Nottingham professor appointed to prestigious role at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

Thursday, 22 December 2022

Professor Juliet Thondhlana, of the University of Nottingham, has been appointed as the UNESCO Chair in International Education and Development.

UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. It contributes to peace and security by promoting international cooperation in education, sciences, culture, communication and information.

As chair, Professor Thondhlana will focus on the key role of higher education in the field of international education and development.

Professor 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 Zimbabwe’s national policy on the internationalisation of higher education and its national doctoral training framework.

She has been invited to provide expert support for the internationalisation of higher education initiatives of partner institutions, including Erbil Polytechnic University, Kurdistan and the Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education.

Dr Juliet Thondhlana
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.
Juliet Thondhlana, Professor of International Education and Development in the School of Education at the University of Nottingham

Juliet has also been a member of editorial boards of high-impact journals including Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, and the Journal of Cross-Cultural Communication.

Juliet is co-convenor of the Centre for International Education Research (CIER) in the University of Nottingham’s School of Education, 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’s 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.  

The announcement of the new UNESCO Chair for Professor Thondhlana represents an incredible triumph that recognises her leadership and expertise in the area of international education and development. This designation is in many ways a culmination of her many years of hard work and achievement across her research and teaching activities in the School of Education. I am delighted that Professor Thondhlana has been recognised in this way and I know that she will make an invaluable contribution to the work of UNESCO.
Professor Todd Landman, Pro-Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Social Sciences

The research community that Professor Thondhlana will lead, can contribute to achieving the following UN Sustainable Development Goals:

  • 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.

Priorities for the Chair include to:

  • Identify and coordinate activities that will give colleagues working in diverse disciplines opportunities to enhance current research/projects on international education and development through internationalisation
  • Facilitate collaboration to strengthen institutional capacities of higher education, policy makers and civic society in the theory and practice of internationalisation of higher education under the banner of international education and development
  • Facilitate knowledge transfer on policy development and operationalisation in IHE focused education and development via existing and new international networks,
  • 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,
  • Facilitate and support publications and research collaborations.

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More information is available from Professor Juliet Thondhlana in the School of Education at the University of Nottingham at

Katie Andrews - Media Relations Manager for the Faculty of Social Sciences
Phone: 0115 951 5751

Notes to editors:

About the University of Nottingham

Ranked 32 in Europe and 16th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings: Europe 2024, the University of Nottingham is a founding member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience, and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement.

Nottingham was crowned Sports University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024 – the third time it has been given the honour since 2018 – and by the Daily Mail University Guide 2024.

The university is among the best universities in the UK for the strength of our research, positioned seventh for research power in the UK according to REF 2021. The birthplace of discoveries such as MRI and ibuprofen, our innovations transform lives and tackle global problems such as sustainable food supplies, ending modern slavery, developing greener transport, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

The university is a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally - and our graduates are the second most targeted by the UK's top employers, according to The Graduate Market in 2022 report by High Fliers Research.

We lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, a pioneering collaboration between the city’s two world-class institutions to improve levels of prosperity, opportunity, sustainability, health and wellbeing for residents in the city and region we are proud to call home.

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