Bio and CV


Felisa Tibbitts is Chair in Human Rights Education in the Department of Law, Economics and Governance at Utrecht University and UNESCO Chair in Human Rights and Higher Education. Her research interests include human rights, (global) democratic citizenship education and education for sustainable development; curriculum policy and reform; critical pedagogy; education and social movements; and human rights and higher education transformation. She was a Fulbright Fellow at Lund University, Sweden (Fall 2014) and a Human Rights Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (2011-2013). She was a full-time Lecturer at Teachers College of Columbia University between 2016 and 2022 and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Institute for the Study of Human Rights, Columbia University (2022-2023).

Felisa has published practical resources on curriculum, program development and evaluation on behalf of the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNICEF, UNESCO, OSCE/ODIHR, the Council of Europe and non-governmental organizations, such as Amnesty International and the Open Society Foundations. Dr. Tibbitts is widely read in the field of human rights education and her scholarship has appeared in numerous books and journals including Comparative Education, Teaching and Teacher Education, Journal of Peace Research, Journal of Social Science Education, Intercultural Education, Prospects: Quarterly Review of Comparative Education and the International Review of Education.

Previously she was an adjunct faculty member at the Harvard School of Education and the UN-Mandated University for Peace and she remains affiliated with the Nelson Mandela University in South Africa. She co-founded the NGO Human Rights Education Associates (HREA – www.hrea.org) in 1996, which she continues to direct. Felisa received her bachelor degree and two masters (Public Policy, Education) from Harvard University and her D.Phil in Political Science from the Otto-von-Guericke Universität of Magdeburg.


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Emancipatory Human Rights and the University (2024). Co-edited with Dr. Andre Keet, Nelson Mandela University. Publisher: Routledge.

Peer-Reviewed Articles

Tibbitts, F. (2023). Revitalizing the Mission of Higher Education through a Human Rights-Based Approach. Prospects. Special issue devoted to UNESCO’ Futures of Education initiative.

Olle Nolgård, Thomas Nygren, Felisa Tibbitts, Anamika Anamika, Denise Bentrovato, Paul Enright, Johan Wassermann, Oakleigh Welply (2020). A global history in a global world? Human rights in history education in the Global North and South, Historical Encounters, 7(1). http://hej.hermes-history.net/index.php/HEJ/article/view/146

Tibbitts, F. (2020) Deliberative democratic decision making, universal values, and cultural pluralism: A proposed contribution to the prevention of violent extremism through education. Prospects: Quarterly Review of Comparative Education, 48 (1), pp. 79-94. DOI: 10.1007/s11125-019-09444-2 https://rdcu.be/buWx9

Yemini, M. Tibbitts, F. and Goren, H. (2018). Trends and Caveats: Global Citizenship Education within the Teacher Education Literature, Teaching and Teacher Education, 77, pp. 77-89.

Tibbitts, F. and Weldon, G. (2017). History curriculum and teacher training: shaping a democratic future in post-apartheid South Africa? Comparative Education, 53(3), pp. 442-461.

Tibbitts, F. (2016). Political Autobiography: Reflexive Inquiry in the Preparation of Social Justice Educators. International Journal of Educational Sciences. 13(1), pp. 108-117.

Tibbitts, F. (2015). Women’s Human Rights Education in Turkey: Feminist Pedagogy and Trainer’s Engagement in Social Change.  Journal of Peace Education, 13(1), pp. 41-59.

Tibbitts, F. (2014).  Human Rights Education Here and Now: U.S. Practices and International Processes. Journal of International Social Studies. 4(2).


Tibbitts, F. and Kirchschläger, P.G. (2010). Perspectives of Research on Human Rights Education. Journal of Human Rights Education 2(1), pp. 8-29.

 Tibbitts, F. (2006). Learning from the Past: Supporting Teaching through the Facing the Past History Project in South Africa. Prospects, Vol. XXXVI: No.3. Geneva: Institute for Bureau of Education, UNESCO.

Tibbitts, F. (2002). Emerging Models for Human Rights Education. International Review of Education, 48(3-4), pp. 159-171.

Tibbitts, F. (2001). Prospects for Civics Education in Transitional Democracies: Results of an Impact Study in Romanian Classrooms. Intercultural Education, 12(1).

Guest Editor

Tibbitts, F. and Katz, S. (2018). Dilemmas and Hopes for Human Rights Education: Curriculum and Learning in International Contexts. Prospects: Quarterly Review of Comparative Education, 47 (1-2).

Fritzsche, K.P. and Tibbitts, F. (eds.) (2006). International Perspectives on Human Rights Education. Special issue of Journal of Social Science Education, (1).

Tibbitts, F. (2005). Human Rights Education and Transformative Learning.” Special issue of Intercultural Education, 16(2). (more…)

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OSCE, History education textbooks, Bosnia-Herzegovina


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            One UN, evaluation of peacekeeper trainings, Darfur


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 RWI, trainings for ‘purged’ human rights academics on carrying out online teaching, Turkey



UNICEF, global evaluation of Life Skills programming, Jordan


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UNDP, training of UN staff in the human rights-based approach, Thailand


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Ministry of Education, Human rights education course for middle schools, Armenia

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IGA384_Class Photo_1 May 2013My Teaching Background and Philosophy

I have worked as an educator in a range of educational venues, beginning with a “classroom without walls” experience with high school students visiting Washington DC; to teacher trainings in over 20 countries; to online courses with adult learners who were human rights, humanitarian and development workers; and finally to higher education courses with graduate students in education and in public policy.   I began a non-governmental organization exclusively devoted to promoted education and training in human rights. I bring this commitment and passion to learning to every class I teach.

ICTJ panel

I believe in education as a powerful tool in personal development and social transformation, and my teaching is based on this principle. I design my courses, trainings and mentoring around methods that involve critical self reflection, analysis of the community and world they live in, and motivation to taking action. I use a multi-disciplinary approach to help my students’ connect academic inquiries to issues they face outside of the classroom. Through my teaching and mentoring, I aim to help students come to understand themselves better as individuals, members of groups, and as contributors to society.

Courses Taught

International Perspectives on Peace and Human Rights Education

Issues and Institutions in International Education Development

Curriculum and Pedagogy in International Contexts

Citizenship Education and Latin America

Education and National Development

Monitoring and Evaluation in the NGO Sector

International Organizations, Civil Society and Peace Education

Human Rights in Education

Tools for Human Rights Practice

Human Rights-Based Programming

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