Harvard Educational Review
  1. Summer 2017 Issue »

    Reclaiming Adolescence

    A Roma Youth Perspective

    JACQUELINE BHABHA, ARLAN FULLER, MARGARETA MATACHE, JELENA VRANJEŠEVIĆ, MIRIAM C. CHERNOFF, BORIS SPASIĆ, AND JELENA IVANIS
    In this article, the authors present data gathered in the Reclaiming Adolescence research project, which investigated the educational hardships of Roma youth by comparing their experiences with their non-Roma peers’ in Belgrade, Serbia. Serious inequalities in access to secondary and tertiary education affect the life and career opportunities of Romani adolescents in Europe. Yet, despite a plethora of reports and surveys on this topic, the views of young Roma themselves remain undocumented. This article reports on research that addresses this lacuna in terms of both substantive findings and methodological innovation. Using participatory research techniques and focusing on the young people’s voices, the authors reveal the direct impact of experiences of discrimination on Romani students’ educational and career choices. Youth-based participatory approaches and support for youth leadership emerge as key tools to building robust and sustained adolescent investment in social and political change.

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    Jacqueline Bhabha is Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. She also serves as director of research at the Harvard FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, the Jeremiah Smith Jr. Lecturer in Law at Harvard Law School, and an adjunct lecturer in public policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She received a first-class honors degree and a MS from Oxford University and a JD from the College of Law in London. From 1997 to 2001 Bhabha directed the Human Rights Program at the University of Chicago. Before 1997 she was a practicing human rights lawyer in London and at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. She has published extensively on issues of transnational child migration, refugee protection, children’s rights, and citizenship. She is the author of Child Migration and Human Rights in a Global Age (Princeton University Press, 2014) and the editor of Children Without A State (MIT Press, 2011) and Human Rights and Adolescence (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014). She serves on the board of the Scholars at Risk Network, the World Peace Foundation, and the Journal of Refugee Studies.

    Arlan Fuller is executive director of the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University and a research associate at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. His areas of focus include human rights law, international development, and US government operations and legislative strategy. At the FXB Center, Fuller’s research has focused on equal access to education, health care, and public services for Roma communities. He also has led several research investigations focused on human rights and complex emergency response, as well as conducted field projects in both health and education service delivery.

    Margareta Matache was awarded a Hauser postdoctoral fellowship at the Harvard FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, where she works as an instructor. As director of the Roma Program at Harvard, she conducts critical analysis of conventional scholarly production concerning Roma and pilots new research strategies. Her work employs participatory action research and skill strengthening of Romani and non-Romani young scholars in conducting ethical, culturally sensitive, and participatory Romani-related research. Matache is the coeditor (with Jacqueline Bhabha and Andrzej Mirga) of Realizing Roma Rights (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017). Her work has also appeared in such journals as the Human Rights Quarterly and European Review.

    Jelena Vranješević is an associate professor of developmental psychology at Belgrade University. She has written four books—The Invisible Child: The Image of the Child in Media (Yugoslav Child Rights Centre, 2001); Changing of Self-Concept: Self-Portrait of Adolescence (Foundation Andrejević, 2001); Evolving Capacities and Child Participation: From the Real to the Possible (Faculty of Education, Belgrade University, 2012); and From the Participant to the Researcher: Children in Participatory Research (Institute for Pedagogy and Andragogy, Belgrade University, 2015)—and a number of papers and manuals on child development and child rights. Her fields of study are child development in multicultural settings, child participation, teachers’ competencies for supporting child development, and the promotion of human and children’s rights through education for social justice and intercultural education.

    Miriam C. Chernoff is a biostatistician at the Center for Biostatistics in AIDS research and at the Harvard FXB Center for Health and Human Rights. Her work focuses on  collaborating on multisite observational and clinical studies of developmental issues for children with perinatally acquired HIV and of mental health issues and treatment for youth with HIV. For the Harvard FXB Center, Chernoff advises on methodological issues and data analysis for observational studies of human rights–related issues. Most recently, for the FXB Center, she analyzed data on Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and collaborated on a project evaluating the socioeconomic benefits of an intervention to prevent labor exploitation in India.

    Boris Spasić graduated from the faculty of philology at the University of Belgrade, where he earned an MA from the Department of Modern Greek Language and Literature. He is the deputy director at the Center for Interactive Pedagogy in Belgrade, where he has implemented projects related to civic participation and contributed to program development aimed at strengthening the competencies of parents, children, and youth for active participation in educational and societal processes and selfadvocacy. He has coauthored publications related to these topics. One of the important facets of Spasić’s work is raising the capacities of civil society organizations in Serbia to advocate for the protection and realization of child and minority rights. He has successfully facilitated numerous antibias training courses for (pre)school staff in Serbia and for employees of the country’s health system..

    Jelena Ivanis, a medical student at the Frank Netter School of Medicine, earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Harvard College. At the Netter School of Medicine, her research has primarily focused on human rights and access to health care for migrant populations. She is especially interested in the study of child development, children’s rights, and the medical care of migrant populations.

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    Summer 2017 Issue

    Abstracts

    Beyond Mediocrity
    The Dialectics of Crisis in the Continuing Miseducation of Black Youth
    BRIAN D. LOZENSKI
    Reclaiming Adolescence
    A Roma Youth Perspective
    JACQUELINE BHABHA, ARLAN FULLER, MARGARETA MATACHE, JELENA VRANJEŠEVIĆ, MIRIAM C. CHERNOFF, BORIS SPASIĆ, AND JELENA IVANIS
    Investigating Alignment Between Elementary Mathematics Teacher Education and Graduates’ Teaching of Mathematics for Conceptual Understanding
    AMANDA JANSEN, DAWN BERK, AND ERIN MEIKLE
    Strategic Coalitions Against Exclusion at the Intersection of Race and Disability—A Rejoinder
    KATHLEEN A. KING THORIUS AND FEDERICO R. WAITOLLER
    At the Nexus of Education and Incarceration
    Four Voices from the Field
    A SERIES OF INTERVIEWS WITH JODY BECKER, BARBARA L. CARR, GILLIAN R. KNAPP, AND LUIS GUSTAVO GIRALDO
    One of Them
    RYAN MICHAEL COULSON
    Beyond the Wall
    MICHAEL SATTERFIELD
    Editor’s Review
    LAUREN YOSHIZAWA

    Book Notes

    Liberating Minds
    Ellen Condliffe Lagemann