Educating for Rights in a Context of Protracted Conflict – The Case of the Occupied West Bank

Dr Mai Abu Moghli
UCL Institute of Education 

5:30pm – 7:00pm, 22nd March 2017
Room: 728
UCL Institute of Education (20 Bedford Way, London, WC1H 0AL)

The Palestinian Ministry of Education (MOE) was established in 1994 following the signing of the interim peace agreement (the Oslo Accords) between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO). Palestinians in the Occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip inherited a weak, neglected and fragmented education system. However, over the years the MOE was able to increase the number of schools and decrease illiteracy rates. An important departure from the old curricula was the inclusion of human rights and citizenship education. In this presentation, II will focus on three questions related to the introduction of HRE in PA schools: 

1. What are the reasons behind the introduction of HRE in Palestinian Authority (PA) schools?

2. How do stakeholders make meaning of and implement HRE? 

3. What is the relationship between HRE and the struggle against the Occupation and for political and social change? 

Drawing upon ethnographic data generated from six months field research trip(s), and  examination of available literature, I will problematise the theoretical basis of HRE and highlight the importance of indigenous knowledge and strategies used to bring the decontextualised global HRE to the nuanced and politicised local, leading to a reconceptualisation of HRE that provides an alternative understanding of its potential contribution to the emancipation of the individual and collective within a polarised, multi-layered, and fast changing context.  

Dr Mai Abu Moghli is a Palestinian/British human rights practitioner and academic who specialises in human rights education. Mai holds a PhD from the UCL Institute of Education and a Master’s degree in human rights from the University of Essex. Her research focuses on human rights education in Palestinian Authority schools in the Occupied West Bank. Mai has also published articles on Palestinian/ Syrian refugees. She has worked extensively in the field of human rights in the MENA region and taught human rights theory and human rights education in both the UK and in the Occupied West Bank.



Teachers and peacebuilding: A systematic literature review

Dr Lindsey Horner
Senior Lecturer in Education Studies
Bath Spa University

5:30pm – 7:00pm, 22nd February 2017
Room: 731
UCL Institute of Education (20 Bedford Way, London, WC1H 0AL)

This presentation reports of the findings of a systematic and extensive literature review on teachers and peacebuilding conducted as part of the Research Consortium on Education and Peacebuilding, a collaboration between the University of Sussex, the University of Amsterdam and Ulster University and funded by UNICEF and the ESRC.

Focusing on teachers and their role in peacebuilding the presentation will map existing literature to shed insight on teacher identity, roles and agency in conflict affected areas, relating this to the project’s orientating framework of a just peace, drawing on conceptions of social justice.  Exploring the debates around, for example, educational outcomes, accountability, governance and teacher education it asks what role teachers, as key agents in education systems, have in promoting peace, social justice, reconciliation and mitigating violence. The presentation will also highlight some of the dilemmas and contradictions in the literature and field, acknowledging the double-sided nature of teacher agency which can equally promote or obstruct peace and the complexities of the contexts in which they work.

Dr Lindsey Horner is an academic and researcher in the field of Education and International Development, specialising in critical peace education and participatory research. She obtained her PhD from the University of Bristol in 2011, which explored critical peace education as the interactions of a multifarious understanding of peace and practices to facilitate moving these understandings forward (the work of translating peace) in conflict effected communities in Mindanao. The commitment to social justice, ethics and participant representation found in her seminal research form the foundation of her research commitment and driving motivation behind her research trajectory to date, which has seen me progress onto contributions to research projects exploring the theoretical resources, processes and benefits of co- designed/constructed/produced research and the role of teachers in peacebuilding.

She is currently a senior lecturer in International and Global education at Bath Spa University where she continues to develop these interests.

Education in Conflict and Emergencies Seminar Series

Conflict, education and fragility in post-2001 Afghanistan: A political economy analysis

Arif Sahar
Doctoral Scholar, UCL Institute of Education

5:30pm – 7:00pm, 25th January 2017
Room: Elvin Hall
UCL Institute of Education (20 Bedford Way, London, WC1H 0AL)

Afghanistan is often characterised as a ‘failed’ or ‘fragile’ state in terms of state ‘functionality’, lacking in capacity to provide security and wellbeing to its citizens and generating security threats, violent conflict and terrorism. Since 2001, education has become a major victim of Afghanistan’s protracted crisis that historically underpins radical ideologies, international military interventions and fragile democracy. Drawing upon qualitative interviews with educational officials and development practitioners in Afghanistan and critically examining the literature in the area of education, conflict and international development, we argue that Afghanistan’s education is caught in the nexus between failing security conditions, weak governance and widespread corruption, resulting in capture of educational spaces for radicalisation and violent extremism. We also highlight some critical issues relating to educational programming in conflict-affected contexts.

