Author Bio

Maria Hantzopoulos is Professor of Education at Vassar College, where she is the coordinator of the Adolescent Education Certification Program and a participating faculty member in International Studies; Media Studies; Urban Studies; Women, Feminist, and Queer Studies; and the Forced Migration Committee. She is the author of four books as well as many articles on school culture, project-based assessment, peace and human rights education, and critical ethnic/social studies curricula. As a community-engaged scholar and practitioner, Maria regularly conducts professional development for educators both locally and globally, and is active in writing curriculum for schools, NGOs, and youth organizations. Her projects and research have been supported by the Spencer Foundation, the British Council, and the Social Science Research Council. mahantzopoulos@vassar.edu

Monisha Bajaj is Professor of International and Multicultural Education at the University of San Francisco as well as a Visiting Professor at Nelson Mandela University in South Africa. She is the editor and author of eight books and numerous articles on issues of peace, human rights, migration, and education. Dr. Bajaj has developed curriculum and teacher training materials—particularly related to human rights, racial justice, ethnic studies, and sustainability—for non-profit and national advocacy organizations as well as inter-governmental organizations, such as UNICEF and UNESCO. In 2015, she received the Ella Baker/Septima Clark Human Rights Award (2015) from Division B of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). mibajaj@usfca.edu


In this article, we explore a pedagogical and conceptual tool we have refined and developed for the fields of peace, social justice, and human rights education: “the possibility tree.” Initially introduced in our 2021 book, we explore this tool in more depth in this article to show how such pedagogical and conceptual processes are key components of peace and human rights education praxis with greater implications for both research and teaching. Our aim is to provide an applied praxis-oriented framework for educators, practitioners, re-searchers, and theorists that are concerned with larger issues of peace, justice, and human rights. While we do not delve into the distinct theoretical concepts and genealogies (and their intersections) of peace and human rights education in this article, we use this opportunity to expand upon the importance of pedagogical and conceptual practices and their applicability, as these integral processes have ultimately remained underexplored in scholarship. To illustrate the potential, we also discuss how the concept of the “possibility tree” has been used by scholars and practitioners since the book’s publication in 2021. We posit that tools such as the possibility tree are necessary interventions, especially as pedagogies and practices of peace and human rights education are often sidelined in broader discussions that privilege theoretical framings over implications for pedagogy and praxis .

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