on Public Diplomacy and China at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs.


Thank you for coming back to check the progress of all the GW UNESCO Fellows. It has been an amazing summer for all of us! As for myself, the past month has seen a lot of updates. After some leadership transitions, I have settled in to life at the office. I also visited the Dead Sea and took a short trip to Portugal for a friend’s wedding.

Outside the education unit’s office

In my previous post, I mentioned that I would be supporting the country plan for UNESCO Strategic Framework for Education in Emergencies in the Arab Region (2018-2021). For this, I analyzed old and current project documents to see how they aligned to the strategic framework. This was time consuming due to the seemingly endless number of active projects and project proposals. It was a challenge to verify projects actually implemented and to locate the final reports or evaluations (if conducted) for each one. After a good bit of leg work, I think I’m finally ready to start the second part of this project, writing the country plan. Unfortunately, I do not know if I will be in the office when it is actually printed, but the previous country plan can be found here as an example of what it will look like.

Ministry and UNESCO officials at the signing of the annual work plan for the systems strengthening project

For a second project, I contributed to the mid-term report that is looking at the successes, gaps in programming, and future projects that align with the UNESCO Arab Region Educational Support Strategy. Much like the other project I am working on, this has required a lot of sifting through project documents, both past and current, to see how they align with the strategic aims of the support strategy. Luckily, UNESCO has a thorough reporting system. Most reports in this system outline how they support regional and global frameworks and, in some cases, the specific strategic goal it aligns with. I have since been able to complete a table outlining how UNESCO Amman’s projects contribute to the strategy and sent it off to the Regional office in Beirut for incorporation in the mid-term report.

While those are my two main tasks, they are by no means the only things I have been doing. In early July, I attended one day of a five day workshop conducted by IIEP in Irbid, Jordan. The workshop was for the field directorates and focused on the role of OpenEMIS, Jordan’s Education Management Information System, for strategic planning. This was a very hopeful workshop as the participants were very engaged and asking a lot of thoughtful questions related to the particular needs of their districts. I also helped interview a few of the experts UNESCO plans to place in the MoE in support of the System Strengthening Partnership with Jordan’s Ministry of Education that was launched on July 15th. In mid-August, I will attend a two-day workshop that will outline how to use the WebGIS tool for school maintenance planning and monitoring. This workshop is in support of another UNESCO project, Technical Assistance for the EMIS System and WebGIS tool for the School Maintenance System, Standards and Procedures.

Participants at the IIEP strengthening strategic education sector planning and management capacities workshop in Irbid, Jordan

While I have not found much time to get out of Amman, I did finally make it to the Dead Sea! I can attest to the saltiness of the water and rejuvenating effects on your skin from covering yourself in the mud. The dried salt also makes quite a nice foot scrub! In early June I went to Fuheis, a town just outside of Amman, to do some climbing!

Floating in the Dead Sea!
Climbing at a nearby crag in Fuheis

I am looking forward to my last month in Amman. I have learned a great deal already and am hoping for a very productive, informative, and exciting 23 more days of work!

Justin is a Master’s candidate in International Education with a focus on education in emergencies (EiE) and monitoring and evaluation (M&E).

Some Closing Thoughts from The City of Light

Is it even a blog involving Paris without an Eiffel Tower picture?

While I knew that a summer spent working at the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) in Paris would present me with a host of unique opportunities, I think my time here has actually exceeded my lofty expectations. From the people I have had a chance to meet and work with to the exciting projects I have collaborated on and contributed to, this position could not have offered a better opportunity for personal and professional growth. Plus, I would just be deceitful if I didn’t mention that Paris is a pretty interesting place to spend a summer exploring a wide array of unique experiences. Unfortunately, my three months here are rapidly approaching their conclusion. While I’m certainly sad to go, it does present a good opportunity to reflect on all the things I’ve done this summer.

