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Education in Conflict and Emergencies



2019/20 Seminars

This seminar series is organised as part of scholarly activities within Centre for Education and International Development at UCL Institute of Education under the research theme Education, Conflict and Peacebuilding. The convenor of the seminar series is Dr Tejendra Pherali

These events are free to attend but you are requested to register following the eventbrite links under each seminar.


Education for Unknowable Futures: Refugees, Nation-States, and the Future of Learning

Dr Sarah Dryden-Peterson, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Time: 1:00pm – 2:30pm
Date: 16/10/2019
Venue: Room 739, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL


Formal education systems are foundational to the sovereignty of modern-nation states and, both historically and in the present, are strong nationalizing endeavors. Within these formal systems, a hallmark of recent educational history globally is vacillation between standardization across regions and schools and autonomy at local levels, within cities and districts. Redistribution to address resource-based inequalities can be addressed through standardization and centralized control. Yet recognition to address identity-based inequalities cuts to the core of tensions between standardization and autonomy. What are the trade-offs between the autonomy needed for recognition to enable full participation by all and the potential costs of this autonomy vis-à-vis unity across group differences? This tension, so challenging to resolve within national education systems, is heightened for refugees who live and are educated outside of their nation-states of citizenship. This presentation will explore the tensions of standardization and autonomy in education of refugees. In a situation of standardization, what entity is the standardizing power: the country of origin, the host country, a global actor? In a situation of autonomy, from what, toward what end, and with what consequences for individuals and nation-states, in terms of recognition, learning, and future opportunities?


The “Refugee Brand” and Humanitarian Education: a critique of the discourse of education of refugee children

Dr Maha Shuayb, Director of Centre for Lebanese Studies & Visiting fellow at Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge

Time: 17:30 – 19:00 GMT
Date: 14/11/2019
Venue: Room C3.09 (Level 3), 20 Bedford Way, London, WC1H 0AL

Education has been increasingly recognised as an integral component in any response to a refugee crisis. This has been accompanied by a proliferation of research, publications and discussion around this issue. Most recently, UNHCR published its strategy “Education of Refugee 2030”. At the same time, the Education in Emergency Framework, has proliferated during the past ten years and have been translated to 20 different languages.

Despite the significant development in this field, there are a number of challenges in the discourse of education of refugees. In this talk, I will focus on two main challenges. The first is concerned with humanitarian education. Humanitarianism is concerned with the immediate while education is a future oriented activity. Hence the interrelation between the two might appear oxymoron (Shuayb and Brun, forthcoming). While the UNHCR refugee education strategy (2019) calls for a shift to a developmental vision of education, there is a lack of clarity concerning the concept of development which the education provisions rests on.

The second issue this presentation aims to unpack, is the reification and objectification of “refugee children” which best manifested in Stein’s work (1981) who talks about the “refugee experience” as being very unique and refugees as a homogeneous group. Duha Al Hassan calls it the “Refugee Brand” (2016). In education, the reification is manifested in the dichotomy that exists between on the one hand, the literature on equity and equality in education, and on the other hand the literature and research on the education of refugee children. While questions concerning the education of refugees might seem newly arising difficult questions that educationalists have to resolve, I argue that these problems have already been discussed and there are existing paradigms that can provide potential solutions to these issues.

Speaker Bio:

Dr Maha Shuayb is the director of the Centre for Lebanese Studies (CLS). Maha has a PhD in education from the University of Cambridge. She also teaches part-time at the Lebanese American University. She is currently a visiting fellow at the University of Cambridge. Maha’s research focuses on the sociology and politics of education particularly equity and equality in education and the implications of the politicization of education particularly on marginalized groups. Over the past eight years, Maha has been occupied with the education response to the Syrian Refugee crisis in Lebanon. She has headed a number of research studies looking at access and quality of education for refugees and the bottlenecks. Her most recent studies include a comparative longitudinal study between Lebanon, Turkey, Germany and Australia which examines the impact of status on education provisions for refugees in the four countries.

Laura Price worked as Writer: Educational Resources at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) for four years. She has produced award-winning podcasts, animations, and posters that aim to connect cutting-edge research with the classroom. Laura has a BA, MA and PhD in Human Geography (University of Manchester, University of Sheffield, and Royal Holloway, University of London). Her doctoral thesis explored the role of creativity and making as a tool of social connection, and the possibilities of craft as activism. She is co-editor of Geographies of Making, Craft and Creativity (Routledge, 2018).

