UNESCO Chair in Shared Education, Queen's University Belfast

Purpose/Objectives of the Chair/UNITWIN Network

The primary purpose of the Chair is seeks to advance ‘shared education’ as a structural alternative to integrated or ‘common’ education in societies that are in conflict, and to enhance understanding of the impact of shared education as an innovative approach.

Systems of separate education are often a feature between groups in conflict and post-conflict divided societies. Even in comparatively peaceful societies there are concerns regarding the potential for schools separated on ethno-religious lines to fuel inter-ethnic tension.

The ‘shared education’ model seeks to establish collaborative curriculum-based relationships between separate schools.These arrangements bring pupils together for sustained periods, with a commitment to reconciliation, access to opportunity and educational outcomes for all. This approach has significant potential in other divided societies, and has recently been in effect in Macedonia and Israel.

Although evidence regarding the relationship between separate education and division is limited, it is generally affirmative.A purpose of this Chair is to examine the impact of shared education in different educational and societal contexts, with a view to refining the model and developing best practice internationally.

The shared education model has the potential to meet the UNESCO priority to, ‘support Member States to achieve greater integration of education for global citizenship in policies, programmes, teaching practices and educational contents, especially on issues such as mutual understanding, intercultural and inter-religious dialogue, tolerance and mutual respect’.

This Chair aims to work with international development organisations and Governments to facilitate, promote and develop models of shared education in societies impacted by conflict and division, with the long-term aim of reducing inter-group hostility and building more positive inter-group relations.

Chairholder/Coodinator: Professor Joanne Hughes

Address: School of Education, Queen’s University, 69/71 University Street, Belfast, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland,  BT7 1HL

Email: joanne.hughes@qub.ac.uk
Tel:028 90975934

Web page

Joanne_20Hughes_4056aProfessor Joanne Hughes is Director of the Belfast. Her research interests are primarily in the role of education in divided societies and inter-group relations, such as a longitudinal analysis of inter-group contact experienced by post-primary school pupils in Northern Ireland.

Professor Hughes has undertaken extensive outreach work with policy makers, government bodies, community groups and organisations to increase the applied value of her research. Her work informed a major review of community relations policy in Northern Ireland, and she was a member of a review team appointed by the Minister of Education to help draft a community relations policy for Education.

Professor Hughes has been involved in a number of local and international initiatives aimed at sharing peace building experiences in divided societies. Most recently, she has worked with UNICEF and the Ministry of Education in Macedonia to develop a National Programme of Inter-Cultural Dialogue.

She was an academic partner in a Local International Learning Project, which encouraged shared learning between academics and practitioners in Northern Ireland and Israel/Palestine.

Professor Hughes has published widely in national and international peer review journals, and she is currently an editor of the prestigious British Educational Research Journal.

Selected Publications:

Hughes, J, Campbell, A, Lolliot, S & M. Hewstone (2013) ‘Inter-Group Contact at School and Social Attitudes: Evidence from Northern Ireland’, Oxford Review of Education, DOI: 10.1080/03054985.2013.857595

Hughes, J (2013) ‘Contact and context: sharing education and building relationships in a divided society’, Research Papers in Education, DOI:10.1080/02671522.2012.754928