Things I’ll miss: sunsets on the Seine…
…IIEP lunches…

As mentioned in my previous entry, I ended up working on two separate projects during my time at IIEP. I summarized the first project involving teacher careers in my first blog, so check back if you’ve forgotten what that entailed. I’ve continued  working on this project throughout the summer (and will continue for a while longer in the fall with a short-term consultancy!), but with an expanded role than what I previously discussed. Initially, I mainly contributed smaller documents on the periphery of the project (briefs, author bios and short summarized snippets). As the summer progressed though, I became more and more integrated into the team by writing, editing, and collaborating on the final, multi-chapter synthesis. Collaboration sessions for this work proved one of my favorite parts of the internship, as three of us would sit and discuss the drafts of chapters and look at what they lacked and where we wanted them to go. It gave me incredible insight into the writing and editing process and a better understanding of the long road to publishing such a complex document. I cannot wait to see the finished product by the end of the year!

…random parks….
…my sprawling workspace…

For my other project focus, it actually changed from the teachers of refugees study that I had intended to contribute to initially. Already with a full team working on that, it seemed better that I contribute to the development of an annual report highlighting all the projects IIEP is doing in conjunction with the EU’s Service for Foreign Policy Instruments. This allowed me to gain a broad overview of the work the Institute is doing towards conflict and disaster risk reduction to include regional workshops, in-country trainings, distance courses, and more. I talked to half a dozen people who have worked in three countries (Burkina Faso, Jordan, and Kenya) for the program about their roles and contributions. While contributing to an important document, I also had a chance to broaden my network at IIEP and get a better understanding of bigger picture planning strategies.

.. and after work intern picnics.

Luckily, IIEP also offers numerous other opportunities for connection and collaboration. Once a month, the Research and Development team hosts “Research Monday”, where an intern or junior member of the team gets the chance to present a short presentation on some topic that interests them or that they have researched previously. For July, I presented a paper on the privatization of the education system in Haiti, which I had written a group paper for previously and has special personal interest. While the presentation itself went well, the follow-on conversation was even better as several people in the Institute have worked with Haitian education either presently or in the past. Their insight to something I have thought about so much was a truly unique and special opportunity for me.

Photo from IIEP’s Advanced Training Program closing ceremony. Education officials from around the world participate in a Master’s level program of study that IIEP hosts annually.

Once again though, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention a few of the outside activities that living in Paris for a summer can offer. In case you’ve completely blocked out the sporting world for the last couple of months, the U.S. Women’s National Team successfully defended their World Cup title this summer. I got to go to two games, including the epic quarterfinal match against France in Paris. That turned out to be a pretty good night to be an American living in France! Other highlights include Bastille Day celebrations, picnics near the Eiffel Tower, river cruises with visiting friends from GW, and side adventures to Copenhagen and the Normandy coast. With the Tour de France coming to town tomorrow and a short jaunt to the French Alps planned before I go, I do not think I could have asked for a better summer.

In closing, I would just like to say how grateful I am for the opportunity to have participated in this program. While I will not miss the 104 stairs I walk every day to come or go from my apartment (yes, I counted them), nor will I complain to once again live somewhere with air conditioning or a clothes dryer, I will always look back fondly on my three months in Paris. I and all of the Fellows appreciate your continued interest in our work and experiences, and I hope you’ll continue reading this blog over the next several weeks as everyone reflects on their own growth and adventures from the summer. Au revoir… à la prochaine!

Fireworks capping the Bastille Day celebrations.

Dave is a Master’s candidate in International Education with a focus on education in development and a special interest in education in emergencies. If you would like to know more about his summer please follow him on Instagram.

El Derecho a la Educación

Bienvenidos! ¿Qué tal? I have been in Chile for almost three months, which means my pasantía (internship) is coming to an end. Much has happened since my last post, so first I want to take the time to thank you all for reading our placement experiences of the 2019 cohort!

