Professor Kelsey Shanks

Professor of Education - UNESCO Chair

School of Education

Coleraine campus

Cromore Road,
Co. Londonderry,
BT52 1SA,
Professor of Education - UNESCO Chair

Professor Kelsey Shanks


Professor Kelsey Shanks – UNESCO Chair in Education for Peacebuilding and Human Rights

Professor Kelsey Shanks, holds the UNESCO Chair in Education for Peacebuilding and Human Rights. Her research agenda focuses on the relationship between education and conflict in divided societies, with an exploration of education’s links to post-conflict stabilisation and peacebuilding agendas. She has conducted extensive research in Iraq, along with work in Ukraine, Syria and Somalia.

Kelsey has a demonstrated record of external engagement, having provided guidance and briefings on education, peace and conflict to UN agencies, government bodies and various INGOs, most recently speaking at the Education Cannot Wait Education Forum on Syria and the UNICEF MENA education forum. She has led research projects for a range of international actors, including OHCHR, UNAMI, UNESCO, UNICEF, USAID and GIZ.
Kelsey holds a British Academy Bilateral Chair in Education in Conflict and Crisis, partnered with Koya University in Iraq.

She is also currently the lead investigator on a number of ongoing projects including; The PEER Network, an AHRC Network Plus Grant, in partnership with the University of Sussex, the University of Nazarbayev, and the University of Cape Town; Critically Understanding Education for Peace, an AHRC network grant in partnership with Bristol University and the IFRC; and The Iraqi Schools Project in partnership with UNESCO Iraq.
Kelsey has a PhD in Political Science from the University of Exeter.

Her subsequent academic career has been research focused, with fellowships at the University of York Postwar Reconstruction and Development Unit (PRDU) and the University of Exeter Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies (IAIS). She served as the Challenge Leader for education research within UKRI’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) between 2018 and 2021. Kelsey is the author of Education and Ethno-Politics; Defending identity in Iraq (Routledge, 2015) and various book chapters and articles.