About the RISE Insitute


The RISE Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated in Washington, DC. RISE also has a branch office in Colombia, South America.

The RISE Institute was founded in November 2001 to support activities for education and early childhood development in countries affected by conflict or extreme poverty. Activities include designing and evaluating innovative programs, providing advisory services for nations and international organizations, conducting action research, and holding training workshops. The RISE Institute has a Core Group of six senior specialists, an Advisory Board, and several RISE Associates.

In collaboration with several RISE Associates, the Core Group of The RISE Institute has produced books, chapters and articles; held an international conference at the Inter-American Development Bank; conducted advisory services and training workshops in many nations; prepared several evaluations and field reports; and given talks at international conferences.

Sharing Our Story

During the 1990's, we witnessed the escalation of community wars and the suffering of millions of children and women caught in them. We realized that failing education systems and radical educational messages were partly responsible for several of these wars, and that these education systems and messages needed to be changed. In countries with conflicts, we heard the pleas of children, youth and parents for education and training services – essentially for hope, safety, and a return to “normalcy.” We watched some international humanitarian assistance and security teams focus on building schools and restoring those failed education systems without reforming them. Most international teams simply overlooked education altogether.

In the midst of our deep concern over this situation, we were inspired by a series of projects led by pioneers of the emerging field for education in conflict situations. Seth Spaulding (University of Pittsburgh) and Rob Fuderich (UNICEF) donned flak jackets to support Bosnian educational planners and curriculum reformers working in the dark, cold basements of Sarajevo under siege. Gonzalo Retamal (then at UNESCO) and Pilar Aguilar (UNICEF) courageously faced danger to develop conceptually rich systems for rapid education in camps for refugees and internally displaced persons, ultimately creating UNESCO-PEER's “Education Development Centers” and UNICEF's “Child Friendly Spaces.” Maureen McClure (University of Pittsburgh) developed the Global Information Networks in Education (GINIE) website and services for “peer partners” that support educators in conflict and post-conflict situations. Among other services, she helped create a resource base for “landmine awareness education” and rapid teacher training modules.

In addition, several members of the RISE network participated in the development of the working group that became the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) providing documents and training for professionals dealing with education in emergencies. In Colombia, Hernando Bernal Alarcón (then at Rosario and Ibague Universities) developed education and training services for internally displaced families through university and community college extension programs. Marcia Bernbaum (Consultant) conducted a groundbreaking evaluation of the successful Peruvian IPEDEHP program for human rights, democracy and reconciliation at the community level. Frank Method (then at the Washington, DC UNESCO Office) supported activities for education in conflict situations. Annette Hartenstein (then at IFTDO) prepared training workshops and promoted youth and workforce development, especially in nations affected by conflicts. Emily Vargas-Barón (then at USAID) promoted and supported educational work in several conflict nations, and she conducted studies on education and conflict.

Because of our commitment to improving education in poverty and conflict situations, the Core Group formed The RISE Institute in November 2001. Since then, as presented in this website, RISE Institute's Core Group and Associates have conducted many advisory and training activities, and prepared several publications, tools and reports. And we have many exciting projects underway.

We are acutely aware that much remains be done. We invite others who share our concerns to join us and collaborate in helping to meet the urgent needs of children, families and communities caught in the path of violence.

Serving Parents and Children in Countries with Violent Conflict
or Poverty