Monisha Bajaj

Primary Photo

Affiliated Organizations
  • Professor of International and Multicultural Education, University of San Francisco
  • Editor, International Journal of Human Rights Education
  • Editor, Encyclopedia of Peace Education
  • Curriculum developer, UNICEF and UNESCO

What are contexts and issues that you work on? How are you using peace education to address these issues? What keeps you going?

Some divisions that I see in peace education work are along the lines of class, race or gender in different contexts. In the courses I teach, we examine how these conflicts emerged, who benefits from them, and critically analyze how to dismantle and address them. I teach peace and human rights education to students in higher education settings from around the world so I see it as a space for students to interrogate, analyze, collaborate, and problem-solve together. What motivates me through good/bad moments is the tremendous energy and work being done on the ground against all odds.

How and why did you start working in peace education?

I was working in the field of human rights and also reading Paulo Freire's book "Pedagogy of the Oppressed." Speaking with victims everyday about what they had been through and the lack of legal and other remedies made me consider the field of peace and human rights education as a way to prevent such abuses from happening in the first place rather than working with people whose lives, families, and well-being had already been destroyed through horrific instances of (often-times state-sponsored) torture, rape, and violence. I believe education can be transformative and —like Freire says— liberatory, when focused on working towards peace, human rights and social justice.