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Developing Global Partnerships for Higher Education in Conflict

Developing Global Partnerships for Higher Education in Conflict

Dr Tejendra Pherali and Dr Alexandra Lewis, UCL Institute of Education

Time: 17.00-19.00

Room: Drama Studio, UCL Institute of Education, 20 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AL.

Education plays an essential role in helping individuals and the societies in which they live to work towards better living circumstances and development: it has been theorised to improve quality of life1, as well as health and health equity2, while parent education may impact on earning capacity and prospects of their children3. Therefore, education is recognised as a fundamental human right by Article 26 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and reinforced as such by Articles 13 and 14 of the 1966 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. These instruments place a duty on signatory states to make basic education available and accessible to the general public, and to make higher education accessible on the basis of merit, by recognising education to be an economic, social and cultural right4. However, educational quality and capacities are severely diminished in fragile states, limiting positive development impacts, while poor educational design and delivery may also contribute to conflict and insecurity5. The internationally generated literature on the interconnections between education, peace and conflict is extensive, but the voices of those living in conflict-affected and fragile states are easily lost in the debate. We asked a spectrum of Somali higher education professionals whether the global narrative reflects regional and cultural knowledge production on these issues, and found that the Somali experience of education, peace and conflict is distinctive. We determined that understanding historical narratives, local participation and incorporating indigenous perspectives and cultural values is key to analysing the Somali experience, but also that the Somali narrative of civic participation in developing the core principles of conflict resolution and peacebuilding in education has much to offer to the wider debate on education in emergencies.

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