Dr. Laila Kadiwal


Dr. Laila Kadiwal works on the intersections of identity and education in conflict-affected settings, mainly in Tajikistan, India, Pakistan and the UK. She examines forms,  policies, practices, and discourses of ‘othering,’ in and through education. Dr. Kadiwal has specialist interests in the role of education, youth and teachers in conflict and peacebuilding in the global South and in the issue of education and conflict in Muslim contexts. She is particularly interested in how the complex identities of individuals, are selectively constructed and contextualised as a powerful mechanism for the mobilisation of support from the broader communities, as a way to polarise or unite communities in the context of global political, economic, ecological and cultural imperialism, authoritarianism, neoliberalism, and nationalism.

Her interest lies in thinking through how an ‘identity as freedom’ approach can help in addressing some of the questions of social divisions to facilitate the building of equitable and inclusive interrelationships.

Dr. Kadiwal also co-runs Best Foot Music (https://www.bestfootmusic.net/), an intercultural music and arts organisation which connects refugee and marginalised musicians with diverse heritages with extensive music networks and communities in the UK. Art and music are essential avenues which give artists, and broader community groups opportunities to explore questions of identity, social cohesion and integration.

Dr. Kadiwal was awarded her DPhil at the University of Sussex from School of Law, Politics, and Sociology in 2015. Her thesis examined the peacebuilding agency of teachers in a minority Muslim context. The research spanning three years involved in-depth interviews and focus groups with 21 trainee-teachers from 13 different countries. The study contributes to a niche in the existing literature on the role of teachers in social cohesion in Muslim communities.

Dr. Kadiwal graduated in MSc Higher Education from the University of Oxford with distinctions in core subjects in 2009. Using ethnographic methods, her work examined the adaptation of the UK teacher education model – the Postgraduate Certificate in Education – to the context of Dubai. The study investigated the young people’s and tutors’ role as active agents in negotiating cross-cultural dynamics in the offshore educational setting.