About the UNESCO Chair
Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth & Civic Engagement
The UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth & Civic Engagement, the first in the Republic of Ireland, was awarded to Professor Pat Dolan at the National University of Ireland, Galway in 2008.The UNESCO Chairs programme, part of the UNESCO University Education and Twinning Programme, advances research, training and programme development in all of UNESCO’s fields of competence by building university networks and encouraging inter-university cooperation through the transfer of knowledge across borders. Professor Dolan conducts a programme of work within and supported by the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre (UCFRC) that spans a range of global partnerships involving universities, NGOs, international agencies and youth organisations encompassing research, education, and policy development activities.
Professor Dolan has worked with and for families as a practitioner, service manager, and academic for over 35 years. He has completed an extensive body of research on family issues including longitudinal research on adolescents, their perceived mental health, resilience and social support networks and has published in a wide range of academic publications. His major research interests are Civic Engagement in Children and Youth, Family Support, Reflective Practice and Service Development, Youth Mentoring Models, Empathy Education, Prevention of Youth Radicialisation, Adolescents Resilience and Social Networks.
The mission of the NUI Galway Chair is to promote an integrated system of research, training, information and documentation in the field of children, youth and civic engagement. In this capacity, the NUI Galway UNESCO Chair has acted as a 'bridge-builder' by bringing together centre’s of excellence, NGOs and practitioners from around the world to work as partners in setting future education, research and policy agendas. The engagement with UNESCO provides a unique platform for facilitating collaboration between high-level, internationally recognised researchers and institutions which enables the UCFRC to influence and inform global policy for families and youth. Key research partnerships developed through the UNESCO Chair include a programme of work with the Lumos Foundation founded by JK Rowling to assist governments and communities to transition from institutions to family-based care for children and young people.
Pictured (L-R) are: Professor Mark Brennan (Chair in Rural Community, Leadership, and Youth Development, Penn State University), Ms. Irina Bokova, (Director General, UNESCO), Professor Pat Dolan (Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement, NUI Galway)
By providing opportunities for leadership, participation and advocacy, civic action harnesses the potential of young people to bring about positive change in their own lives and that of their communities. The Youth as Researchers strand of the UNESCO Chair’s work is affiliated with actor Cillian Murphy who, as patron of the UCFRC, undertook a role in promoting the programme internationally at the 2015 UNESCO Youth Forum in Paris. Learn more on our Youth as Researchers page by clicking here
Pictured (L-R) are: Ms. Irina Bokova (Director General, UNESCO), Mr. Cillian Murphy, (Actor), Professor Pat Dolan (Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement, NUI Galway)
The UNESCO Chair seeks to place Family Support, a key focus of the UCFRC, more centre stage within the UNESCO community. In 2015, the UNESCO Chairs Global Network in association with the Council of Europe and UNICEF Office of Research hosted a Winter School in NUI Galway entitled ‘Child Rights in Practice and Research’ which focused on family and parenting support in the context of realising children’s rights. This closed expert meeting brought together 70 ‘policy-literate’ practitioners and researchers from across Europe to explore concepts and shared practices, recognising the enormous value of learning from other countries and cultures and from the different perspectives of academia, policy and practice.
Pictured (L-R): Dr. John Canavan (UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway), Ms. Agata D’Addato (Eurochild), Dr. Maria Herczog (Eurochild), Cllr. Frank Fahy (Galway Mayor), Ms. Georgette Mulheir (Lumos), Professor. Pat Dolan (UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, NUI Galway)
Watch the full conference on youtube here
Five Nations Family Support Policy and Practice
The aim of the UNESCO Five Nations Family Support Policy and Practice Network is to collectively discuss and advance Family Support policy and practice issues which will be progressed and developed on an international stage.
In 2015 the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre hosted a biennial conference as part of the ‘Five Nations Family Support Initiative’ which was organised in conjunction with representatives from across the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland) and UNESCO, Paris. This involved each participating University hosting a Family Support themed conference which will culminate in a Family Support Symposium in UNESCO Headquarters in Paris in 2016.
A report by Mark Brennan and Pat Dolan is available for download here: UN World Youth Report: Civic Engagement: An Overview