Registration: Please register in advance for this event via Eventbrite or email ceid@ucl.ac.uk

Access: If you have any accessibility requirements or enquiries please contact the events team at ceid@ucl.ac.uk. Please contact us at your earliest convenience, so that we can ensure, where required, any appropriate measures are taken.

Social Media: Join the discussion with #CEIDSeminars

Please note: This seminar and discussion may be filmed and recorded.


This week’s seminar will focus on debates about higher education in conflict-affected contexts.

Rethinking Higher Education for Syrian Refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey

Dr Kathleen Fincham, St Mary’s University, Twickenham

Higher education, conflict and the public sphere in Lebanon

Helen Murray, Centre for International Education, University of Sussex

Time: 17:30 – 19:00 GMT
Date: 19/02/2020
Venue: Room C3.09 (Level 3), 20 Bedford Way, London, WC1H 0AL


The first presentation will examine tensions around access to higher education for Syrian refugees in three host countries. Within the MENA region, more than 5,000,000 Syrian refugees are currently registered with UNHCR. Amongst university-aged refugees, only a small fraction (Jordan – 8%, Lebanon – 6%, Turkey – 1%) are currently enrolled in higher education. This paper, based on empirical qualitative research with Syrian refugee youth, is a critical investigation into their access to, and experiences with, higher education opportunities provided for them by local and international partners. Using interview and focus group data, the paper examines the availability, accessibility, acceptability and adaptability of higher education opportunities currently on offer for Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. The paper argues that while access to higher education is increasing for refugees within the Syrian context, accessibility, acceptability and adaptability of these opportunities to the needs of refugees remains problematic. Moreover, by offering a ‘one-size fits all approach’ with predetermined notions of refugees’ desired ‘functionings’, higher education currently on offer for refugees in the MENA region often fails to address the non-financial aspects of welfare and refugees’ other ‘capabilities’ (e.g. being part of a community, being respected). In this way, it often falls short of enabling refugees to live lives that they have reason to value.

The second presentation will primarily focus the nexus between higher education and conflict in Lebanon. What happens to universities in times of conflict?  What roles can universities play in helping to rebuild societies recovering from conflict? In what ways do universities contribute to the causes of conflict and how might these be transformed? These are the types of questions that might typically inform a discussion of higher education, conflict and peacebuilding. Having been largely ignored in research and policy agendas until very recently, such questions are long overdue. Yet there is also an inherent contradiction at stake in this approach as the current global higher education paradigm, driven by logics of human capital and market competitiveness, has led to a profound dislocation of universities from their societies and the demoralisation of public universities in particular. The very aspects of universities that are most threatened in societies affected by conflict are often the least articulated and under-theorised: their role in the democratic fabric of society, the public sphere.  Drawing on doctoral research on the history of the national university in Lebanon, before, during and after the Lebanese civil war of 1975-1990, this presentation will begin with an overview of the higher education context in Lebanon and highlight theoretical possibilities for thinking about the publicness of universities in societies affected by conflict.Speakers Bio

Dr Kathleen Fincham is the Director of the Centre for Research into the Education of Marginalised Children and Young Adults (CREMCYA) at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. Working at the nexus of development and humanitarian scholarship, policy and practice, Kathleen’s professional experience has been wide-ranging and varied, including research, teaching, training, programme and project management, policy analysis, partner coordination and advocacy with education institutions, governments, bilaterals (CIDA, SIDA), multi-laterals (UNHCR, UNICEF, UNGEI, European Union) and INGOs (Oxfam Novib, WUSC, British Council) in Canada, the UK, West Asia and Eurasia (Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Turkey, Syria, UAE), North and Sub-Saharan Africa (Morocco, Ghana, Rwanda, Sudan, Nigeria) and East Asia (China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore).

