July 13, 2020

Purdue Honors College dean Appointed to UNESCO Core International Faculty in Community, Leadership and Youth Development

phillips-r20 Rhonda Phillips Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Rhonda Phillips, dean of the Purdue University Honors College, has been appointed as a Core International Faculty Member by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Chair in Community, Leadership and Youth Development.

UNESCO encourages peace and universal respect for human rights by promoting collaboration among nations; the initiative in community, leadership, and youth development focuses on youth and community- capacity-building, equality and education, economic and community development, social justice, and sustainable development.

“More than half of the world’s population is under age 25, and a third are 15 or younger; it is a massive global population that is continuously increasing in size,” said Mark Brennan, who serves as professor and UNESCO Chair in Community, Leadership, and Youth Development at Pennsylvania State University. “Youth are the driving force behind social change, responses to crises and the advancement of the human condition, and it is paramount they have a voice in the well-being of their communities.”

The Core International Faculty members serve as scholars, subject-matter experts, and policy specialists to advance collective work. Phillips’ scholarship and engagement in community and economic development and well-being led to the appointment. In addition to being the dean of Purdue’s Honors College, she is a three-time Fulbright recipient with global experience in community development, well-being and related topics, and serves as a 2019-20 American Council on Education Fellow.

“It is essential that youth are included in community development at the local, regional and global levels – this is our future,” Phillips said. “I am honored to be a member of this team performing essential work, especially during this unprecedented time of pandemic and movement to address social and racial injustices.”

This appointment complements her work with an interdisciplinary community of exceptional scholars in the Purdue Honors College, which offers global and community engagement and research as part of students’ learning experiences.

“We are honored and delighted to have Dr. Phillips join with us as a UNESCO Core International Faculty,” Brennan said. “She brings an incredibly deep body of scholarly knowledge, partnered with an extensive background in community-based application.  The implications for bringing these together is vast and will have significant impacts on youth and communities worldwide.”

In response to mounting global challenges, the UNESCO Chairs programs at National University of Ireland, Galway and Penn State are presenting "Living and Learning Empathy in Covid-19: A Virtual Global Conversation” at 1 p.m. EDT weekly every Thursday, www.facebook.com/nuigalway/. Freely accessible, these conversations bring together scholars, policymakers and citizens across varying cultural and global contexts. More information about the UNESCO program can be found at https://agsci.psu.edu/unesco and about the Purdue Honors College at https://honors.purdue.edu/.

Media contact: Jim Bush, jsbush@purdue.edu

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