UNESCO Chair on Globalising a Shared Education Model for Improving Relations in Divided Societies

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The UK National Commission for UNESCO’s case studies are a series of studies that focus on specific interactions between UNESCO’s programmes, designations and objectives and the UK

UNESCO Chair on Globalising a Shared Education Model for Improving Relations in Divided Societies


This case study is part of the 2020 Nation Value of UNESCO to the UK Report.

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The pursuit of peace forms the foundation of UNESCO and a cornerstone of the ambitious vision of the SDGs. The UNESCO Chair at Queen’s University Belfast is pioneering a trial model of shared education to break down barriers in countries transitioning from conflict to peace.

Led by Professor Joanne Hughes at Queen’s University Belfast, the Centre for Shared Education in the School of Education at Queen’s became a UNESCO Chair in 2016 and is working with Education Ministry officials and educational stakeholders in Northern Ireland, the Balkan Countries and Israel to further the development of shared education.

The Centre’s research has informed the Shared Education Act (2016) in Northern Ireland, and shared education is now embedded as a model for promoting education between Macedonian, Ethnic Albanian and other minority groups in North Macedonia (previously the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia).

With a grant from the Economic and Social Research Council’s Global Challenges Research Fund, the Centre has extended its work in the Balkan region, establishing an infrastructure that connects academics, practitioners, NGOs and policymakers across the diverse contexts of North Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia. The Centre has also begun working in partnership with Israeli teacher education colleges and universities to explore the possibilities for shared education among trainee teachers and joint research.

In addition to providing training and resources for teachers nationally and internationally, findings from qualitative research to assess the impact of the shared education model in Northern Ireland will be used to inform future projects.

This case study was a part of the 2020 National Value of UNESCO to the UK Report 

ISSN 2050-8212 (Print)

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The 2020 National Value for UNESCO to the UK Report & Programme

The National Value Report seeks to capture the economic and wider intangible value of the UK network of UNESCO designations. It finds that the network is adding significant value to our economy and society and recommends how this value can be enhanced.

The National Value of UNESCO Designations to the United Kingdom Report shows how UNESCO is bringing sites, people and communities together, and creating and delivering value for the United Kingdom. It finds that the vibrant network of UNESCO sites in the UK, its Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies are contributing in three main areas: they contribute financial value, they make a rich and creative contribution to the UK’s environment, culture and communities and contribute to the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

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The 2020 National Value for UNESCO to the UK Report & Programme Case Studies

The case studies that form this series illustrate these benefits to the UK that are contributed by the vibrant Network of UK UNESCO sites as found by the National Value Report; featuring financial value, academic research, environmentalism and climate change, promotion and preservation of culture, education and more.


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