The UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies celebrated the establishment of the new United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Chair in Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education Monday night at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

The new UNESCO chair was officially announced at a celebration marking the 70th anniversary of UNESCO and featured Director-General Irina Bokova. She was welcomed by UCLA Chancellor Gene Block and introduced by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The UNESCO Chair in Global Learning and Global Citizenship Education will advance the work being done at the UCLA to understand and improve global learning and citizenship and its importance in protecting the environment. As part of this effort, the UCLA Lab School and the UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability will work on developing a new initiative in children’s environmental education.

“We are very pleased to join with UNESCO in celebrating their 70th anniversary and honored to partner with them in seeking to achieve their goals of global sustainability through the promotion of global education and citizenship,” said Wasserman Dean Marcelo Suárez-Orozco of the graduate school of education.

Todd Cheney/UCLA
Global philanthropist and education leader Courtney Sale Ross

“Improving global education and citizenship is critical to reducing poverty and inequality and key to protecting the environment. This new collaboration will greatly boost the efforts of UCLA to bring global citizenship education to a new level of excellence, rigor and relevance,” Suárez-Orozco added.

UCLA professor Carlos Alberto Torres, who has extensive expertise in the political sociology of education and international and comparative education, will serve as the inaugural UNESCO chair. The new chair will promote an integrated system of research, training, information and documentation on global learning and global citizenship education and foster excellence and innovation in research and practice. He will also facilitate collaboration between high-level, internationally recognized researchers and the teaching staff at UCLA and other institutions across the globe.

"It is a great honor to serve as the inaugural UNESCO chair at UCLA,” said professor Torres. “This work is of critical importance, and I look forward to collaborating with our UNESCO partners to place global citizenship education at the forefront of teaching and learning the world over.”

At the event, global philanthropist and education leader Courtney Sale Ross was honored as the inaugural recipient of the UCLA Global Citizen Award, which recognizes individuals making a transformational change for children through visionary leadership in education in the global era.  

“Courtney Sale Ross is a true pioneer championing transformational change,” said Suárez-Orozco. “Ahead of her peers, she has recognized that preparing all students to meet the challenges of the 21st century requires an entirely new education model. We greatly admire her leadership in global learning and are honored to recognize her groundbreaking efforts.”