Fernando Reimers

Current Position: : Ford Foundation Professor of International Education and Director of the International Education Policy Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Brief Bio: Fernando Reimers is Ford Foundation Professor of International Education at the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. His research and teaching focus on the effects and implementation of education policies that intend to support the academic success of low-income children. He is also studying the relationship between civic education and democratic citizenship as well as the gap in civic knowledge and skills among immigrants and non-immigrant groups in the United States and other OECD countries. Reimers advises governments, development agencies, and private groups involved in education reform in developing nations. He serves on the advisory committeee of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education of the National Research Council, chairs the Global Education Advisory Board of the Massachusetts Department of Education and serves on the board of various education and philanthropic organization promoting tolerance and advancing educational opportunities for marginalized populations. Reimers has worked as an education advisor and researcher in most countries in Latin America, as well as in Egypt, Jordan, and Pakistan.

Research Interests: The role of schools in the political socialization of low income children and immigrants; The contributions of education to social and political development in Latin America; the practical utilization of research to support policy reform and implementation in schools.

Sample Publications:
  • Reimers, F. (Ed.) Unequal Schools. Unequal Chances: The Challenges to Equal Opportunity in the Americas. Cambridge, MA. Harvard University Press, 2000
  • Reimers, F. and N. McGinn. Informed Dialogue. Changing Education Policies Around the World. Praeguer Publishers, 1997.
  • Education and Democratic Citizenship in Latin America and the Caribbean. An agenda for action (with Cox and Jaramillo) Washington, DC. InterAmerican Development Bank. 2005.
  • Education for citizenship and democracy (with Eleonora Villegas-Reimers). In Education for Citizenship and Democracy in a Globalized World. Washington, DC. Interamerican Development Bank. 2005.
  • School culture and democratic citizenship in Latin America (with Eleonora Villegas-Reimers). In Kagan, J. and L. Harrington (Eds.) Essays in Cultural Change. Routledge. 2005.
  • War, Education and Peace. Education Week. December 12, 2002
  • Children and Globalization. Schools, Children and Trust in the Americas. Revista. David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies. Harvard University. Winter 2004.

Perspective on COnference Themes: To become effective and engaged citizens in the construction of an open and tolerant civic space people need a historical perspective, including deep knowledge and understanding of the causes of the breakdown of democracy and of genocide.

At present, schools around the world are inadequately assuming the responsibility to prepare students for tolerance and democratic citizenship. In many nations the competition with other purposes for education has reduced the opportunity to develop civic skills and dispositions in schools. In some nations States are deliberately using schools to foster intolerance.

The study of the Nuremberg trials provides students an opportunity to develop a historical perspective, habits of mind that will help them understand personal responsibility and accountability for genocide. These skills can help students see the connection between the devastating consequences of hatred and the progressive sequence of acts of intolerance that brought them about. As students realize that these acts reflected choices of individuals, they will be empowered by the realization that they are active and important participants in making history and that their own public and private actions and choices have political consequences. I can think of no greater lesson reflecting the moral purposes of schools in democratic societies.