As the world hurdles towards the Millenium Development Goal commitment year of 2015, it is time to rethink the place of education in conflict. The nature of conflict has and will invariably continue to change. In most cases, this means protracted and asymmetric violence that maintains a more fluid and oftentimes longer state of insecurity than traditional war. In places like South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia, and now Mali, protracted conflict is keeping people away from their homes and vocations for years if not decades. The question before the panel will be how we re-conceptualize education for those affected by protracted conflict. Are students taught the curriculum of the country of their origin? Or, should they be prepared for a lifetime in their host country? These questions and greater analysis of education in emergencies in the post-2015 Millennium Development Goal Agenda will be discussed by a panel of experts on education and education in emergencies.


Sarah_Dryden-Peterson_PhotoSarah Dryden-Peterson leads a research program that focuses on the connections between education and community development, specifically the role that education plays in building peaceful and participatory societies. Her work is situated in conflict and post-conflict settings in sub-Saharan Africa and with African Diaspora communities in the United States and Canada. She is concerned with the interplay between local experiences of children, families, and teachers and the development and implementation of national and international policy. Her research reflects connections between practice, policy, and scholarship and is strengthened through long-term collaborations with UN agencies, NGOs, and communities. Current projects include Diaspora RE-ACT (Rebuilding Education and Community Together), which examines the role of Diasporas in rebuilding education systems post-conflict, specifically in Zimbabwe, South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Haiti; and the Borderless Higher Education for Refugees (BHER) project (in collaboration with the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University, Toronto), which seeks to improve teacher training and access to higher education for Somali refugees in Dadaab camp in northern Kenya. She is also working on a book arguing that the experiences of African immigrants and refugees in the United States offer a compelling model for reframing our understanding of immigrant integration as a community-building endeavor. Dryden-Peterson was a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) postdoctoral fellow affiliated with the Comparative, International & Development Education Centre at the University of Toronto. Her work has been supported by research grants from various organizations, including the SSHRC, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Save the Children, and the Andrew Mellon Foundation. Dryden-Peterson currently serves as Co-Chair of the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) Working Group on Education & Fragility. She previously taught middle school in Boston and founded non-profits in Uganda and South Africa.


Ita SheehyIta Sheehy is the Senior Education Officer at UNHCR, responsible for global education strategy and programming for refugees both in emergencies and in situations of protracted conflict. Ita has had a long career in education, moving from elementary school teacher to curriculum developer and college lecturer, interspersed with over 20 years in education programming in lower income countries in the global south. She has worked with grassroots organisations, international NGOs, bilateral organisations and with several branches of the United Nations, most notably UNICEF and UNHCR, in situations spanning rural development, natural disasters and conflict affected situations. The primary focus of Ita’s work over the past decade has been on education in situations of protracted conflict, with an emphasis on partnerships, systems strengthening, funding frameworks, and quality assurance. Her current work with UNHCR also includes increased integration of a solutions approach to refugee education and support for education for returnees.


Chris TalbotChris Talbot taught in Australian and French high schools for 17 years. He also worked in curriculum development and teacher training, focusing on education for peace, human rights, environmental and development education. From 1993-2002, Chris worked for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), based in Geneva. From 2000-2002, he was UNHCR’s Senior Education Officer, responsible for technical support and policy advice to the staff of UNHCR and its implementing partners, on the education of refugees worldwide. Between 2002 and 2008 he worked at UNESCO’s International Institute for Educational Planning, where he was responsible for a programme of research, publications, training and advocacy on Education in Conflict, Emergencies, Reconstruction and Fragile States. He documented case studies on these themes and developed a Guidebook for Planning Education in Emergencies and Reconstruction. In 2008-09, he established and led the UNESCO Section for Education in Post-Conflict and Post-Disaster Situations. In 2010, Mr Talbot was CEO of Education Above All (EAA), a Qatar-based policy research and advocacy organization, which aims to protect, support and promote the right to education in areas affected or threatened by crisis, conflicts and war. Since early 2011, Mr. Talbot has been a consultant, specializing in education in emergencies, working for agencies such as UNICEF, UNHCR, the CfBT Education Trust and the Open Society Foundations. He was a co-founder of the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) and of the Global Coalition for Protecting Education from Attack (GCPEA) and was active in their leadership.


Adelman_ElizabethElizabeth Adelman (Moderator) has over 10 years of experience working in international education and development in Latin America, Africa and Asia with expertise in: early grade literacy, monitoring and evaluation, research design and implementation, and program management. Elizabeth first began her career in international education in Concepcion, Chile where she founded and ran her own independent English language training program.  Since leaving Chile, Elizabeth has served in a variety of roles and supported numerous research projects and education programs across the globe.  Elizabeth oversaw early grade reading and school effectiveness research for the USAID and the World Bank and has lead research teams in a number of countries throughout the world, including: Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Mozambique and Kenya.  Her current research is focused on the use of child-to-child learning strategies as a cost-effective approach to supporting early grade literacy development. She is also supporting the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as well as the Aga Khan Foundation in the evaluation of two separate large-scale education projects implemented Kenya.  Elizabeth is presently pursuing her doctorate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where she also completed her M.A in International Education Policy.