Dissertations and Theses

Date of Award


Document Type



International Relations

First Advisor

Jean Krasno

Second Advisor

Kimberly Gamble-Payne


Education, Civil Conflict, Curriculum, Kosovo, Pakistan, Sudan


Education has long been used as a tool for national identity formation and social cohesion. However, in diverse communities across the globe, the question must be asked: are educational institutions creating citizens with a narrow view of “us vs. them” or an identity built on multiculturalism and acceptance? Through past research, it is obvious that education has either acted as an instigator or mitigator of civil conflict, though to what extent is still largely unknown. In this thesis, I argue that both the extent and quality of education in a country can instigate or, at least, exacerbate the outbreak of civil conflict. To prove this hypothesis, I will highlight two educational factors as causally connected to civil conflict: educational access and educational content. First, educational access can affect civil conflict since a lack of educational and, in effect, economic opportunities may lead to rebel recruitment of a country’s youth. Second, educational content can affect civil conflict, as the language, images, and facts utilized in schools’ curricula may stir up ethnic and religious divides and hatred. In conclusion, though educational access is certainly connected to civil conflict, the results are varied, thus necessitating the need to dig deeper into the curricula of countries affected by civil conflict. These factors will help to pinpoint problem areas in the educational systems of countries dangerously close to civil conflict, as well as how to reshape educational policies for the future.



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