Evolving Roles and Responsibilities of International Higher Education in Peacebuilding

May 27-28, 2018 | Philadelphia, PA

The higher education community often finds itself in the midst of conflict as either target or as mediator. What roles should faculty, staff, and administrators play in alleviating conflict? What responsibilities do they have, and what actions can be taken to build sustainable peace?

The NAFSA Seminar on Peace & Global Civil Society brought together international educators with scholars and practitioners of peacebuilding. This NAFSA Signature Program featured powerful stories and examples of how higher education communities around the world have taken – and are taking on – the peacebuilding role, and have worked together across political and national boundaries to build peace and rebuild societies.

From promoting dialogue in Northern Ireland that diminishes internecine conflict, to countering violent extremism in Iraq and rebuilding a sustainable economy in Colombia. Participants engaged with experts on peacebuilding and conflict resolution, exploring how these agents of change in the international higher education sector have developed resources to promote social justice and heal trauma, created safes spaces for dialogue, and provided education that helps end conflict.


Sunday, May 27
5:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Welcome Reception and Networking
6:30 p.m.-6:45 p.m. Welcome and Overview
  • Dorothea Antonio, Deputy Executive Director, Knowledge Development, NAFSA
  • Sherif Barsoum, Assistant Vice President, Global Services, New York University
  • Thomas Rock, EdD, Vice Provost for Student Affairs, Teachers College, Columbia University
  • Maria Y. Reynoso, Associate Director, Compliance, International Students & Scholars Office, Columbia University
  • Elizabeth Worden, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Education, American University
6:45 p.m.-7:45 p.m. Opening Keynote - The Science of Sustaining Peace: Actionable Lessons from the Columbia University Human Peace Project
Peter Coleman, PhD, Director, Morton Deutsch International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution; Co-Executive Director of the Advanced Consortium on Cooperation, Conflict and Complexity (AC4), Professor of Psychology and Education, The Earth Institute, Columbia University
7:45 p.m.-8:00 p.m. Conclusion of Evening
Monday, May 28
8:30 a.m.-9:00 a.m. Opening Remarks
Elizabeth Worden, PhD

Part One: Case Studies

9:00 a.m.-9:45 a.m. Case Study: Northern Ireland
  • Brandon Hamber, PhD, John Hume & Thomas P. O'Neill Chair, International Conflict Research Institute (INCORE), Ulster University
  • Tony Gallagher, PhD, School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work; Institute for Global Peace, Security and Justice; Centre for Evidence and Social Innovation, Queen’s University, Belfast
  • Elizabeth Worden, PhD
9:45 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Case Study: Colombia
  • Raquel Sorza, Adviser to the Minister, Ministry of National Education, Colombia
  • Father Luis Fernando Munera Congote (of the Company of Jesus), PhD, Dean, Faculty of Political Sciences and International Relations, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana
  • Hernando A. Estevez, PhD, Dean of the School of Philosophy and Humanities; Associate Professor of Philosophy, Universidad de la Salle
10:30 a.m.-10:45 a.m. Coffee Break
10:45 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Case Study: Iraq
  • Fouad Kasim Mohammad, BVMS, MS, PhD, Professor, Pharmacology & Toxicology, Ministry Deputy for Scientific Research Affairs, Ministry of Higher Education & Scientific Research
  • Thomas Hill, PhD, Director, Initiative for Peacebuilding through Education; Clinical Associate Professor, Global Affairs, New York University
  • Lori Mason, EdD, Senior Technical Advisor, US–Iraq Higher Education Partnerships Program, Iraq University Linkages Program, IREX
11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Keynote Presentation: Global Perspectives on Actions to Promote Peace
Brandon Hamber, PhD
12:15 p.m.-1:15 p.m. Networking Lunch

Part Two: Strategies & Complications: Unpacking Action

1:15 p.m.-1:30 p.m. Introduction and Overview of Part Two
  • Moderator: Thomas Hill, PhD
  • Elizabeth Worden, PhD
1:30 p.m.-2:15 p.m. Panel 1: Dialogue

Facilitated Discussion
  • Moderator: Thomas Hill, PhD
  • Colombia: Guillermo Antonio Ruiz-Pava, Professor of the School of Humanities, CESA Business School
  • Northern Ireland: Tony Gallagher, PhD
  • Iraq: Fouad Kasim Mohammad, BVMS, MS, PhD
2:15 p.m.-3:00 p.m. Panel 2: Countering Violent Extremist Ideologies

Facilitated Discussion
  • Moderator: Thomas Hill, PhD
  • Colombia: Hernando A. Estevez, PhD
  • Northern Ireland: Tony Gallagher, PhD
  • Iraq: Lori Mason, EdD
3:00 p.m.-3:45 p.m. Panel 3: Providing Education & Training

Facilitated Discussion
  • Moderator: Thomas Hill, PhD
  • Colombia: Father Luis Fernando Munera Congote, PhD
  • Northern Ireland: Tony Gallagher, PhD
  • Iraq: Lori Mason, EdD
3:45 p.m.-4:30p.m. Panel 4: Policies & Politics

Facilitated Discussion
  • Moderator: Thomas Hill, PhD
  • Colombia: Raquel Sorza
  • Northern Ireland: Tony Gallagher, PhD
  • Iraq: Fouad Kasim Mohammad, BVMS, MS, PhD
4:30p.m.-4:45 p.m. Facilitated Discussion: Next Steps on Campus & In Your Community
Moderator: Thomas Hill, PhD
4:30p.m.-4:45 p.m. Summary and Conclusion
Elizabeth Worden, PhD

NAFSA thanks Teachers College, Columbia University; International Students and Scholars Office, Columbia University; and New York University, Office of Global Services for their generous support of this event. NAFSA also thanks Queen's University Belfast for providing a travel grant for this event.

History of the Event

NAFSA believes international education is a powerful tool to create understanding and respect among people of diverse backgrounds and perspectives, build leadership for the global community, and serve as a crucial means of developing an interconnected world. The annual NAFSA Seminar on Peace and Global Civil Society is a NAFSA Signature Program that brings together scholars and practitioners in peacebuilding with international educators, providing international educators with the opportunity to engage in global learning and incorporate the ideals, theories, and practices of peacebuilding into educational programming with the goal of promoting a more peaceable global civil society.

The seminar was originally named after Ron Moffatt, a past NAFSA president who was a tireless campaigner for peace and justice education through international education and advocate for international education as a peacebuilding enterprise.