IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


A school in Madagascar by Milijaona Randrianarivelojisoa


Education, conflict and peacebuilding

Children's right to quality education is under threat due to violent conflicts, mass displacement, natural disasters and growing social and economic inequalities globally.

Coordinator: Professor Tejendra Pherali

Children raising hands to answer questions in class

Male students standing on a hillside

Education policies and programming that are designed to address concerns about access to educational resources, distribution and pedagogical approaches often fail to address complex political, security and economic challenges that are faced by learners in emergency situations.

Our work focuses on three main areas

Research projects

We have a growing portfolio of research that broadly focuses on:

  • politics of education in conflict-affected environments 
  • intersections between educational inequalities, injustices and violence/ conflict
  • protection of education from attacks in conflict settings
  • provision of education in emergencies and protracted crisis, such as refugee settings
  • educational inclusion and the role of education in peace building.

Current research projects

  • AHRC Peace with Justice Network - Professor Tejendra Pherali, Principal Investigator (UCL IOE), Dr Laila Kadiwal, Co-Investigator (UCL IOE), and Dr  Elaine Chase, Co- Investigator (UCL IOE) with Prof Chayan Vadanphuti, International Co-investigator (Chiang Mai University, Thailand), Hawng Tsai, Myanmar Country Facilitator (Thinking Classroom Facilitator), Dr Birgul Kutan, Country Facilitator Syria/Turkey (University of Sussex), Chawin Pongpajon, Country Facilitator (Chulalongkorn University, Thailand), Dr Alam Akhtar (University of Kashmir, India), Dr Arif Sahar (University of Sheffield Hallam), Dr Saadi Sardar (University of Rojava, Syria), Valentina Glockner (Die-Cinvestav, Maxico), Edith Martinez (Tikoso, Maxico), Walter Flores (CEGSS, Guatemala), Tula Narayan Shah (Nepal Madhesh Foundation), Chumsak Nararatwong (Samesouls Group, Thailand).
  • Inclusive education in postwar Nepal - Professor Tejendra Pherali, Co-Principal Investigator (UCL IOE) with Dr Marit Haug (Oslo Metropolitan University, Norway), Dr Pramod Bhatta (Tribhuvan University, Nepal) and Professor Basudev Kafle (Tribhuvan University, Nepal)
  • Distance learning modalities in compounded crisis: The case of Lebanon - Dr Mai Abu Moghli, Co-Investigator (Centre for Lebanese University, Lebanese American University) and Dr Maha Shuyab (Centre for Lebanese University, Lebanese American University)
  • De-weaponising Identities and Education in Crisis - Dr Laila Kadiwal, Principal Investigator (UCL IOE), Professor Peter Sammonds, Principal Investigator (UCL IOE) and Dr Kusha Anand, Research Assistant (UCL IOE)
  • UCL's ESRC-funded RELIEF Centre (Refugees, Education, Learning, Information Technology, and Entrepreneurship for the Future) - Professor Tejendra Pherali, Co-Investigator (UCL IOE), Dr Elaine Chase, Co-Investigator (UCL IOE), Dr Mai Abu Moghli, Research Associate (UCL IOE)

