Michalinos Zembylas

Photo / Foto
NameMichalinos Zembylas
Affiliated Organizations
  • Professor of Educational Theory and Curriculum Studies, Open University of Cyprus
  • Honorary Professor for Critical Studies in Higher Education Transformation, Nelson Mandela University
  • Research Fellow, Unit for Institutional Change and Social Justice, University of the Free State
  • Co-Chair, Bi-communal Technical Committee for Education
  • Author, Psychologized Language in Education: Denaturalizing a Regime of Truth (with Z. Bekerman)
  • Author, Critical human rights education: Advancing social-justice-oriented educational praxes (with A. Keet)
  • 2016 Recipient of the Distinguished Researcher Award in “Social Sciences and Humanities” from the Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation
Country of origin / País de origenCyprus
Address (where you do your work) / Dirección (donde realiza su trabajo)Latsia
Divisions / Motivations

My context of origin is Cyprus. Over the last six decades, Cyprus has been deeply marked by what has become known as the Cyprus Issue, which refers to the intractable ethnic conflict between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. Public and political consciousness in each of the two communities in Cyprus has been dominated by narratives that violence, trauma and suffering have been caused by the other side. The educational systems in both sides reflect this national consciousness and have aimed consistently over the years to cultivate the collective memory of conflict, and the accompanying collective emotions of national trauma as well as animosity and even hatred for the other community. My work in peace education engages with how school practices and discourses are entangled with emotions in relation to issues of ethnicity, peace, human rights, mourning, memory, and reconciliation; this work attempts to develop research-based pedagogies and policies that take into consideration the affective complexities involved in efforts to engage students and teachers in peace education. What gets me going through good and bad moments in my peace education related work is that a thoughtful, stepwise approach can indeed have profound impact on social and political transformation, even if it takes a lot of time and effort to see these changes.

Start in the field & motivations / Inicio en este campo y motivaciones

I started working in this field 20 years ago, after I returned to Cyprus from my studies in the United States. I began participating in various research projects in conflict and post-conflict contexts, such as Israel/Palestine, Northern Ireland and South Africa and collaborated with colleagues in Cyprus and abroad to offer teacher education workshops and policy making recommendations related to issues of peace education, human rights education and social justice education.

Significant Career Moments & Success Stories / Momentos significativos de tu carrera y historias de éxito

The most striking moment in my work was contributing from my position as Co-Chair of the Bi-communal Technical Committee for Education to establish and maintain the program “Imagine”—an exemplary program of peace, intercultural and anti-racist education implemented since 2016 that brings together Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot children, youth and teachers. During the last three years that Imagine has been implemented, it has had an incredible impact on peace-building efforts in Cyprus by managing to bring together 5000 Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot children and youth and 600 teachers in the Home for Cooperation and Ledra Palace Hotel (Buffer Zone in Nicosia).

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