Transformative research from the margins

At JWL, we often speak about the transformative power of education and of transformative research. We highlight the importance of impact of programmes on students and how they, in turn, take meaningful action to serve their communities. A transformative and participative approach is applied to research as we investigate and measure the extent of this impact. It is research at the margins but conclusions would be incomplete without the participation of our graduates – making it research with, for and from the margins.

This Spring, JWL Global Research Director, Dr Isabella Rega, and Research Chair for Intercultural Social Transformation at the Munich School of Philosophy, Prof Dr Barbara Schellhammer, sent out a call for proposals from JWL Peace Leader graduates in Afghanistan and Iraq, for small scale yet creative research projects that would look into local needs in the areas of peacebuilding and conflict transformation.

In conflict-riddled Afghanistan, peacebuilding has been of local and international concern for over 40 years. However, a gap in studies surrounding the concept of servant leadership and a review of examples and assessment of local capacity has been identified – a gap which Nasir, Hajar and Esmati are aiming to contribute to filling. Over the next six months, they will be working to find out: Which leadership exercises exist/have existed in the local communities of Herat that can be related to the concept of servant leadership?


Meanwhile, in Iraq, Mustafa, Shaven and Jehan will be looking to identify the effects of stereotypes in [refugee] integration processes and what their role is in emerging conflicts, specifically in the context of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (host to Syrian refugees for close to a decade) – with a view to identifying solutions to tensions between both the refugee and host community and fostering harmony.

Through this exercise, the intention is also for selected applicants to develop,plan and conduct a research project that transforms people and societies through its findings as well as the research process itself. Stay tuned!