School of Education

UNESCO Chair in International Education and Development

UNESCO Chair in International Education and Development

Juliet ThondhlanaProfessor Juliet Thondhlana

Professor Juliet Thondhlana has wide-ranging experience teaching, researching and publishing in the interlinked fields of the internationalisation of higher education, migration, doctoral training, policy development and decolonisation. She is lead editor of the ground-breaking Bloomsbury Handbook of the Internationalisation of Higher Education in the Global South.

Her educational policy development expertise and experience includes leading the development of the Zimbabwe national policy on the internationalisation of higher education and the Zimbabwe national doctoral training framework. She has been invited to act as expert advisor for the internationalisation of higher education in partner universities. She has sat on editorial boards of high impact journals including Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education and Journal of Cross-Cultural Communication.

Juliet is co-convenor of the Centre for International Education Research (CIER) in the School of Education, University of Nottingham, where members are engaged in diverse research that seeks to understand and enable informal and formal learning for the promotion of social and ecological justice, equality, citizenship, and democracy in international settings. She is also the school global engagement lead whose role includes developing, supporting and monitoring the effective implementation of the school’s global engagement strategy and reinforcing the embedding of global engagement/internationalisation activities across all academic activities in the school.  

I welcome this great opportunity to build on the University of Nottingham’s internationalisation strategy and our successful partnership with UNESCO to date, and together with colleagues, continue to make a significant contribution towards the achievement of UNESCO’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Professor Juliet Thondhlana

Chair focus: Internationalisation of higher education

Higher education institutions play a critical role in the creation and distribution of knowledge for tackling the array of complex global development challenges that society faces today. This role can be understood through the concept of the internationalisation of higher education (IHE).

The intentional process of integrating an international, intercultural or global dimension into the purpose, functions and delivery of post-secondary education, in order to enhance the quality of education and research for all students and staff and to make a meaningful contribution to society (de Wit et al., 2015: 29). 
UNESCO Chair logo

The current Chair will focus on the key role of higher education in the field of international education and development. The critical areas where the research community fostered through the UNESCO Chair can contribute to achieving the SDGs include:

  • Curriculum design that facilitates a global mindset, intercultural understanding and the role of education in fostering sustainable national and international development
  • Teacher training education
  • Understanding of local, national and global employment trends and implications for education, skills development and graduate employment
  • Student mobility, and the portability and recognition of qualifications across systems and industries

Given the colonial history of many countries in the global south it is critical to be aware that internationalisation in and through higher education is inevitably couched in colonial discourses and patterns of power and structure, but also, decolonial processes seeking to dismantle such structures. The University of Nottingham has developed an IHE strategy, and the School of Education is playing a central role in contributing to the university’s internationalisation agenda. The Chair will further support this strategy by leading the focus on international education and development, building on the work of the Chair, to date by bringing together a network of researchers in the School of Education and supporting and strengthening existing North-South, South-North and South-South research interactions.

Aim and goals of the Chair


The Chair aims to bring together key stakeholders from academia, research, industry, government, private sector, and United Nations agencies and civil society to develop strategic and impact-driven transdisciplinary solutions to drive systemic and sustainable change within the Global North and South education and development ecosystem, with a particular focus on Africa and Asia.


  1. Facilitate collaboration to strengthen institutional capacities of higher education, policy makers and civil society in the theory and practice of internationalisation of higher education under the banner of international education and development
  2. Facilitate knowledge exchange on policy development and community engagement in IHE focused education and development via existing and new international networks
  3. Identify and coordinate activities that will give colleagues working in diverse disciplines and different education levels/contexts opportunities to initiate and enhance research/teaching on international education and development through internationalisation (for example international partnerships/collaborations, international engagement (conferences/workshops), internationalising activities
  4. Facilitate and support diverse forms of publications, innovative teaching and other creative outputs
  5. Contribute to doctoral training and strengthening of supervisory capacity of international partners using virtual training and interactions, organising international workshops and seminars, facilitating North-South, South-South and South-North academic exchanges

UNESCO Chair Committee

The Chair will act as a coordinating entity for communities of researchers in the field of international development and education within the School of Education and beyond. The UNESCO Chair Committee supports the Chair in this work.

Further information about the work of UNESCO


School of Education

University of Nottingham
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