The Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies at the University of Rhode Island (URI) congratulates Dr. Larisa Kasumagić-Kafedžić for winning the International Nonviolence Trainer’s Award on April 1, 2023. She is honored for teaching and practicing intercultural education, nonviolence, and peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and internationally, with courage and determination for diverse people and cultures to learn and thrive together.
Dr. Kasumagić-Kafedžić is the Founder and President of the Peace Education Hub at the University of Sarajevo. She is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Sarajevo, at the Department of English Language and Literature. She is currently a Fulbright scholar and a visiting associate professor at the Department of Global Development at Cornell University. Over the years, Dr. Kasumagić-Kafedžić has taught many peace-related courses, including Intercultural Leaning, Interculturalism in Language Education, Peace Education, and Critical Global Citizenship, at different international higher education institutions.
Born and raised in the former Yugoslavia and spending her young adult years amidst the tragic violence and the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dr. Kasumagić-Kafedžić witnessed the terrible impact of violence on the well-being and lives of her community, family, friends, and fellow citizens. At the start of the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, she was graduating from high school in her hometown of Zenica. She could not attend the university in Sarajevo as the city was under siege for four years of the war. During this time, she developed a strong determination to bring a peaceful change to Bosnia and Herzegovina through the means of providing healing and reconciliation for the most vulnerable population of children in the years immediately following the war and through education, teacher development, and international collaborations in the past 20 years. With such motivation, she has studied hard and worked tirelessly to fulfill this commitment to developing peace in the post-war communities and to bring about positive social transformation and change through different levels of formal and non-formal education since her teenage years.
Today, Dr. Kasumagić-Kafedžić is an Associate Professor at the University of Sarajevo. She has earned her Ph.D. in Educational Sciences and English Language Pedagogy from the University of Sarajevo. She received her master’s degree in international development with a concentration in Education (M.P.S.) from Cornell University in 2005, following her Bachelor of Arts in English Studies from Sarajevo University in 2001. Professor Kasumagić-Kafedžić attended the International Nonviolence Summer Institute at the University of Rhode Island’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies in June 2011 and received her Level I Kingian Nonviolence Trainers certification. She has continued social services and educational initiatives for peace, intercultural understanding, and harmony, which she started as a young teenager.
Besides teaching at universities including Cornell University (Ithaca, New York), University of Sarajevo (Sarajevo, BiH), Malmö University (Malmö, Sweden), and Sophia University (Tokyo, Japan), Dr. Kasumagić-Kafedžić started conducting research, writing journal articles, and publishing books to reach more people beyond her universities. She played a crucial role in multiple projects, including the American and Bosnian Collaboration Project (ABC); Higher Education Pedagogies for Peacebuilding by AHRC Research Networking; Study on Trauma, Trust, and Memory; Action Research Communities for Language Teachers by the European Center for Modern Languages; Democracy Education project by the European Wergeland Centre Oslo- Preparing Future Teachers in the Western Balkans; ENABLE BiH of the Organization Save the Children: Improving primary and secondary education in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and many others.
She published journal articles, book chapters, and research project reports in language education, intercultural learning, teacher development, and peace pedagogy. Dr. Kasumagić-Kafedžić has edited and written several books and e-books. Her latest writing project, a book volume Peace Pedagogies in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Theory and Practice in Formal Education, is co-edited with Dr. Sara Clarke-Habibi (Springer, 2023), and it provides an overview of theories and principles in peace pedagogies and teacher practices of integration of peace learning and peace activism in formal education in BiH.
Many universities, including the University of Rhode Island at Kingston, RI; Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; College of William and Mary at Williamsburg, VA; Malmö University in Sweden; Sophia University, Hiroshima University and Toyo Eiwa University in Japan; the University of Hong Kong; Purkyne University in the Czech Republic; University of Rwanda, Kigali, and several other universities in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Europe warmly received Dr. Kasumagić-Kafedžić for lectures or presentations. Various institutions recognized her contribution to peace service with awards, including the Goran Bubalo Peace Award by the Network for Building Peace in 2021, in the category of educational institutions (Award presented to the Peace Education Hub of the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Sarajevo) and the International Nonviolence Trainers Award (2023) from the University of Rhode Island’s Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies.
Despite her achievements and recognitions, Dr. Kasumagić-Kafedžić remains a very humble and cheerful person at heart. In addition to mentoring and teaching graduate and undergraduate students, Dr. Kasumagić-Kafedžić also organizes the online Peace Pedagogy Summer School at Peace Education Hub at the University of Sarajevo. She also contributes to numerous national and international projects related to peace and nonviolence.
Again, the University of Rhode Island Center for Nonviolence and Peace Studies sincerely thanks Dr. Kasumagić-Kafedžić for her peaceful mission and congratulates her for winning the International Nonviolence Trainer’s Award.
To learn more or support her projects, please visit the Peace Education Hub website: https://peacehub.ba/