Since my last post, most of my work has consisted of preparing for the Regional Forum “Education beyond borders: Regional solidarity for the guarantee of the right to education for people on the move.” The event will be held during my last week at the office, which is very soon. The forum is directed to ministerial authorities, academics, international organizations, and representatives of civil society of the highest technical level in the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region. The regional forum is an event to reflect and discuss on the important gaps/challenges that the regional processes of human mobility have implied to their host countries, such as presented in the 2019 GEM Report and the UNHCR – IOM Regional Road Map.

The forum will also present the UNESCO Regional Strategy for People on the Move, developed by the OREALC/UNESCO Santiago office, which identifies three priority areas in LAC: (1) planning and access to education systems; (2) inclusive educational and social environments; and (3) recognition of prior education and knowledge. Based on these priority areas, components and initiatives have been prioritized for their implementation. (UNESCO, 2019).

For the past three months, I supported the activities for the launch of the UNESCO Regional Strategy for People on the Move. When I first started here, I was assigned in translating some parts of the background paper, learning along the way as I translated more about the current regional state of refugees, migrants, asylees, and returnees in Latin America and the Caribbean.

My tasks have now transitioned to event planning. It is inspiring to be part of a team that is dedicated and has put a lot of hard work to make this event be an effective step towards SDG 4.

Currently, I am assisting the Education 2030 Agenda team with logistics such as overseeing the invitation list, creating invitations in both English and Spanish, coordinating with staff, drafting/translating the event concept note, and creating the panelist/moderator guides. I will also be attending this three day high-level forum, supporting both staff and participants.

Source: UNESCO Santiago Official Twitter; “The map
gathers experiences related to the strengthening
and development of #SocioemotionalLearning”

Besides assisting the regional forum, I am also working and providing technical assistance to the Regional Map of Social-emotional Education in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Melquin Ramos, a 2018 GW UNESCO Fellow, worked on this project last year — you can read more about his experience here! It is amazing seeing the GW UNESCO fellowship program come to a full circle and see past fellows’ work in action.

The purpose of the regional map is to encourage exchanges of information throughout the LAC region and map best practices in social-emotional learning (SEL). It also serves as a tool to inspire SEL practices in spaces that do not exist or need support.

The first working draft version of the map was presented at the 2019 UNESCO Forum on Education and Sustainable Development and Global Citizenship Education in Hanoi, Vietnam. I created the English version of this mapping tool as well as updated the database with any new information of the social-emotional experiences in the region. In order to control data and information gaps, I was responsible with following up with schools, local government agencies, NGOs, and Ministries of Education who participated in the open call registry of social-emotional practices. Through this process of collecting new information on SEL practices used in LAC, I have been able to practice my Portuguese when contacting our Brazilian representatives — Você já foi pro Brasil?

To conclude my final blog post, I want to reflect on my overall UNESCO fellowship experience. I have three weeks left in my placement at the OREALC/UNESCO Santiago office and it truly was a memorable experience. Learning more about the work UNESCO does and interning for this office strengthened my personal path to pursue a professional career in international development — more importantly, for me to continue to advocate for el derecho a la educación, the right to an education. I am grateful and honored for this opportunity to immerse myself in the beautiful city of Santiago and learn from my colleagues in the OREALC/UNESCO Santiago office this summer. 

Thank you so much for following along my journey! Please feel free to connect with me if you want to learn more about my experience at OREALC/UNESCO Santiago. ¡Adiós!

Renny is a Master’s candidate in International Education with a focus on conflict, security, and peacebuilding at the George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development.

Selamat Datang to Jakarta!

Halo semuanya! Thank you for visiting the GW UNESCO Fellows Blog! It has been 1 month and 15 days since I have arrived in Jakarta and I have to say, it is HOT! I should not be complaining about the hot weather since being raised in the Sunshine State of Florida. The timing of my arrival was at the end of Ramadan, where Muslims follow a religious tradition to fast and abstain from eating, drinking, and smoking during the holy month, which occurs in the month of May. As a country having the world’s largest Muslim community, many Indonesian residents traveled back to their families during the month of Ramadan, so the city was not too busy. 

