About me

Photo: Zahara Abdul @photobyzaharaabdul Twitter: @zahraabdul1

I am a political scientist by training, engaging in large and small multi-disciplinary research projects and collaborations combining the fields of: international development, education, political science, peace and conflict studies, and recently also public health. Since 2018 my research mainly focuses on violence against children and youth from an interdisciplinary angle, in the scope of my role as the qualitative lead researcher for a longitudinal mixed-methods study (CoVAC).

As a Lecturer (Assistant Professor), I am based at the University College London, Institute of Education (UCL-IoE), Department of Education Practice and Society (EPS), Centre for Education and International Development (CEID). In my research, work and teaching I am particularly interested in:

  • The politics of education in low-income and conflict-affected contexts
  • The interplay of education, gender and political agency
  • Gender, violence and education
  • Violence against children and youth
  • Civil society & political and social agency in conflict affected contexts

My research has a strong focus on Sub-Saharan Africa, but occasionally, I also work on countries outside that region. Among others, I am the module leader for a MA Module on African Studies and Education at UCL.

Before I joined the UCL, I was a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow (individual fellowship) at the University of Amsterdam (2016-2018), Department of Human Geography, Planning and International Development (GPIO). My project (Democratization through Education), funded by the European Commission, focused on the role of education in increasing civil agency and voice in the sub-Saharan African context. At the University of Amsterdam, I also taught the courses: ‘Education and International Development’ (BA) as well as ‘The Politics of Education, Conflict and Peace’ (MA).

From 2014-2016, I worked as a post-doctoral researcher (research associate) at the UNESCO Centre – Ulster University (School of Education), where I was part of a research consortium in partnership with UNICEF on Education and Peacebuilding. During that time, I acted as the lead researcher for the country case study on Uganda (see Peacebuilding and Education).

I obtained my PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science (2010–2014) in International Relations, where I also taught the courses ‘Democracy and Democratization’ and ‘International Organizations’. My thesis focused on the depoliticization of civil society during the peacebuilding and development process in Sierra Leone from 2007-13. Prior to my doctoral studies I worked for the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office in New York (2007–2010), for which I conducted research and in-depth analysis on several countries in transition from conflict to peace.

I have extensive field research experience in Sierra Leone and Uganda and a longstanding record in centralizing local perspectives. My research is published in highly ranked journals (e.g.: World Development, International Journal of Educational Development, International Peacekeeping, or Third World Quarterly) and esteemed international institutions (e.g.: SAIIA – South African Institute for International Affairs, UNICEF or TNI).

In the scope of my work, I rebel and research with a cause. In this endeavour I do not limit my work to academic publishing alone but explore various avenues – ranging from small-scale projects on the ground, to policy papers, blog post or various forms of art. Politics & Voice captures this path.

Get involved or contact me at: s.datzberger@ucl.ac.uk