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Staff Profile

Dr Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes

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Faculty of Humanities
Humanities Research and Graduate Studies
Bentley Campus
+61 8 9266 7169

Brief Summary

Yirga Gelaw Woldeyes is Lecturer and Researcher at the Centre for Human Rights Education. Born at Lalibela, Ethiopia, Yirga graduated with Bachelor of Laws from the Addis Ababa University, and taught law at Unity University College in Ethiopia. He also worked with local and international NGOs as Director of Afroflag Youth Vision in Ethiopia. Yirga moved to Australia and completed his Master of Human Rights and Doctor of Philosophy through Centre for Human Rights Education, Curtin University.

Yirga's interdisciplinary research interest focuses on contributing towards a new pedagogy of human rights for the 21st Century by taking into account a critical and appreciative interpretation of western and non-western theories, practices and experiences. He is interested in a range of critical theories, methodologies and practices in the field of education, culture, development, and politics. He is also interested in researching on contemporary human rights challenges, African issues, and peace and conflict studies. Currently, Yirga coordinates and teaches a postgraduate class on Human Rights Education and researches on a range of human rights issues.

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Yirga’s passion for teaching emanates from his diverse experience and research on education. The units he has taught include Human Rights and Development; Human Rights Advocacy, Activism and Change; Human Rights History across Cultures and Religions; and, Human Rights Institutions and Instruments.

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Research Interests

Native Colonialism: Education and the economy of violence against traditions in Ethiopia:

The research demonstrates that colonisation is not just a geographically delineated notion that applies only to the control of racialised beings whose territories and natural resources are occupied by foreign powers. It also involves the colonisation of mental spaces whereby the application of selected epistemic rules influence the consciousness of individuals to accept unjust economic and social relationships as natural and inevitable. Native colonisation challenges common assumptions about education and knowledge production by questioning the relevance of a globalised education system to the interests and rights of diverse lives in the 21st century. The research will result in the publication of a book by the renowned publisher Africa World Press & Red Sea Press, New Jersey, USA.

Critical Appreciative Dialogue and Human Rights:

The teaching of human rights emphasises the importance of dialogue as a means of co-creating inclusive and desired worlds among diverse identities, worldviews and practices. The main objective of this project is to develop new conceptual and methodological insights for the teaching of human rights from the perspective of diverse cultures and religions. In particular, this project seeks to develop Critical-Appreciative Dialogue as a possible teaching methodology that takes into account the challenges as well as the opportunities that are presented to us due to differences and diversities in religions and cultures.

Enabling asylum seeker scholarship through listening and lived experience: Baden Offord, Lisa Hartley, Caroline Fleay, Yirga Woldeyes and Elfie Shiosaki (2015–2016)

A Curtin University Faculty of Humanities $32,772.80 (2015–2016) funded project. The goal of this project is to develop new ways to engage with, understand, teach about and respond to the lived experience of refugees and asylum seekers in Australia, specifically in Perth. A key aim of the project is to pilot an innovative methodology in asylum seeker scholarship through participatory action research in a university learning context.

Teaching Human Rights from the Perspective of Diverse Cultures and Religions:

The third phase of the UN World Program for Human Rights Education (2015-2019) focuses on the teaching of cultural actors such as media professionals and journalists, and the strengthening of the outcomes of the previous two phases. This project aims at contributing research based knowledge to this cause, especially on what and how to teach about human rights from the perspective of diverse backgrounds. The project aims at activating human rights (Offord, 2006) through questions of epistemology and axiology that emerge from diverse histories, cultures and religions.  One of the expected outcome of the project is the publication of a practical booklet that will be distributed to human rights educators, activists and media professionals.

The project is funded by Australian Research Theology Foundation Inc.

The pedagogies of Human Rights: Exploration, innovation and activation. Baden Offord, Caroline Fleay, Lisa K. Hartley and Yirga Woldeyes (2016 – 2017)

A Curtin University Faculty of Humanities funded project.
This project focuses on the development of new research that engages with, understands, investigates, activates, explores and showcases a range of diverse pedagogies of human rights relevant to the challenges of the 21st Century. It aims to deepen and broaden the theoretical, conceptual and practical understandings of how human rights are communicated, experienced, learned and taught in the 21st Century, in both informal and formal contexts, in traditional as well as in innovative ways. The project will identify and bring together a range of leading and innovative human rights scholars across Australia who share multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary approaches to human rights on a suite of issues.

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Featured Publications

Books (Research) - Other


Books (Research)

  • Woldeyes, Y. G. 2017. "Critical Appereciative Dialogue: Pedagogy for Critical Human Rights Education." Bentley: Centre for Human Rights Education.

Book Chapters (Research)


Journal Articles (Research)


Book Chapters (Research)

  • Woldeyes, Y. 2013. "Elitdom and the Discourse of Relevant Education in Africa." In Changing Facts, Changing Minds, Changing Worlds, 202-218 Australia: Black Swan Press.
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keyboard_arrow_downAdditional publication categories


Books (Research) - Other

  • Woldeyes, Y. G., R. Ismail, T. Jakwa, and Y. Alaak. 2017. "Ways of Being Here." North Bridge, Western Australia: Margaret River Press and Centre for Stories.


Journal Articles (Scholarly/Professional)

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