Since this was my first time in Southeast Asia, I spent most of my days exploring around Jakarta. During those days, I was able to reconnect with my good friend, Matthew Brady, who was the 2018 GW UNESCO Fellow in the UNESCO Jakarta office. With his recommendations, I ventured out in Jakarta and learned about the history and culture of this wonderful and diverse country, while sweating from the hot weather and enduring the heavy traffic congestion (Matt was not kidding!). I also enjoy the food here, which is very delicious and unique. There are various street food vendors around Jakarta. Their popular dishes consist of Nasi Goreng (traditional Indonesian fried rice), Es Podeng (traditional Indonesian dessert), and many more. As a food lover with no limits, I have tried eating duck liver to cow brains and most notably roasted crickets, yum! As an open-minded individual, who likes to visit new places and try to eat exotic food, I was able to adapt easily to a new culture and felt more confident to adjust a new lifestyle in Indonesia.

Well that is it for my post. I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience in Indonesia!

Just kidding! Why would I not highlight my experience in the UNESCO Jakarta office!

My first month working in the UNESCO Regional Science Bureau for Asia and the Pacific in Jakarta has been exciting and inspirational. UNESCO Jakarta office is recognized as a cluster office covering all UNESCO mandates of Education, Sciences, Culture, Communication and Information for the implementation of related programs in Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Timor Leste. Their commitments toward improving water and sanitation management and education for climate mitigation and adaptation has made the office well known as the Regional Bureau for Science, hence why I chose Jakarta as my top preference.

During my fellowship, I support the Director Office through assisting the Japan Funds-in-Trust (JFIT) and Malaysia Fund-in-Trust (MFIT) program. My first assignment was to work on the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Innovation (SETI) for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Scorecard for the Asia-Pacific Facility for Accelerating Science and Technology (AP-FAST) Regional Workshop. During the productive three days, representatives from the local and national government of the cluster countries came together to discuss their past, current, and on-going projects by using the SETI for SDGs Scorecard to align with specific SDGs, Targets, and SETI-related Indicators. Representatives who attended the AP-FAST Regional Workshop traveled from Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and Timor Leste. During the workshop, I led my first session on presenting the guidelines on using the SETI for SDGs Scorecard. I also assisted in training the participants on placing their projects into the scorecard. I enjoyed attending the workshop, especially being surrounded by people who want to understand the SDGs and include them as part of their own agenda. I believe this experience has enhanced my professional development and build great connections with the participants through learning about their projects on how it will benefit their communities and get into the right path towards achieving the SDGs.

Although I have not been getting into projects involving my interest in Environmental and Sustainability Education, my time in the UNESCO Jakarta office has been a productive and excellent learning experience with the UNESCO staff and interns.

Director Office Team

As of today, my tasks are supporting the Coordinators in the JFIT and MFIT program for the upcoming Malaysia-UNESCO Cooperation Program (MUCP) Post-Expert Synthesis Meeting in early August and the Science to Enable and Empower Asia Pacific for Sustainable Development Goals II (SEE-AP for SDGs II) in mid-September. My current responsibilities involve developing MUCP and SEE-AP for SDGs II program booklets, writing a script for an official MUCP video, and assisting the JFIT and MFIT Coordinators on revising the program agendas. There are more to share about the JFIT and MFIT programs, but I will save it for my next post. Thanks again for checking out the GW UNESCO Fellowship blog! I highly encourage you all to visit the blog periodically as I and my colleagues will have more to share on our exciting experience in the UNESCO offices throughout the summer. Sampai jumpa lagi!

Jonathan is a Master's candidate in International 
Education with a focus on Environmental and
Sustainability Education and Climate Change Education.