Arif Sahar is currently pursuing his PhD at UCL Institute of Education. His research focuses on the political economy of education in post-2001 Afghanistan. Arif completed his MA in Political Science at UCL. Currently, Arif is researcher at University of Derby, College of Education. Prior to his appointment, Arif worked as Senior Adviser to the Afghan Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Economy and Ministry of Finance. He has also worked for numerous international development partners, including World Bank, UNDP and DFID. Arif has widely published in peer-reviewed journals, most recently in Central Asian Survey, Asian Journal of Political Science and The Diplomat. Arif has also translated books from English into Persian/ Dari.

Launching the 2015/2016 Seminar Series

We are looking forward to beginning our annual seminar series for 2015/2016 this week with Rob Williams OBE, CEO of War Child UK speaking on ‘Why education in emergencies goes unfunded. And how to fix it.’ Rob’s going to be using the Syrian context to explain the far-reaching repercussions underfunding education in emergency situations has.

Rob Williams, Thursday 29th October 2015, 5:30pm – 7pm, Room 802 at the UCL Institute of Education in London.  Register for a free place here.

We’ve also confirmed our speaker for the second session on the 3rd December: ‘Engaging young people with conflict through the narratives of former combatants in Northern Ireland.’ Lesley Emerson from Queen’s University Belfast is coming along to present her findings from a piece of research on a curricular programme in Northern Ireland designed to engage young people directly with ‘conflict’ through the narratives of the former ‘paramilitary’ combatants.

Lesley Emerson, Thursday 3rd December 2015, 5:30 – 7pm, Room 802 at the UCL Institute of Education. Register for a free place here.

There will be five more sessions in 2016, we well as a workshop on early years in emergencies. More details to follow!

Looking back at 2014/2015… 

As we are about to begin our third annual seminar series, we’ll just take a minute to look at the busy and productive year we’ve just had here at the Network.  We had a great response to the seminars, with nearly 700 people registering for eight sessions with a great range of topics and speakers.

We had academics, including our very own Dr Tejendra Pherali and Dr Chris Williams in May, Tejendra speaking on the humanitarian response in Nepal and Chris on how to research emergencies following the launch of his new book, “Doing International Research, Global and Local Methods.” Professor Frank Hardman from the University of York in January, presented on the role of education in building peaceful societies using Somalia as a case study. We also heard from Dr Kelsey Shanks, fresh from finishing her PhD speaking on education and ethno-politics and the role of identity in the Iraqi school system in October, her research is now published – find it here.

We heard from both researchers and practitioners – Susan Nicolai and Sebastien Hine from the Overseas Development Institute presented their review of the literature on investment for education in emergencies in April, and the education team from Save the Children, Emily Echessa, Charlotte Balfour-Poole and Hannah Snowden presented on some of their programmes and lessons learned in education response in conflict contexts in March.

We heard from DfiD’s Dr Chris Berry last November, a session on how to improve learning outcomes in humanitarian and protracted crises and Dr Lyndsay Bird from the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) in February. And from a different angle all together, Francis Rolt from Radio for Peace Building in December on the principles of using media as a peacebuilding tool.

We also participated in the International Network for Education in Emergencies’ (INEE) pilot training for their early childhood development module in December last year, (the final training package is now available from their website), and were able to submit our feedback as part of the consultation.

Tejendra’s fundraising for Nepal following the earthquakes of late April raised over £5,000 for the Disasters Emergency Committee.

Our online presence grew hugely, our Facebook group having now not far off 2,000 members and a growing twitter following (@NRECE_IOE) and we do encourage everyone not only to join or follow, but to join in the conversation. These are spaces to prompt thoughts, share research, news, promote events in the field, research notes or opportunities, publications and explore the areas of education and conflict and education in emergencies more broadly.

That’s it – a great year behind us, a great year ahead – please come and join in!

Seminar change!

Our final seminar for 2014/15 has been expanded to include discussion of the recent earthquakes in Nepal. The session is now titled Research emergencies and the cultural  political economy of humanitarian response in Nepal. Chris Williams will present on how technology can be incorporated into research in emergency situations and Tejendra Pherali will discuss various aspects of the humanitarian response to the recent earthquakes in Nepal.

Time: Wednesday 27 May 2015, 17.30 – 19.00
Place: Room 804, UCL Institute of Education

Please register for free at our Eventbrite site

Nepal earthquake appeal

Dear Colleagues, Friends, Students and NRECE members,

You may be following the news of catastrophic earthquake in Nepal last Saturday. Almost 4,000 people are known to have lost their lives and over 7,000 have been severely injured while the most-affected rural areas are still out of reach and the reports are yet to come. The rescue teams are struggling to access the districts outside the Kathmandu valley. There is an urgent need for blankets, dry food, clean water, tents and medicine. People, including my own families are staying outside in open spaces as the aftershocks continue to strike.

In this traumatic situation, as a humanitarian academic and native of Nepal, I am asking you to donate as much as you can to help rescue people in this emergency and support the relief effort.

Please follow the link:

Best wishes,