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New York launch for education in conflict and emergencies research programme

Posted on 21 February 2012

A University of York research programme exploring the role of education in addressing violent conflict and humanitarian emergencies will be officially launched in New York this week.

Education in Conflict and Emergencies brings together an interdisciplinary team to study the part education can play in responding to violence, post-conflict recovery and building lasting peace.

A partnership between the University’s Post-war Reconstruction and Development Unit (PRDU) and the Institute for Effective Education (IEE), it will be officially launched at a University of York alumni event in New York on Wednesday, 22 February.

The launch is part of a week-long visit to deepen relationships with a range of senior international policy-makers and York alumni in New York and Washington DC. Representatives from York will meet senior academics and officials from Columbia University and NYU - who have strong research interests in this area, the UN, the World Bank, the British Embassy and the British Council, as well as other leading international organisations working in the field of conflict and natural disasters.

The launch will take place at an event organised by the University of York in America Foundation, an organisation that helps support alumni, promote the University of York and raise funding to support student scholarships.

Education is accepted internationally as the ‘fourth pillar of humanitarian aid’, along with food and water, shelter and health care. Of the 77 million children currently out of school, the majority have been affected by war or natural disaster. The countries in which they live often have poor governance, a lack of political commitment or weak capacity to develop pro-poor policies, as well as the looming threat of violent conflict.

To help understand the complex challenges, Education in Conflict and Emergencies aims to develop and support an evidence-based approach to policy and practice through academic and applied research. Based on several studies and publications, it has already demonstrated its ability to build theory and to shape the policy and practice of leading international agencies and non-governmental organisations working in this field.    

The York research programme was co-founded by Professor Sultan Barakat and Dr David Connolly from PRDU, and Professor Frank Hardman from IEE.

Professor Hardman said: “Education, specifically through schools and teachers, can provide a means of transforming violent conflict and building peace. It can provide a safe space and a sense of normality during situations of instability and contribute to the protection, both mentally and physically, of children, adolescents and adult learners.”

Professor Barakat added: “Today’s wars are characterised by high levels of civilian casualties, the widespread displacement of populations and the intentional targeting of civilian infrastructure, including schools. This has had a severe impact on access to education.”

The launch will be attended by representatives of PRDU and IEE, as well as distinguished alumni of the University of York. 

Notes to editors:

  • The launch of Education in Conflict and Emergencies will take place at the Flowers Gallery in Chelsea (529 West 20th Street), New York, on Wednesday, 22 February at 18.30hrs (US Eastern time).
  • For more information on Education in Conflict and Emergencies visit
  • For further information on the University of York’s Institute for Effective Education visit
  • For further information on the University’s Post-war Reconstruction and Development Unit visit

Contact details

Caron Lett
Press Officer

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