Education transforms lives and is at the heart of UNESCO’s mission to build peace, eradicate poverty and drive sustainable development.
To achieve this mission, UNESCO makes use of ´chairs´ linked to a university. In 2017, such a UNESCO chair has been established at Gulu University, Uganda, with professor Jacques Zeelen, at the time working at the University of Groningen, as chair holder on Lifelong Learning, Youth and Work. In this capacity, professor Zeelen initiated a network of researchers and practitioners to develop livelihood perspectives for young people in Uganda. The activities of the network culminate in an international conference on meaningful education and decent work for the youth in Eastern and Southern Africa. This (partly online) conference will take place in the end of April 2021 in Gulu and will form the background to the transfer of the chair responsibilities to Josje van der Linden.
Josje van der Linden currently works as assistant professor on Lifelong Learning at the department of Pedagogy and as a coordinator of external cooperation at the interfaculty institute Globalisation Studies Groningen (GSG). She has co-organised two summer schools on the theme of Youth, education and work in (post-)conflict areas, the first one in the University of Groningen, the second one in Gulu University. Working at Gulu University provided interesting possibilities for fieldwork as this university is located in a (post-)conflict area itself and has, young as it is, built strong ties with the surrounding communities. The two summer schools together have resulted in a peer reviewed book, available from the GSG website.
Josje van der Linden looks forward to organising and implementing activities to promote education and work opportunities for the youth in Uganda, accompanying them with research reflecting on the lessons learnt. She is happy to contribute to UNESCO’s mission building on an existing network with dedicated people and hopes the UNESCO chair will enrich the internationalisation component of the University of Groningen and Globalisation Studies Groningen in particular.
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