IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Education can play a key role in peace building, IOE academic argues

18 September 2019

UCL Institute of Education (IOE) academic Dr Tejendra Pherali has delivered a keynote talk in Thailand arguing that education can play a crucial role in addressing the causes of conflict.

Tejendra Pherali speaking at conference

Dr Pherali, Associate Professor in Education and International Development and the research theme leader for Education, Conflict and Peacebuilding at Centre for Education and International Development (CEID), delivered a keynote speech at an international conference on ‘Multiculturalism and Social Cohesion: The Role of Education, Media and Language in the 21st Century’ in June. The conference took place at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. 

Dr Pherali’s paper ‘Multiculturalism, conflict and education: How can education support peacebuilding’ argued that:

  • Cultural diversity is a nation’s asset as long as the minority cultures are not politically and socially repressed by the majority cultures. 
  • Diversity cannot simply be a national decoration. In order to convert cultural diversity into national asset, the state should ensure that minority and traditionally marginalised cultures have fair access to and representation in economic and political domains of the society. 
  • In multicultural societies, educational reforms should focus on addressing horizontal inequalities both within the education system as well as more widely within society.
  • In conflict-affected multicultural environments, education can contribute to a process of national reconciliation and address legacies of conflict, thereby setting a path for a socially just society. 

Reflecting on the conference, Dr Pherali said:

“It was an honour to be invited to deliver a keynote at such a great conference organised by Thailand’s most prestigious university. 

“Peace and social justice are important concerns in multicultural societies that fall in the trap of violent conflict. Educational reforms that promote equity and recognition of diversity play a crucial role in addressing the causes of conflict. 

“These debates should be the integral part of educational work not only in Thailand where Southern provinces have been caught in protracted conflict but also globally where minority and indigenous cultures are increasingly being repressed by neoliberal hegemonies.”



  • Credit: Chulalongkorn University