Tibbitts, Felisa L. (ft2442)

Felisa L. Tibbitts

UNESCO Chair in Human Rights and Higher Education

Office Location:

376 GDodge

Educational Background

A.B. Harvard College
M.P.P. Harvard Kennedy School of Government
M.Ed. Harvard Graduate School of Education, with Certificate of Advanced Studies (ABD)
D.Phil Otto-von-Guericke-Universitat Magdeburg

Scholarly Interests

My research interests are in human rights, (global) democratic citizenship and peace education; curriculum policy and reform; critical pedagogy; human rights and higher education transformation.

My current projects are in global citizenship education and teacher preparation, youth activists and school experiences; and the infusion of human rights within higher education and the training of professionals.

Felisa Tibbitts is a Lecturer in the Comparative and International Education Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research interests include human rights education, global citizenship education & peace education in schools and higher education; curriculum policy & reform; critical pedagogy; and education and social movements. She was a Fulbright Fellow at Lund University, Sweden (Fall 2014) and a Human Rights Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (2011-2013).

She has published practical resources on curriculum, program development and evaluation on behalf of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNICEF, UNESCO, OSCE/ODIHR, the Council of Europe and non-governmental organizations such as Amnesty International and the Open Society Foundations. Dr. Tibbitts is widely read in the field of human rights education and her scholarship has appeared in numerous books and journals including Comparative Education, Teaching and Teacher Education, Journal of Peace Education, Intercultural Education, Prospects, and the International Review of Education.

Previously she was an adjunct faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the UN-mandated University for Peace. She is affiliated with the Human Rights Centre in the Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance of Utrecht University (Netherlands) and Nelson Mandela University(South Africa). She also co-founded the NGO Human Rights Education Associates (HREA – www.hrea.org) which she directed from 1999-2011 and remains active in international HRE networks. She received her Bachelor’s degree and two Master’s degrees (Public Policy, Education) from Harvard University and her D.Phil. in Political Science from the Otto-von-Guericke Universität of Magdeburg (Germany).

IBE UNESCO (2018). Training Tools for Curriculum Development: A Resource Pack for Global Citizenship Education (GCED). Geneva: IBE -UNESCO. Tibbitts was the primary author.

Lücke, M., Tibbitts, F., Engel, E. and Fenner, L. (Eds). (2016). CHANGE: Combining History Learning and Human Rights Education. Schwalbach: Wochenschau Verlag.

Tibbitts, F. (2015). Curriculum Development and Review for Education for Democratic Citizenship and Human Rights. Strasbourg: Council of Europe, in collaboration with UNESCO, OSCE/ODIHR and the Organization of American States.

ICAP (2013). Human Total: A Violence Prevention Learning Resource. Washington, DC: International Center for Alcohol Policies. Tibbitts was one of three primary authors of draft 1.

Tibbitts, F. (2011). Civic and Intercultural Education textbook for Kosovo lower secondary schools. Tibbitts was lead author for the first draft of this pupil textbook, supported by the OSCE High Commissioner for National Minorities and published by the Kosovo Ministry of Education.

Tibbitts, F. (2010). Learning from Our Experience. Human Rights Education Monitoring and Evaluation Toolkit. London: Amnesty International.

Tibbitts, F. (2010). Community Based Paralegal Programs: A Practitioner' Guide. New York: Open Society Justice Initiative.


UNRWA (2009). Human Rights Education Curriculum, Grades 7-9. Tibbitts was a primary author of the curriculum developed for UNRWA’s Gaza schools.

ODIHR/OSCE, OHCHR, Council of Europe, UNESCO (2009). Human Rights Education in the School Systems of Europe, Central Asia and North America: A Compendium of Good Practice. Warsaw: OSCE. Tibbitts was editor.

Sinclair, M. (in collaboration with L. Davies, A. Obura and F. Tibbitts) (2008). Learning to Live Together: Design, Monitoring and Evaluation of Education for Life Skills, Citizenship, Peace and Human Rights. Eschborn and Paris: GTZ and UNESCO.

