On United Nations Day, Ireland’s two UNESCO Chairs, Professor Alan Smith of the University of Ulster, and Professor Pat Dolan of the National University of Ireland, Galway celebrate the progress and achievements of their partnership through the UNESCO Chairs UNITWIN Programme. United Nations Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the United Nations Charter. 24th October has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948.
UNESCO is known as the “intellectual” agency of the United Nations. At a time when the world is looking for new ways to build peace and sustainable development, people must rely on the power of intelligence to innovate, expand their horizons and sustain the hope of a new humanism. UNESCO exists to bring this creative intelligence to life; for it is in the minds of men and women that the defences of peace and the conditions for sustainable development must be built.
As members of the UNESCO international education network, UNESCO Chair holders are encouraged to act as ‘bridge builders’ by establishing and sustaining dynamic links between the academic world, civil society, local communities, research and policy making. The partnership between Ireland’s two UNESCO Chairs in the Children and Youth Programme is an example of bridge building in action. Through cooperation and joint advocacy the Programme is a crucial part of each Chairs work, providing timely and accessible reports on a range of education issues of critical importance to policy makers and stakeholders in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
Using a multidisciplinary framework the Programme draws upon the knowledge and expertise of researchers from a wide range of disciplines on issues affecting children and youth.
To date the Programme has published five reports, and a sixth is due for publication in the coming weeks:
- A Rights‑Based Approach to Monitoring Children and Young People’s Well‑Being.
- Understanding Policy Development and Implementation for Children and Young People.
- Reviewing the Provision of Education for Young People in Detention: Rights, Research and Reflections on Policy and Practice.
- Capacity Building for Inclusion: The Role and Contribution of Special Needs Assistants and Classroom Assistants in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
- Education for Civic Engagement in Post‑primary Schools in Ireland and Northern Ireland: A Rights Perspective.
- Maternal Mental Health and Poverty: The Impact on Children’s Educational Outcomes
The Programme seeks to inform those working with, or on behalf of, children and youth across the island. Through the partnership the UNESCO Chairs contribute to improving the lives of children and youth, empowering them to engage fully in society, protected as rights holders and contributors. You can find out more about the Programme and access our reports at the dedicated programme website, www.childrenandyouthprogramme.info.
For more information on the work of the two UNESCO Centres please visit each centres dedicated website:
The UNESCO Centre at the University of Ulster, www.unescocentre.ulster.ac.uk
UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, http://www.childandfamilyresearch.ie/