Chair in International Education and Development

University of Nottingham – Juliet Thondhlana

Home       >       Expert Network       >       Chairs

Good quality education is critical for sustainable development through creating knowledge, disseminating information and developing skills to provide solutions for the multiplicity of challenges facing humankind. This role can be facilitated through internationalisation. The University of Nottingham Chair in international education and development is working with key stakeholders in Global South contexts to develop capacities for ensuring the delivery of quality education that can impact the achievement of the SDGs.

Chair Themes




“We credit the success of our projects to active international partnerships which are multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary North-South, South-South and South-North in a clear show of the key role of internationalisation in enhancing the contribution of higher education to the UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030”

Professor Juliet Thondhlana

UNESCO Chairs are based within Institutes for Higher Education and specialise in specific research fields. They provide policy advice to the UK National Commission for UNESCO and HM government, as well as reviewing UNESCO applications.


Higher education is central to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development not only as a stand-alone target (SDG4, Quality Education) but also as a cross-cutting pillar for the realisation of all 17 goals. As higher education is now being conducted on the global stage, internationalisation has become significant for fostering quality education. Led by Professor Thondhlana, the University of Nottingham Chair in International Education and development team are forging strong multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary international collaborations and engagements with academics, practitioners, civic societies and policy makers in the Global South including Africa and Asia to conduct innovative research and development projects which tackle some of the multiple overlapping global challenges of our time.


The Chair’s work focuses on, among other key research and development areas: internationalisation and decolonisation; capacity strengthening in knowledge production and dissemination; curriculum design, teacher training and educational leadership training that facilitate a global mindset, intercultural understanding and global citizenship; understanding of local, national and global employment trends and implications for education, skills development and graduate employment; formal and informal TVET; student mobility, and the portability and recognition of qualifications across systems and industries; the role of education in the climate and public health emergencies; STEM education that takes on critical, decolonial and socio-political perspectives; comparative and international education; migration and refugee education.

The Chairholder, Juliet, has been involved in multiple IHE projects focused on education and development, such as,

1) internationalisation of higher education Policy Development and implementation She has supported the development of a national IHE policy for Zimbabwe to guide universities’ internationalisation initiatives and processes. She is also supporting the development and implementation of internationalisation of higher education strategy at Erbil Polytechnic University in Kurdistan, Iraq. Further, she is lead editor of the ground-breaking Bloomsbury Handbook of the Internationalization of Higher Education in the Global South which brings together Global South and Global North editors and contributors.

2) capacity strengthening in knowledge production and dissemination She has co-organised and run a British Academy sponsored writing workshop “Writing for Sustainable Development: Towards strengthening African grant and research writing for publication” intended to develop grant writing and impact publication capacities of early career researchers in African universities in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

3) Capacity strengthening in doctoral training She has supported the development of a national doctoral training policy framework to guide doctoral training in Zimbabwe.

Professor Juliet Thondhlana

Juliet Thondhlana is Professor and UNESCO Chair in International Education and Development at the University of Nottingham. She is also running the Association of African Universities Europe Regional Office which is being hosted by the University of Nottingham. She is the School of Education Global Engagement Lead and co-convenor of the Centre for International Education Research in the School.

She has wide-ranging experience teaching, researching and publishing in the interlinked fields of the internationalisation of education, migration, intercultural communication, doctoral training, language, gender, policy development and decolonisation. She is lead editor of the ground-breaking Bloomsbury Handbook of the Internationalisation of Higher Education in the Global South. She has been invited to act as expert advisor for the internationalisation of higher education in partner universities. She has sat on editorial boards of related journals including Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education; and International Journal of Educational Research Open.


University of Nottingham
Professor of Education and International Development

Role at UNESCO

Chair in International Education and Development

Since 2023



Read about the work of Juliet and her team, within the education and international development sectors, below.