Human Rights Education Associates (2007). Educators’ Guide for Crimes of War: What the Public Should Know. Cambridge, MA. Tibbitts was senior editor.

Belisle, K., and Sullivan, E. (2006). Human Rights and Service Learning. New York and Cambridge: Amnesty International-USA and Human Rights Education Associates. Tibbitts was senior editor.

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (2004). Bill of Rights in Schools (BORIS): A Resource for Post-Primary Schools. Belfast. Tibbitts was on the writing team.

UNESCO (2002). Training Manual on Children’s Rights in China. Tibbitts was primary writer; developed with the Children’s Development Center of China.

Tibbitts, F. (2001). Manual on Street Law-Type Teaching Clinics at Law Faculties: Prepared for Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, the Southern Caucasus, Central Asia and Mongolia. Budapest: Constitutional and Legal Policy Institute.

Tibbitts, F. (1997). Evaluation in the Human Rights Education Sector: Getting Started. The Hague: Netherlands Helsinki Committee.

Tibbitts, F. (1995). Human Rights Education in Schools: Planning for the Future. Handbook for Helsinki Committees. Vienna: International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, pp. 6‑8 to 6‑13.


2018 CIES Innovation Award

2016 Ed O’Brien Award for Human Rights Education, issued by Human Rights Educators USA.

Fulbright Specialist in higher education, with a focus on citizenship and human rights education. Based at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute of Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Lund, Sweden, fall 2014.

Human Rights Fellow, Carr Center for Human Rights, Harvard Kennedy School of Government (2009-11)

Certificate of Merit Award, Conference of Eastern Educators Research Association (1991) for the paper “The Courtship and Consequences of Liberalization: Snapshot of Educational Restructuring in Central East Europe”.

Harvard Institute for International Development research grant recipient (1990). This grant subsidized field work in five countries in Central and Eastern Europe shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Pforzheimer Fellow (1989-90).  Merit scholarships awarded to incoming Harvard doctoral students.

Rotary Graduate Fellow (1981-2). Merit scholarship for graduate study at Lund University, Sweden.


Tibbitts, F. (2019) Deliberative democratic decision making, universal values, and cultural pluralism: A proposed contribution to the prevention of violent extremism through education. Prospects: Quarterly Review of Comparative Education, April, https://rdcu.be/buWx9

Yemini, M. Tibbitts, F. and Goren, H. (2018). Trends and Caveats: Global Citizenship Education within the Teacher Education Literature, Teaching and Teacher Education, 77, pp. 77-89.

Tibbitts, F. and Weldon, G. (2017). History curriculum and teacher training: shaping a democratic future in post-apartheid South Africa? Comparative Education, 53(3), pp. 442-461.

Tibbitts, F. (2016). Political Autobiography: Reflexive Inquiry in the Preparation of Social Justice Educators. International Journal of Educational Sciences. 13(1), pp. 108-117.

Tibbitts, F. (2016). Women’s Human Rights Education in Turkey: Feminist Pedagogy and Trainer’s Engagement in Social Change. Journal of Peace Education, 13(1), pp. 41-59.

Tibbitts, F. (2014). Human Rights Education Here and Now: U.S. Practices and International Processes. Journal of International Social Studies. 4(2), pp. 129-134.

Tibbitts, F. and Kirchschläger, P.G. (2010). Perspectives of Research on Human Rights Education. Journal of Human Rights Education 2(1), pp. 8-29.


Tibbitts, F. (2006). Learning from the Past: Supporting Teaching through the Facing the Past History Project in South Africa. Prospects: Quarterly Review of Comparative Education. Vol. XXXVI: No.3. Geneva: Institute for Bureau of Education, UNESCO, pp. 295-317.

Tibbitts, F. (2002). Emerging Models for Human Rights Education. International Review of Education, 48(3-4), pp. 159-171.