Current doctoral projects

  • Rohingya refugee crises and education in Bangladesh, Ambreen Lakhani (Co-supervised by Dr Laila Kadiwal and Dr Eileen Kennedy)
  • The role of teachers in Libya's democratisation, Rem Ben Giabar, (Co-supervised by Dr Rupert Higham and Dr Alexandra Lewis)
  • The perceptions of quality in higher education in post-conflict settings, Kamille Beye (Supervised by Dr Alexandra Lewis)
  • Understanding educational inequalities and system responses in the context of COVID-19 in conflict-affected societies, Ross Duncan (Co-supervised by Prof Tejendra Pherali and Dr Simone Datzberger)
  • A social justice approach to inclusive education in Nepal: Participatory action research with girls with disabilities, Anna Hata (Co-supervised by Prof Tejendra Pherali and Dr Kirrly Pells)
  • Pukhtun women of Pakistan: peacebuilding through education - Sadaf Yasir (Co-supervised by Prof Tejendra Pherali and Dr Laila Kadiwal)
  • An examination of refugee education policies and practices in Indonesia - Laetitia Lemaistre (Co-supervised by Prof Tejendra Pherali and Prof Elaine Chase)
  • Critical peace education for refugee youth: An investigation of empowerment education for Syrian refugee youth in Jordan (ESRC-funded) - Arran Magee (Co-supervised by Prof Tejendra Pherali, Prof Elaine Unterhalter and Dr Alexandra Lewis)
  • The role of higher education in peacebuilding in Nepal - Ganesh Khadka (Co-supervised by Prof Tejendra Pherali and Dr Alexandra Lewis)
  • Conflict, constraints, and cohesion: Local responses to external influences in education provision in Nigeria - Vanita Datta (Prof Tejendra Pherali, Dr Alexandra Lewis and Prof Elaine Chase)
  • The role of education in peacebuilding in Southern Thailand - Chawin Pongpajon. (Co-supervised by Prof Tejendra Pherali and Prof Elaine Chase)

Recently completed projects

Teaching programmes

We offer the MA in Education and International Development: Conflict, Emergencies and Peace that is linked with our research and scholarly activities.

If you have any queries about our teaching programme, please feel free to get in touch with the Programme Leader Dr Tejendra Pherali t.pherali@ucl.ac.uk.

Civic engagement and knowledge dissemination

Seminar series

The centre organises public seminars on Education in Conflict and Emergencies and hosts the Network for Research in Education, Conflict and Emergencies. To view our past events, visit our YouTube channel.

Education and Conflict Review (ECR)

The Centre for Education and International Development is home to ECR, a scholarly publication focusing on theoretical and empirical knowledge in the field, and promotes collaborations with academic institutions countries that have been affected by violent conflicts. More information: Education and Conflict Review

India & Me: Engage. Reflect. Act.

'India & Me' is an interactive public education programme where individuals meet to discuss Indian histories and everyday lives and challenge the routine ways of thinking we have taken for granted. We seek to understand what this means for our everyday comforts and discomforts, including the growing conflict and subsequent consequences that persist from India to its diaspora worldwide. 

Co-founded by Laila Kadiwal, Lotika Singha, Swati Kamble, Ketan Dandare, Faisal Lalani and academics and activists located in India and its diaspora.

Conversations 4 Citizenship podcast: Conversation with Ambreen Lakhani

It is no exaggeration to say that we are living in a time of refugee crisis. The global refugee crisis requires educators to re-examine the assimilationist conception of citizenship education and to construct a new pedagogical approach that will respond to the global refugee crisis and celebrate diversity and promote human rights, aiming to build sustainable positive peace. In the final episode of season one of the Conversations4Citizenship, Ambreen Lakhani, a doctoral researcher at IOE, UCL's Faculty of Education and Society, helps us understand how to deal with the Rohingya Refugee Crises through education.

What’s going to happen to education in conflict zones after the pandemic?

Dr Humera Iqbal talks to Dr Tejendra Pherali about his work, which focuses on the role of education in conflict and peacebuilding in emergencies and fragile environments. A journey that begins in Nepal and takes us through some of the world’s most vulnerable areas affected not only by war, conflict and displacement, but also the coronavirus.

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COVID-19 Blame Game

An insightful and moving documentary tracking the vicious scapegoating of marginalised people by majoritarian political elites around the world during pandemics past and present.

It is based on the research and concept developed by Dr Laila Kadiwal, Fellow of Education and International Development at UCL and made by the acclaimed director of Sameer and Birth 1871, Dakxin Chhara. More information: COVID-19 Blame Game.

Education for Syrian refugee children in Lebanon 

In a conversation with the UCL Grand Challenges team, Dr Tejendra Pherali explores the barriers and difficulties of access to education for migrants and refugees, and in particular Syrian refugees in Lebanese settlements.

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