The UNESCO Chair was formally established at the University of Macedonia in 2018, with an agreement signed between UNESCO and the University of Macedonia, aiming to highlight and support, through education and research, the empowerment of women throughout the crisis management spectrum and the resolution of war conflicts, including the process of peacebuilding.

The complete title of the Chair is “Women, Peace and Security: Building Opportunity/Opportunities and Resilience through Education and Research”. The Director of the Chair is Assistant Professor of International Relations Fotini Bellou, Department of International and European Studies, School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts, University of Macedonia.

In addition to the very specific “Women, Peace and Security” policy agenda, it is also provided for by the agreement the governmental and institutional promotion to protect women during armed conflicts, in order to prevent or punish respectively, coordinated practices of gender-based violence that are often used as tools of war against the enemy.

From an institutional point of view, this policy agenda is based on a series of UN Security Council resolutions with watershed the Resolution 1325/2000, which in effect made gender mainstreaming in the process of conflict resolution, a moral obligation for all states and international organizations, on the basis of the protection of fundamental human rights.

The purpose of the Chair is to promote a comprehensive system of research, education, intelligence, and documentation on issues based on women, peace, and security, and the cooperation among its internationally renowned researchers of the University’s academics, as well as among other institutions in Greece, Europe, Africa, Asia, the Arab states and the Pacific, as well as other regions of the world (Article 2 of the Agreement).

The specialized goals of the Chair are:

  • To contribute to the consolidation and empowerment of women's capabilities, in particular through education and interdisciplinary research, while also creating the conditions for the establishment of an international Postgraduate Program in Women, Peace, and Security,
  • To strengthen the processes of mainstreaming the Women, Peace and Security agenda in all policies at national, regional and international level,
  • To provide advice and specialized knowledge for the update of policy developments on gender equality and women's empowerment,
  • To establish an interdisciplinary hub for collaborative research in comprehensive gender analysis and in particular the positive role of women in conflict and post-conflict situations and crisis management,
  • To foster networking, collaboration, dissemination of knowledge and best practices mainly through publications, seminars and international conferences,
  • To create a network of financial supporters and programs funded by the European Union and other international organizations on Women, Peace and Security policy agenda,
  • To work closely with UNESCO and the existing UNESCO Chairs on related programs and activities.

The Chair also offers unpaid internship positions on support and research, to ameliorate the implementation of its actions and goals.