Tibbitts, F. (2001). Prospects for Civics Education in Transitional Democracies: Results of an Impact Study in Romanian Classrooms. Intercultural Education, 12(1).





Tibbitts, F. and Katz, S. (2018). Dilemmas and Hopes for Human Rights Education: Curriculum and Learning in International Contexts. Prospects: Quarterly Review of Comparative Education, 47 (1-2).

Fritzsche, K.P. and Tibbitts, F.(eds.) (2006). International Perspectives on Human Rights Education. Special issue of Journal of Social Science Education, (1).

Tibbitts, F. (2005). Human Rights Education and Transformative Learning. Special issue of Intercultural Education, 16(2).




Tibbitts, F. and Hagenaars, P. (forthcoming). Planning Human Rights Education for Psychologists. In P. Hagenaars, M. Plavšić, N. Sveaas, U. Wagner and T. Wainwright. Human Rights and Human Rights Education for Psychologists. New York: Routledge.

Tibbitts, F. and Hagenaars, P. (forthcoming). Chapter 32. Education of Psychologists for Human Rights Awareness, Accountability and Action. In N. S. Rubin (ed.) Cambridge Handbook on Psychology and Human Rights. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Tibbitts, F. (2018). Contested Universalism and human rights education: Can there be a deliberative hybrid solution for schooling? In Zembylas, M. and Keet, A. (Eds.), Critical Human Rights, Citizenship and Democracy Education. London: Bloomsbury.

Tibbitts, F. (2017). Evolution of Human Rights Education Models. In Bajaj, M. (Ed.), Human Rights Education: Theory, Research, Praxis. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 69-95.

Claude, R.P. and Tibbitts, F. (2016). Chapter 20. Right to Education and Human Rights Education. In Claude, R.P., Weston, B. and Grear, A. (Eds.), Human Rights in the World Community, 4th edition. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, pp. 207-216.

Tibbitts, F. and Keet, A. (2016). Curriculum Reform in Transitional Justice Environments: The South African Human Rights Commission, Human Rights Education and the Schooling Sector. In Zajda, J.(Ed.), Globalisation and Human Rights Education. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer Publishing, 87-109.

Tibbitts, F. (2015). Building a Human Rights Education Movement in the United States. In Katz, S. and Spero, A.(Eds.), Bringing Human Rights Education to U.S. Classrooms. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Tibbitts, F. and Totten, S. (2012). Human Rights Education. In Pederson, J. and Totten, S. (Eds.) Educating About Social Issues in the 20th and 21st Centuries. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, pp. 195-221.

Tibbitts, F. (2008). Human Rights Education. In Bajaj, M. (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Peace Education. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.


Tibbitts, F., Nygren, T., Novak, J., Bentrovato, D., Wassermann, J, and Anamika (forthcoming). Insights from Students on Human Rights Education in India, South Africa, Sweden and the United States in J. Zajda (Ed.) Human Rights Education Globally. Amsterdam: Springer Books.

Yemini, M. Tibbitts, F. and Goren, H. (forthcoming). Re- and De-contextualizing Global Citizenship Education – Systematic Analysis of the Scholarship in the Field. In John Meyer (ed.), Research on Teaching Global Issues, Research in Social Education series. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Tibbitts, F. (2018). Principles for Building Human Rights-Infused Intercultural Competencies. In N. Palaiologou and M. Zembylas Human Rights and Citizenship Education: an intercultural perspective. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishers.

Tibbitts, F. and Nelson, R. (2018). “The treatment of human beings as objects”: How US students view human rights *and how they learned about them in school in A. Magendzo (ed), Pedagogy and Didactics of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights seventy years after its promulgation (1948-2018).

Tibbitts, F. (2014). Shadow. In Towards a Just Society: The Personal Journeys of Human Rights Educators. Santiago: Universidad Academia de Humanismo and Minneapolis, MN: Human Rights Center of the University of Minnesota, pp. 118-120.

Tibbitts, F. (2012). Human Rights Education. In Sinclair, M. (ed.). Education for Global Citizenship. Doha, Qatar: Education Above All, pp. 195-218.

