Visiting the forced visitors

Critical and decentered approach to Global Citizenship Education as an inclusive educational response to forced youth migration


  • Eva Harðardóttir PhD candidate
  • Ólafur Páll Jónsson Professor



global citizenship education,, refugee youth, inclusive education, decentering


  • Migrant and refugee youth face complex challenges pertaining to educational and social inclusion in Europe and international contexts.
  • Global Citizenship Education (GCE) has gained increased prevalence as an educational response to globalizing processes such as forced migration and resulting cultural diversity.
  • It is argued that a critical and decentered model of GCE can be applied as an inclusive educational response to refugee youth within national educational settings.
  • Visual and participatory educational practices emphasizing the role of the teacher as a 'visitor' are presented and discussed.

Purpose: To explore the role and possibilities of Global Citizenship Education (GCE) in attending to neglected aspects of inclusive education when responding to forced youth migration in Europe.

Approach: We discuss different approaches to GCE within the literature, their implications for refugee students within national educational settings and give an example of how critical GCE can be practiced in education.

Finding: Drawing on theoretical work of John Dewey and Hannah Arendt, in conjunction with more recent theoretical work on global citizenship within education, we argue that a critical and decentered model of GCE is important to support processes of inclusion and citizenship for refugee youth within national educational settings.

Implications: We apply and discuss the suggested theoretical approach in relation to pedagogical practices developed as a part of an ongoing research project on irregular processes of inclusion and citizenship for migrant and refugee youth in Iceland, Norway, and the UK.

Author Biographies

Eva Harðardóttir, PhD candidate

Eva Harðardóttir is a PhD candidate in education at the School of Education, University of Iceland, Reykjavík. She earned her Master’s degree in Education Policy and Management with honours from the University of Deusto in the Basque Country of Spain. Her PhD research focuses on refugee youth, inclusive education practices and developing conceptions of citizenship. Her study is being carried out within a larger research project concernign refugee youth within upper-secondary schools in Iceland, Norway and the UK. Eva is an experienced teacher at both upper-secondary and higher education levels specialising in migration, democracy, human rights and global citizenship. She also has substantial international policy development and implementation experience while working for the UN in Malawi.

Ólafur Páll Jónsson, Professor

Ólafur Páll Jónsson PhD, is a Professor of philosophy in the Department of Education and Diversity at the School of Education, University of Iceland. His main research interests revolve around democracy, inclusion, sustainability, and moral development in and through education. He is a member of the Education Policy Advisors Network for the Council of Europe and has recently directed a Nordic project on the implementation of sustainability education in the Nordic countries (


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