Bjorn H. Nordtveit
Associate Professor; Editor, Comparative Education Review; Visiting Professor, Zhejiang Normal University
Professional Interests: 
His research focuses on three key areas: (i) Aid Effectiveness in Education, including public-private partnerships, integrated service provision, and Sino-African cooperation in education; (ii) Child Protection, including Worst Forms of Child Labor, disability, and peace education in active conflict; and (iii) Critical and Alternative Epistemologies, including critical auto ethnography, decolonial methods and critical discourse analysis.


B.A., (History) Panteon-Sorbonne
B.A., Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales
Master of Philosophy, Sorbonne
Ph.D., University of Maryland, 2005


Bjorn Nordtveit joined the University of Massachusetts Amherst in August 2011, after serving for more than five years (2006-2011) as Research Assistant Professor in International and Development Education at the Division of Policy, Administration & Social Sciences Education, at the Faculty of Education, University of Hong Kong.


Prior to joining academia, he served more than twelve years (1993-2006) with UNESCO, mostly in the Lao PRD, and with the World Bank, mostly in West Africa, including in Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal and The Gambia. He also worked for a short while as an International Education Observer for UNESCO within the UN Security Council’s Oil-for Food Program in Suleimaniyah Province, Iraq (1999). Later, concurrent to his academic positions, he also worked for the United States Department of Labor (Bureau of International Labor Affairs), which brought him to conduct fieldwork in Benin, Cambodia, DRC, Guinea, Myanmar, Namibia, Rwanda and Swaziland.


Much of Bjorn Nordtveit’s education took place in Paris, France. From 1989 to 1993, he studied at the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (INALCO), leading to a Bachelor and Licence Degree in Asiatic Studies (Diplôme Supérieur de la Civilisation de l’Asie Orientale Contemporaine, with a specialization in Lao language and society). From 1991 to 1993 he conducted research with the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes at Sorbonne in Paris (Section IV: History and Philology) leading to a Diplôme de l’Ecole  (equivalent to an MPhil), with a thesis on the History of Primary Education in Laos.


Bjorn Nordtveit received his PhD in International Education Policy at the University of Maryland, College Park in 2005. His PhD focused on policies of education service provision, leading to a thesis on The Role of Civil Society Organizations in Developing Countries: A Case Study of Public-Private Partnerships in Senegal. He also has training from the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict Resolution at the George Mason University (Training on Conflict Resolution; 2003), and has attended training on “Mindfulness for Educators” at Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2016.


Recent Activities 


In addition to his duties at UMass, Bjorn Nordtveit is the editor of the Comparative Education Review (2013-2023). Together with a team of co-editors and managing editors, he is responsible for the regular publication of one of the key Journals in the field, founded in 1957. As editor, Bjorn has published numerous editorials on main issues in the field, including on Journal management “in a time of America First,” data sharing, and “Expanded knowledge production in [the] amorphous field [of Comparative and International Education].”


Bjorn also has other responsibilities: from 2013 through 2017, he was Principal Investigator for a UMass team in charge of evaluation services for a large International Rescue Committee-implemented project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, funded by Girls’ Education Challenge (GEC), Department for International Development, UK (Vas-Y Fille!). He is serving as visiting professor at Zhejiang Normal University (PRC), starting April 2018, which entails advising and teaching the growing number of international students in the University’s Center for International Education. As part of his work there, he is also involved in studies on Sino-African partnerships in education.


Bjorn Nordtveit seeks to continue his global engagement through future studies on coloniality and racial politics in Comparative and International Education, as well as on sexualities and International Education. He is currently working on a critical auto-ethnography on racism, whiteness and international development work.


Recent Publications


His publications reflect his professional interests outlined above. In 2009, a revised version of his thesis was published in book form by Springer: Constructing Development: Civil Society and Literacy in a Time of Globalization. In 2016, Bjorn published a second book on Schools as protection? Reinventing education in contexts of adversity. Likewise, a growing number of peer reviewed papers and book chapters analyze issues related to his three focus areas above.