UNESCO chairs announce international symposium

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- When Mark Brennan became the UNESCO chair in rural community, leadership and youth development at Penn State in 2013, he articulated a call to action for groundbreaking research, teaching and applied programs for the betterment of young people and communities worldwide.

Today, Brennan and two of his fellow UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) chairs from Ireland announced a major event to further that agenda. The UNESCO Symposium on Youth Civic Engagement and Leadership through Sport and Recreation will be held Aug. 28 at Croke Park Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, in conjunction with the American football game between Penn State and the University of Central Florida, scheduled for Aug. 30 at the stadium.

"The symposium represents the scholarly commitment of Penn State and its partners in Ireland and Northern Ireland to advancing international youth development programs and policy," said Brennan, who worked closely with Pat Dolan, UNESCO chair on youth civic engagement at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG), and Alan Smith, UNESCO chair in pluralism, human rights and democracy at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland, to make their shared vision a reality.

"The active engagement and development of leadership skills among youth is essential to international security, stability, regional capacity building, and increased quality of life worldwide.  This symposium will bring together UNESCO chairs from across the globe, along with practitioners and members of development organizations, subject-matter experts, and youth leaders to showcase and exchange their experiences and best practices in this area."

Brennan, Dolan and Smith, who have worked together on development issues for many years, also are set to reveal a new Global Network of UNESCO Chairs on Children, Youth, and Community, bringing together six chairs, 50 universities and institutions and more than 400 individuals, across six continents.

Symposium attendees will work to develop a series of key program and policy suggestions and a declaration for youth development through sport. These will be presented to the United Nations, UNESCO and UNICEF to use as a as a platform for them to build global programming and policy.

The symposium also will help focus donor/funder attention and serve as a platform for UNESCO, Penn State, and NUIG development efforts at the event and after its conclusion.

For more information about the symposium, contact Brennan at unescochair@psu.edu or visit http://unescochair.psu.edu/croke-park-symposium online.

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Last Updated June 12, 2014