Chief of UNESCO Higher Education Section spearheads Cuba’s 7th Workshop for UNESCO Chairs

Paulina González-Pose, Chief of the Higher Education Section at UNESCO, attended Cuba’s 7th Workshop for UNESCO Chairs, held in Havana on 13 June, 2013, where presentations were made to summarise the year’s main activities for the country’s nine academic chairs, and work plans set out for the coming months.

González-Pose, who was in the country on an official visit in order to take part in the meeting, discussed the organization’s priorities in the field of higher education, highlighting relevant public policy debates, the use of education technologies, and the internationalisation of processes to accredit the quality of academic programmes in a context marked by increasing mobility of students between countries.

She also presented a general overview of the current structure and status of the university education twinning and networking programme (UNITWIN) and UNESCO Chairs, discussing the prevalence of these schemes in Europe and North America, and talking about issues linked to the natural sciences.

González-Pose concluded that there is a pressing need to increase the reach of these programmes into the world of higher education in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, to diversify the topics covered, and to increase connectivity between UNESCO’s 766 chairs spread across 134 countries, as a way of continuing to promote research, training, and the development of programmes across the Organization’s entire remit.

The workshop also served to present the new web portal for Cuba’s UNESCO Chairs, an online space to aid in managing the information generated by the country’s nine such chairs and to boost collaboration, both between the Cuban academics involved and with their peers around the world. 

The event, which this year was dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the creation of the UNESCO Chair network on the island, was also chaired by Miriam Alpízar, Vice-Rector of the Cuban Ministry of Higher Education, and featured presentations by Juan Antonio Fernández, the chairman of the Cuban National Commission for UNESCO (CNCU); Herman van Hooff, the director of the UNESCO Regional Bureau of Culture for Latin America and the Caribbean; Elvira Martín, who coordinates the country’s Network of UNESCO Chairs; and Humberto Grimaldo-Durán, director of the Observatory on Social Responsibility in Latin America and the Caribbean (ORSALC).

The meeting was also attended by specialists from CNCU and the UNESCO Office in Havana, as well as representatives from other universities in the country with an interest in bolstering the creations of further UNESCO chairs in the near future.

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