Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Juliet Halladay



The use of the arts as a tool for conflict transformation, or what has been called arts based peacebuilding, is a new and emerging field. Yet, there is sparse empirical evidence on its outcomes. The Nile Project, a musical collaborative from East Africa that brings together musicians from all of the countries that border the Nile River, is aimed at finding a solution to the dire water conflict and crisis in the region. This study aims to explore how their collaborative process of creating and performing music despite their linguistic, cultural, musical, and political differences, can illuminate how music can be used to address conflict. Using a combination of collaborative qualitative and arts-informed research methodologies, original members of the collective as well as the co-founder were interviewed. Observations were also done of the musicians' rehearsals, performances, and classroom visits at a New England University and during a musical residency in Aswan, Egypt. Findings suggest that an outcome of the Nile Project's work is the development of relationships, deeper learning, particularly about other Africans, and that the process of making music with those from diverse musical traditions can act as a way to practice peacebuilding skills: creating unity, while honoring diversity. This study seeks to add to a limited amount of research documenting the arts in peacebuilding suggesting that music might be an effective tool for transforming conflict.



Number of Pages

183 p.