For the past 20 years, I have specialised as a practitioner, educator, public speaker and consultant in peacebuilding through education. I am currently honored to be the 2021 Senior Fellow for the George Arnhold Program on Education for Sustainable Peace at the Georg Eckert Institute in Braunschweig, Germany. Since 2019, I have worked as an international consultant with the United Nations in the Western Balkans, researching educational best practices in six countries and developing effective educational strategies and resources for regional peacebuilding in collaboration with teachers and youth. Prior to this, I was a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Neuchâtel, Institute of Psychology and Education (Switzerland), where I focussed on issues of migration and education. As a peace educator, I have trained students and professionals from over 25 countries, including in active conflict, intractable conflict, post-conflict and transitional societies. I am author of several educational manuals, scientific articles and book chapters on peacebuilding through education and the ethics of research and intervention in conflict-affected settings.
In 2017, I completed my PhD at the University of Cambridge, Faculty of Education as a Gates Cambridge scholar and fellow of the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. I also hold an MPhil in Education Research from the University of Cambridge (UK), an MA in Conflict Resolution from Landegg International University (Switzerland), and a BA in Ethics, Society and Law from the University of Toronto (Canada).
My PhD research focussed on the role of education systems in post-conflict social reconstruction, healing and reconciliation. Framed within a critical social ecological lens, the study employed comparative mixed methods to explore peacebuilding agency and challenges faced by policy actors, educators and youth across ethnically segregated education systems in a conflict-divided society (see full abstract here). As conflict drivers are multi-faceted, my research is interdisciplinary and draws on political, sociological, anthropological and psychosocial theories and methods.
Some of the questions explored in my research include: How can policymakers and educators respond constructively to armed conflict and mass violence, and how can the efficacy of these responses be measured? After atrocities have been committed, in what ways can education be used to promote social recovery, resilience, social cohesion, and conflict transformation? To what extent and with what effect are peacebuilding strategies currently practiced in post-conflict education systems and communities? What factors facilitate and constrain post-conflict recovery and critical peacebuilding agency? What are the implications for policy and practice?
Central to my research interests is a concern for structure-agency dynamics in conflict and peacebuilding. With a focus on contexts of mass violence, I examine challenges related to redressing histories of atrocity as part of wider processes of structural and community change within a global context. This brings together interactions between identity narratives, transitional justice, social justice and reconciliation, which I explore through a critical peacebuilding lens. Committed to research which is policy and practice relevant, I strategically examine the contributions of policy reform, civil society, pedagogy and public ritual to post-conflict social recovery, justice and sustainable peace. I am also interested in intergenerational dynamics of post-conflict peacebuilding and conduct longitudinal research on shifts and tensions between memory and 'post-memory' generations. To support these various lines of inquiry, I work extensively with tools of conflict analysis, Theory of Change, the '4Rs' of critical peacebuilding (Novelli, Lopes Cardozo and Smith, 2015), among others. I blog on issues of violence, genocide, peacebuilding and reconciliation, posting items that I am working with and reflecting on.
Alongside my research activities, I have built a number of non-governmental organizations and associations. I enjoy collaborating with organizations on mission development, strategic planning and capacity-building for project implementation and evaluation. I also like working directly with communities, educators and young people on transformative community-building projects and social change initiatives. I have worked on related projects for Albania, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Cyprus, Israel-Palestine, Kosovo, Mexico, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Zambia. I am fluent in English and French, with basic knowledge of German and Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian.
I teach at the undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education levels on topics related to conflict analysis, education and armed conflict, genocide, peacebuilding, transitional justice, conflict-sensitivity, peace education, conflict transformation, psycho-social healing and intergroup reconciliation, transformative learning, and social change initiatives. I currently teach an annual online 7-week seminar on Peace Psychology for practitioners working in conflict-affected settings through ForumZFD's Academy for Conflict Transformation. I have also provided Self-Care and Team-Care sessions for peaceworkers under duress in Cambodia, Jordan, Iraq, Palestine, Philippines, Ukraine, Western Balkans and Germany.
In addition to my professional and academic life, I am also a wife and mother of two, as well as an engaged member of my wider community. I am currently based in Switzerland.