Friday, June 29, 2018

Michelle Bellino featured in The University Record, discussing research on youth in conflict-affected areas


Professor Michelle Bellino was featured in The University Record in a June 25 Faculty/Staff Spotlight. The University Record is the official source for faculty-staff news at the University of Michigan, and is part of the U-M Office of the Vice President for Communications. Author Ben Bugajski interviewed Bellino about her work and how her research has evolved.

Bellino studies how youth in conflict-affected areas comprehend injustice and how education influences their civic participation. “During periods of conflict, youth are often cast as criminals or seen as a source of instability, or rendered passive victims. In the aftermath of conflict, we look to young people to be peacemakers. We often tell young people that they’re the generation to build peace and democracy, but we’re not always providing them the tools to do so,” she explains.

Bellino is investigating the potential for young people to view themselves as citizens with agency when it comes to building peace in the face of conflict. She examines the ways in which educational reforms relate to broader justice processes. Envisioning education as a “mechanism of transitional justice,” Bellino says, requires asking “how educational policies, curriculum, and interactions within schools might have played a role in shaping conflict dynamics, as well as what potential they have for creating a more peaceful and just society.”

She utilizes a youth participatory action research approach, meaning that the young people in her projects become co-researchers. In this way, her research process is collaborative and responsive to local culture. Bellino states that she is inspired by “the persistent optimism and healthy skepticism of the young people [she has] had the honor of working with.”

Michelle J. Bellino is Assistant Professor

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