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Dr Alexandra Lewis
Dr Alexandra Lewis profile picture
  • Lecturer
  • IOE - Education, Practice & Society
  • UCL Institute of Education

Dr Alexandra Lewis is author of Security, Clans and Tribes: Unstable Governance in Somaliland, Yemen and the Gulf of Aden (2014). She works as a researcher of peace, conflict and education, and, though she specialises in the governance of these issues in the Middle East and North Africa, she has carried out field work in a variety of complex contexts worldwide, including; Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Russia, Somalia/Somaliland and Yemen. 

Dr Lewis was awarded her PhD at the University of York from the Post-war Reconstruction and Development Unit (PRDU) in 2012, where she worked under the supervision of Professor Sultan Barakat. For many years, her work has focused on youth violence, education, and the gendered dynamics of crime in fragile, war-affected states. She addresses these issues mainly from a security and governance perspective. She is currently engaged in several different research collaborations on post-conflict education, and leads a research project on civic education in Somaliland funded by the London International Development Centre. She is also an Associate of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (University of Hargeisa).

Dr Lewis has carried out commissioned research for a range of media, academic, non-governmental and governmental organisations. Among the United Nations and associated agencies, she has worked with: the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack, the International Organisation for Migration, the United Nations Development Project, the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, and others. She has also contributed research to the Department for International Development and the World Bank.

Research Groups
Research Summary

Dr Lewis currently leads a research investigation looking at the role of citizenship education in peace and conflict in Somali society, through a project that is run in collaboration with Dr Idil Osman at SOAS and implemented in Somaliland. More broadly, she is pursuing other research activities that look at the need for contextualisation in assessing the peacebuilding impact of education. One such avenue of research involves drawing a comparison between the roles of multiple curricula in Somalia/Somaliland and Iraq/Iraqi Kurdistan by developing research articles with Dr Kelsey Shanks at the University of Exeter.

Dr Lewis is also currently engaged in a collaborative research and teaching project with Dr Tejendra Pherali and the Somaliland University of Hargeisa, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, on global partnerships to support higher education for peacebuilding. She is interested in the role of education in promoting peace and conflict in Somali settings specifically, but has also worked in a variety of other conflict-affected and fragile settings. She has carried out research in Yemen, Afghanistan, Lebanon and other unstable locations, as well as in contexts of protracted displacement, such as Jordan and Bosnia-Herzegovina 

Alongside the above projects, Dr Lewis is involved in a long-standing collaboration with Dr Neil Winn at the University of Leeds, School of Politics and International Studies, through a series of publications addressing the securitisation of EU aid in the Horn of Africa region. 

Teaching Summary

Dr Lewis teaches on the MA in Education and International Development at the UCL Institute of Education. She tutors on several modules, including 'Education, Conflict and Fragility', 'Concepts, Theories and Ideas', and 'Education in Muslim Communities'. Alongside these responsibilities, Dr Lewis currently supervises four doctoral candidates working on education and peacebuilding

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