Elizabeth A. "Lili" Cole

Director, Fellows Program

Elizabeth Cole is the director of the fellows program at the U.S. Institute of Peace, where she conducts research and analysis on post-conflict reconciliation practices and their impact, including how reconciliation and related concepts can be operationalized, measured and evaluated. She also manages the Jennings Randolph Fellowship Program. Her research has focused on human rights, historical memory and justice following violent conflict or state repression, with a focus on history education and education reform. Prior to joining USIP, she was an assistant director in Asia Society’s Education Division. As senior program officer at the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs, she developed an international research project on long term political reconciliation, which led to a multi-authored volume, Teaching the Violent Past: History Education and Reconciliation (Roman & Littlefield, 2007). In addition she has worked at Columbia University and the National Endowment for Democracy. Cole has lived and worked in China, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. 

Cole holds a doctorate from Yale University, a master’s degree from George Washington University and a bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College.


Articles & Analysis from this Expert

October 20, 2015

A Somali master poet reconnects citizens to their government. A Lebanese filmmaker collects fighters' stories to dramatize the cost of war. Police in Northern Ireland adopt symbols of peace to signal a new ethos. In places simmering with long-standing social tensions and alienation, common cultural understandings can help ease hostility, suggesting a potentially powerful role for a mechanism still under-used in peacebuilding: the arts.


June 1, 2006
In deeply divided societies, contending groups' historical narratives are intimately connected to their identities and sense of victimization. How can they teach history to avoid future cycles of violence?

External Publications

  • “Ourselves, Others and the Past that Binds Us: Teaching History for Citizenship and Peace,”  in Education for Citizenship and Peace: Policy and Implementation ( 2012)
  • “Transitional Justice and the Reform of History Education,” in  International Journal of Transitional Justice (2007)