Kathleen holds a DPhil Education and Development from the University of Sussex, an MSc Gender and Development from the London School of Economics, an MAT (TESOL) from the School for International Training (USA) and a BEd from the University of Alberta (Canada). Before joining St Mary’s, Kathleen lectured/taught at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the UCL Institute of Education (IOE)

Helen Murray is a PhD candidate at the Centre for International Education at the University of Sussex. She previously worked in the international development sector for 12 years on issues of education and social justice, for local and international organisations, universities and research centres in the Middle East, Africa and South and Central Asia. She has an MA in Post-war Recovery Studies from the University of York (2007) and a degree in History from the University of Edinburgh (2001). Helen’s research interest is in local-global trajectories in higher education and the role of universities in social and political change. She was awarded an ESRC PhD studentship in 2015 for her research on the public dimensions of higher education in societies affected by conflict.

Registration: Please register in advance for this event via Eventbrite or email ceid@ucl.ac.uk

Access: If you have any accessibility requirements or enquiries please contact the events team at ceid@ucl.ac.uk. Please contact us at your earliest convenience, so that we can ensure, where required, any appropriate measures are taken.

Social Media: Join the discussion with #CEIDSeminars

Please note: This seminar and discussion may be filmed and recorded.


This seminar will focus on the following three key aspects of Education in Emergencies:


Partnerships and Collaborations in EiE Research and Practice, Dr Kate Moriarty, Senior Advisor, Strategic Engagement & Dialogue, INEE – Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies

Strengthening the Education in Emergencies Data Architecture , Sébastien Hine, Independent Researcher

Professional Development of Early Career EIE Practitioners, Tejendra Pherali and UCL IOE students (Education, Conflict and Fragility)

Time: 17:00 – 20:00 GMT
Date: Wed, 18 March 2020
Venue: Room C3.09 (Level 3), UCL Institute of Education (IOE), 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL

Seminar Overview

We have slightly modified the structure of this seminar since the programme was first announced. Now, the seminar consists of presentations by Dr Kate Moriarty and Sebastien Hine followed by workshop style activities to discuss EiE case scenarios. Then, there will be brief presentations by MA students on Education, Conflict and Fragility focusing on case studies of education and conflict.

Kate will present some of the key priorities of INEE and lead the discussion on how to promote approaches to academic and practitioner collaborations in EiE research, policy and practice.

Sebastien will present the findings and recommendations of the 2019 Education in Emergencies Data Summit. This convened experts from 48 organisations to discuss and agree ways forward on the following challenge: how – with limited resources and a growing number of crises, which are increasingly cross-border – we as a sector could firstly collect more meaningful education data in emergencies and secondly how we could also make new and existing data more accessible. Issues analysed include standardisation of indicators, fit for purpose data, ethics and security, forgotten populations, data sharing and usage, funding, capacity building, indicators beyond access, global public goods, the humanitarian-development-stabilisation nexus, leadership, and working with other sectors. Based on these discussions a long-term vision and actionable next steps were agreed in an Action Agenda.

He will also update on progress against this Action Agenda, including specific work of the INEE’s Standard and Practice Working Group to create a consolidated list of education in emergencies indicators with technical guidance that corresponds to each of the INEE’s Minimum Standards.

Speakers bio:

Dr Kate Moriarty is Senior Advisor, Strategic Engagement and Dialogue for Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE). She has been working in the field of education, human rights and international development, for 20 + years, with a focus on both development and humanitarian contexts. Having trained as a teacher, she later worked as a human rights educator before focusing on education policy, advocacy and research for a range of organisations, including Theirworld, the Malala Fund, UNESCO, Save the Children, and Amnesty International. With consultancy work undertaken for the Global Campaign for Education, Norwegian Refugee Council, Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack, UNESCO and other civil society and UN organisations.

Sébastien Hine is an education and international development consultant with experience in education in emergencies and protracted crises, gender, marginalised groups, and non-state actors. He was lead author of the Forced Displacement chapter of the 2019 Global Education Monitoring Report on Migration and previously worked for Save the Children and the Overseas Development Institute.

Dr Tejendra Pherali is Associate Professor in Education and International Development and leads a course on Education, Conflict and Fragility. His research and teaching focus on education in conflict and protracted crises, particularly looking at politics, tensions and innovations in educational delivery, policies and peace through education.

Registration: Please register in advance for this event via Eventbrite.

Social Media: Join the discussion with #CEIDSeminars

Please register to attend this seminar following this eventbrite page: