Sarah Dryden-Peterson leads a research program that focuses on the connections between education and community development, specifically the role that education plays in building peaceful and participatory societies. Her work is situated in conflict and post-conflict settings in sub-Saharan Africa and with African Diaspora communities in the United States and Canada. She is concerned with the interplay between local experiences of children, families, and teachers and the development and implementation of national and international policy. Her research reflects connections between practice, policy, and scholarship and is strengthened through long-term collaborations with UN agencies, NGOs, and communities.
Current projects include Diaspora RE-ACT (Rebuilding Education and Community Together), which examines the role of Diasporas in rebuilding education systems post-conflict, specifically in Zimbabwe, South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Haiti; and the Borderless Higher Education for Refugees (BHER) project (in collaboration with the Centre for Refugee Studies at York University, Toronto), which seeks to improve teacher training and access to higher education for Somali refugees in Dadaab camp in northern Kenya. She is also working on a book arguing that the experiences of African immigrants and refugees in the United States offer a compelling model for reframing our understanding of immigrant integration as a community-building endeavor.
Dryden-Peterson received her Ed.D. from HGSE, her MPhil from the University of Cape Town (South Africa), and her A.B. from Harvard College. She was a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) postdoctoral fellow affiliated with the Comparative, International & Development Education Centre at the University of Toronto. Her work has been supported by research grants from various organizations, including the SSHRC, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Save the Children, and the Andrew Mellon Foundation.
Dryden-Peterson currently serves as Co-Chair of the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) Working Group on Education & Fragility. She previously taught middle school in Boston and founded non-profits in Uganda and South Africa.