United States of America

UNESCO Chair on Rural Community, Leadership, and Youth Development (1013), established in 2013 at the Pennsylvania State University (United States of America)


Rural community, leadership and youth development, community capacity-building, gender equality and education, social justice, economic development, natural resource/agricultural management and sustainable development.


The specific objectives of this Chair are to:

  • establish partnerships for research, teaching and outreach with institutions in developing nations, notably in Africa, with a view to building inclusive local community and leadership capacities as a basis for local
  • empowerment, gender equity, social inclusion, educational opportunities for women and girls and socio-economic advancement in the framework of the African Youth Strategy, with emphasis on Post-Conflict and Post-Disaster (PCPD) countries and on countries where there is social and human sciences work through Category II Centres, i.e. the Kinshasa Centre;
  • conduct, in cooperation with the partner institutions, a wide range of international comparative research (including qualitative and quantitative data, case studies, good practices) on community development, leadership, gender equity, youth empowerment, educational advancement for women and girls, economic development and agricultural development;
  • establish, with UNESCO’s partnership, a clearinghouse on statistical data indexes and indicators;
  • disseminate and share teaching materials and practice tools to enable leadership and capacity-building among rural youth and communities, notably through research application and outreach programme development; engage support and collaborate with emerging rural development, leadership and youth development scholars and practitioners; and, develop and deliver an on-line leadership and community development graduate certificate programme;
  • contribute to developing a UNESCO programme to address the empowerment and leadership training of youth (women and men) with disabilities;
  • formalize a sustainable international consortium on rural community and leadership development among young people, youth work professionals, NGOs and academics, and organize bi-annual gatherings to discuss critical issues related to community and youth development; conceptualize cutting-edge research projects; and apply emerging research into innovative and effective outreach programmes;
  • offer successful/peer reviewed projects to be adapted to other countries through UNESCO’s web page;
  • foster the international debate on rural community and youth development as an international policy issue; and,
  • cooperate closely with UNESCO on relevant programmes and activities.

Host Institution

The Pennsylvania State University (USA)

UNESCO Chair’s website

UNESCO Sector/Office responsible for the Chair/Network

Social and Human Sciences, UNESCO Office in New York


Contact: Prof. Dr Mark A. Brennan, UNESCO Chairholder

The Pennsylvania State University

204C Ferguson Building

University Park PA 16802


Phone: 814-863-0387

Fax: (814) 863-4753

E-mail: unescochair(at)psu.edu; mab187(at)psu.edu