Mark Brennan, an associate professor of rural community and leadership development in the College of Agricultural Sciences, has been named a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Chair in Rural Community, Leadership, and Youth Development, per Penn State Live.
Created in 1992, UNESCO’s chair program was designed to facilitiate research and educational development in universities across the world. Brennan joins 715 other Chairs worldwide and will be the 18th Chair located in the United States, joining existing Chairs at Cornell and Georgetown, among others. Though Rutgers does host a chair, Brennan’s Chair will be the first housed at a Big Ten institution since Rutgers will not technically be considered a Big Ten school until 2014.
As Chair, Brennan will work alongside other universities and UNESCO Chairs to establish youth and community development programs in developing regions, particularly Africa.
“The active engagement of rural communities is essential to capacity building, gender equality, equal access to education for women and girls, and a host of socioeconomic development outcomes,” Brennan said.
The Chair will be formally presented with a lecture to be held later this semester.