Tibbitts, F. and Fernekes, W. (2010). Human Rights Education. In Totten, S. and Pederson, J.E. (eds.) Teaching and Studying Social Issues: Major Programs and Approaches. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, pp. 87-117.



Tibbitts, F. (2018) Human rights education: The good surf and re-claiming human rights, Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, 36(1), pp. 64-74.

Tibbitts, F. (2017). Have we made a positive difference? Coyote Magazine, #25. European Union and Council of Europe. http://pjp-eu.coe.int/en/web/coyote-magazine/issue-25

Tibbitts, F. (2017). “Preparing for Difficult Conversations”. Education International “Worlds of Education” blog. https://worldsofeducation.org/en/woe_homepage/woe_detail/15253/preparing-for-difficult-conversations July 18.

Tibbitts, F. (2015). Response to “The Shaky Legal Foundations of the Global Human Rights Education Project”. Journal of International Social Studies, 5(1), pp. 172-173.

Tibbitts, F. (2015). Understanding Human Rights: Educational Challenges for the Future. Human Rights Quarterly, Vol. 37, pp. 277-283.

Tibbitts, F. (2013). Turkey’s Mixed Record on Rights. Op-ed, Boston Herald, 6/22.

Human Rights Education Associates (HREA)                                                                                  Boston, USA

Co-Founder and Executive Director (1996-2011). Senior Advisor (2012 – 2015)

Senior manager and technical specialist for innovative programs in human rights, law-related, peace and civic education.  Focus includes policy development, materials development, training, and evaluation. Projects carried out in Armenia, China, Croatia, and Morocco.


Netherlands Helsinki Committee (1993-1996)                                                                      Utrecht, Netherlands

Coordinator, Human Rights Education Programmes

Project manager and technical assistant for $1.5 M human rights education programs in Romania, Albania, Estonia and the Ukraine, entailing curricular development, materials pre-testing, teacher training and organizational development.  These national programs resulted in the development of over half a million new texts in political education, over a dozen national trainings, and new civics subject standards. 

UNESCO and UNODC (2018). Strengthening the Rule of Law through Education: A Guide for Policymakers. Paris: UNESCO. Tibbitts was the expert drafting the policy guidelines.

Tibbitts, F. (2016). Universal Values: Origins, Debates, Renewals and Schooling. Discussion paper prepared for IBE UNESCO. Unpublished internal document.

Tibbitts, F. (2015). Human Rights Education Indicator Framework. Cambridge and London: HRE 2020.

Tibbitts, F. (2014). Building Human Rights-Infused Intercultural Competencies. Paris: UNESCO.

Tibbitts, F. (2012). Guidelines for Human Rights Education in Secondary School Systems. Warsaw: OSCE/ODIHR.

Bonard, P., Docherty, B., Gaggiolo, G., Kawali, D., Syed, S. and Tibbitts, F. (2011). Improving the Protection of Civilians in Situations of Armed Conflict. Fellows Working Paper, Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Tibbitts, F. (2008). Regional European Meeting on the World Programme for Human Rights Education. Strasbourg: Council of Europe.

Tibbitts, F. (2004). Literature Review on Outcomes of School-Based Programs related to “Learning to Live Together”. Geneva: International Bureau of Education, UNESCO.


Tibbitts, F. and Torney-Purta, J. (1999). Citizenship Education in Latin America: Preparing for the Future. Washington, DC: Inter-American Development Bank.

Tibbitts, F. and Torney-Purta, J. (1999). Education for Democracy Discussion Paper. Prepared for Institute for Educational Policy, Budapest for distribution within the Open Society Foundation network.

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997). National Guidelines for Human Rights Education. (Geneva). F. Tibbitts drafted and participated in revision.

Comparative International Education Society, Co-Chair of Citizenship and Democratic Education Special Interest Group (2014-6)

American Educational Research Association

Academic Council on the United Nations System

International Studies Association

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