Sawadee Ka from Bangkok!

Greetings from Bangkok! Thank you for visiting the GW UNESCO Fellows blog and following our journeys.

I am just finishing up my first month here in Bangkok, trying to settle into my new normal and adjust to work at the UNESCO Bangkok office. Bangkok is both a Cluster office, which helps to implement programs in the Mekong countries, and the Regional Bureau for Education, with work extending far outside just Thailand. What all this means for me is that I am learning a lot about how UNESCO works in both Thailand and the entire Asia Pacific region.

Welcome to UNESCO Bangkok!

I am working within the Inclusive Quality Education (IQE) sector (one of two education sectors within UNESCO Bangkok), and my primary role is to support the multilingual education (MLE) team, which advocates for mother tongue-based multilingual education programs and policies. With large populations migrating, whether it be forced or driven by economic or education factors, promoting linguistic diversity is more critical than ever, especially in a region that represents half of the world’s languages. UNESCO believes the key to unlocking SDG 4 is through mother tongue-based education because quality education is only possible when it reflects the diverse multi-linguistic nature of our world. The Bangkok office has published some really amazing work on the power of mother tongue-based learning that is worth a read! I ran across a number of these publications during my own research on multilingual education back home and it has been fun to get my hands on the physical copies.

Some light reading for Day 1 at the office

As a cheerleader of the IQE team, I not only sing their praises to anyone who will listen but I also am assisting in the organization of both the 6th International Conference on Language and Education and the High-level policy forum on MLE, both happening in September. These events are the reason I am staying a bit longer than some of the other fellows; instead of the traditional three months, I will be in my fellowship for five so that I can attend the conference. What I love most about helping out with this event is getting to know all the partner organizations, such as the British Council, SIL International, UNICEF, and Save the Children. Not only am I learning from and working with the great people at UNESCO but I also get the chance to interact with all these other amazing organizations as we all work towards the achieving the same goal.  

One of my more exciting assignments has been helping to develop the abstract for UNESCO’s presentation during the conference. We will be exploring how the different sectors incorporate language into their programs. This means I have had the chance to meet with and talk to other departments about their current projects. While my sector will cover the education aspect, we will also be bringing in Culture, Communication and Information, and Social and Human Sciences to share their input on how language influences their work. It has been really interesting to hear what other departments are working on as it can be a little too easy to get wrapped up in my own work in education and forget just how far UNESCO’s reach extends. 

I usually eat my food too fast to get a blog worthy photo

Outside of work, I fill my time by being overwhelmed by this city. There is so much to do and see and EAT. To be honest, I do not have a lot of experience with Thai food and I struggle with anything too spicy, but there are so many types of dishes to try that I feel like I will never run out of new and exciting options.  Eating in Thailand feels like a full time job, it requires a lot of my attention.

I have also been trying to see as much of the city and surrounding area as I can, which can be a little difficult thanks to Bangkok’s notoriously horrible traffic. Last weekend, I avoided the roads and hopped on a train to Ayutthaya, one of the ancient capitals of the Kingdom of Siam-it was the perfect day trip!

Elephant pants are a must for any tourist (as is Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Ayutthaya)

I also spend a lot of time trying to avoid the humidity and rain, which is no easy feat. My time here perfectly coincides with monsoon season, which means I can expect high humidity and a lot of rain. One good way to escape Bangkok’s tropical weather is to shop. This city forces you to like shopping not only because there are endless high-end shopping malls with some pretty amazing food courts and free air conditioning but also because Bangkok is home to the world’s largest weekend market, Chatuchak. I could go to this market every weekend and still not see everything it has to offer. 

I did not realize how eventful my first month in Bangkok was until I sat down to write this post. I can only hope the next four months bring more adventure, learning opportunities, and food. Until next time- Sawadee Ka!

Brynn is a Master’s candidate in International Education with a focus on multilingual education and linguistically marginalized populations.