First Advisor

Dannelle D. Stevens

Term of Graduation

Winter 2018

Date of Publication

Winter 1-18-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Curriculum and Instruction


Curriculum & Instruction




Hope, Peace-building -- Study and teaching (Higher), Refugees -- Education (Higher) -- Kenya



Physical Description

1 online resource (xii, 312 pages)


An unprecedented 65.6 million persons are forcibly displaced (e.g., refugees, asylum-seekers, IDPs). Half are youth. Hope is often the feeling that sustains youth through intolerable conditions. Basic education in protracted areas is seen as a protective factor that nurtures hope and psychosocial wellbeing in the lives of children and youth. This research sought to extend this concept to the higher education in protracted refugee context, where refugees (ages 18-35) were able to co-create spaces of hope that recognized their own agency and their ability to question the status quo while developing critical thinking skills. Based on a theoretical framework of the philosophy of hope, psychology of hope, pedagogy of hope, and critical hope, I explored with refugees their perceptions of hope before, during, and after their participation of my psychosocial peace-building education course over a period of six months. Using a pragmatic mixed-methods community-based action approach, I collected: 31 Hope Index of Staats surveys (pre, post, and a follow-up six months later), eight semi-structured interviews (two interviews and then a follow up six months later for each participant), student reflection journals, and researcher field notes. A thematic analysis revealed four themes: Reflecting on critical hope and critical despair; reconciling identities; resurfacing narratives and creating new narratives of hope; and restoring hope and agency in higher education. By nurturing hopeful views and co-creating opportunities for critical thinking skills, refugees seem to be able to continue to play a pivotal role in rebuilding a stronger, just, and peaceful civil society.


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