Wilson Center Experts
The journey that made me the educator, teacher educator, and scholar that I am today has been long, eventful, and marked by ambitious dreams to become what most believed I could not become, and memories of arduously marching to reach goals that have always been as ambitious as the dreams themselves. I was born, raised, and educated in Burundi, Africa where education was a scarce commodity. My 10 mile round trip to my elementary school taught me to negotiate the early morning dew and thick fog that often intimidated my daily hilly assent from my thatch-roof village hut to the gates of "civilization." My journey among the chosen ones to attend secondary school taught me to keep on walking even when my young legs could carry me no further as I regularly made the over 100 miles trip from my village to my boarding school in northern Burundi, barefoot, carrying a wooden case with my belongings on my head. Throughout my schooling, silencing and even dehumanizing teaching practices went unchallenged. I witnessed the 1972 genocide of the Hutu by the Tutsi-dominated government and military in Burundi, and thus learned at a very young age that oppression and violence are the antithesis to peace and development. I journeyed to the West to further my education, only to discover that there too, a host of socio-cultural factors privileged some while disempowering others in schools and society. Consequently, as I slowly matured as a learner, educator, and scholar, I affirmed my belief and faith in the power of education to restore humanity and mediate peace among people and nations through the development of critical social consciousness. I developed an educational philosophy that reconceptualizes teaching and learning as a life-changing experience that brings teachers and students together to explore the existing knowledge and its impact on the individual, the community, and the world, and to develop an educated and constructive vision of the contribution that each person must make towards the building of an equitable and just society. I became an advocate of every person's right to an empowering education that welcomes and validates human cultural diversity and the ensuing diverse individual and collective narratives. I welcomed my role as educator and scholar as an opportunity to alter dispositions and behaviors and to refocus our human and humanistic energy on creating a peaceful society where equity and social justice are afforded to all people regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, social class, language, age, exceptionality, nationality, and sexual orientation. My current project, which seeks to transform education for peace in Burundi and the African Great Lakes region, grows out of my commitment to help redefine educational policies and practices in order to build cultures of peace.
B.A. (1983) English Language and Literature, University of Burundi, Africa;
M.Ed. (1987) Teaching English for Specific Purposes, University of Exeter, U.K.;
Ed.D. (1994) Curriculum and Instruction, Bilingual/Multicultural Education, Northern Arizona University, Arizona
- Associate Professor of Education, George Mason University, 2005-present
- Assistant Professor of Multicultural Education, University of Nevada-Reno, 2001-2005
- Adjunct Faculty, Teacher Education, Northern Arizona University, 1990-2001
- Assistant Professor of English and Teacher Education, University of Burundi, 1988-1989
- Teacher of English and French, Junior High and Senior High Schools, Mesa Public Schools, Arizona (1995-2001)
- Teacher/Administrator Assistant, Phoenix Country Day School, Arizona, 1994-1995
- Teacher of English, Secondary Schools, Ministry of National Education, Burundi, 1983-1988
Teacher education; multicultural education; peace education; critical pedagogy; second and foreign language teaching
Focusing on Burundi primary and secondary education as a case study, I will develop a conceptual framework to help shape educational policy as the foundation of a grassroots movement for sustainable peace in the African Great Lakes Region. My 10-chapter book will analyze the condition of education; offer a blueprint for creating a culture of peace through policy, curriculum and pedagogy; and outline ways to engage parents, students and teachers in policy making. This data-informed perspective with practical implications for teacher training will enrich efforts to shift the current interethnic discourse toward a change paradigm by applying principles of multicultural education, critical pedagogy, and peace education.
- Building Cultures of Peace: Transdisciplinary Voices of Hope and Action, co-edited with Randall Amster (Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009).
- Seeds of New Hope: Pan-African Peace Studies for the Twenty-First Century, co-edited with Matt Meyer (Trenton, NJ: Africa World/Red Sea Press, 2009).
- 147 Tips for Teaching Peace and Reconciliation, with William M.Timpson, Edward Brantmeier, Nathalie Kees, Tom Cavanagh, and Claire McGlynn (Madison, WI: Atwood Publishing, 2009).