Academic Staff 2018

Academic Experts and Lecturers Spring Term 2018

Each year, UNU-GEST enjoys the contribution of visiting scholars who are faculty staff at universities in Iceland and abroad. The stay of such scholars ranges from a couple of days to a full semester.


Module 1 - International Gender Studies: Theories and Concepts

Coordinators: Dr. Jón Ingvar Kjaran and Milica Minic

Dr. Jón Ingvar KjaranDr. Kjaran is Assistant Professor at the Department of Education, University of Iceland. His research focus is on gender equality, sexuality, sociology of education, and violence in intimate relationships. He is currently working on research on perpetrators´ experiences of violence as well as research on the intersection of sexuality and gender in schools. In 2017, Palgrave Macmillan published his book based on his ethnographic research in Icelandic high schools, Constructing Sexualities and Gendered Bodies in School Spaces - a book that sheds light on how sexuality and gender intersect in producing heteronormativity within the school system in Iceland.

Milica Minić, Milica Minić is a gender and development specialist and researcher. She earned her M.A. degree in critical gender studies at the University of Utrecht and the Central European University in Budapest. She coordinates and teaches in the modules “Theories, Concepts and Systems of Gender” and "Practical Tools for Gender-Sensitive Projects." She currently works on applied projects on gender mainstreaming with international development organisations.


Teaching Gender to Youth short course - lecturers

Hanna Björg Vilhjálmsdóttir, Head of Gender Studies at Borgarholtsskóli College in Reykjavík, Iceland.

Þórður Kristinsson, Head of Gender Studies at Kvennaskólinn í Reykjavík, Iceland.


Engaging Men for Gender Equality short course - lecturers

Þórður Kristinsson, Head of Gender Studies at Kvennaskólinn í Reykjavík, Iceland.

Hjálmar Sigmarsson, Counsellor for Stigamót, an Education and Counseling Center for Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Violence.

Ívar Karl Bjarnason, Freelance Gender Expert.

Tryggvi Hallgrímsson, Specialist, Centre For Gender Equality (Jafnréttisstofa)

Prof. Ulrike Auga, Dr. Auga is a scholar from the Centre for Transdisciplinary Gender Studies at the Humboldt University in Berlin, where she is Professor for Gender Studies and specializes in transdisciplinary Gender, Cultural and Religious Studies. She is currently a Visiting Professor for Gender Studies  – Centre for Gender Studies and the Advancement of Women, Department of Gender Studies at the Paris Lodron University Salzburg in Austria. Dr. Auga taught on issues around gender, sexuality and religion, insights from post-colonial, post-secular and queer theories. 


Module 2 - Practical Tools for Gender Sensitive Projects

Coordinators: Erla Hlín Hjálmarsdóttir and Milica Minic

Erla Hlín Hjálmarsdóttir, Project Manager and Head of Research at UNU-GEST.

Erla Hlín is the module leader for the module and teaches project management, monitoring and evaluation, leadership skills and academic working methods. She was an adjunct lecturer at the Faculty of Political Science at the University of Iceland 2010-2015. She holds an MPA degree, a post-graduate diploma in international relations and is a PhD candidate at the University of Iceland.

Dr. Elisabeth Klatzer, Dr. Klatzer is a feminist economist, researcher, activist and consultant. She teaches in the short course on gender responsive budgeting held annually in February/March in Reykjavík. Dr. Klatzer specializes in gender and public finance management and feminist economics. She has experience in public administration as well as in teaching and research at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. Currently she is a scientific consultant in gender budgeting projects in many countries, e.g. Ukraine, Turkey and Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Palestine and Tajikistan. Elisabeth hold a Ph. D. In Economics from Vienna University of Economics and Business and an MPA from Harvard University.

Kirstín Flygenring, Kirstín teaches development economics to fellows during module 2. She holds an MA in economics from Northwestern University in Illinois, a cand. oecon. degree in business administration from University of Iceland and a diploma in European competition law from Kings College London in 2004. Kirstín has worked as an economist at the National Economic Institute and in the Department of Economics at the Central Bank of Iceland, and has also been a part-time lecturer and adjunct at UNI. Kirstín has also held several positions on boards and committees, and currently serves as a board member of Arion Bank.


Module 3 - Gender, Peace and Security

Coordinator: Kristjana Þ. Sigurbjörnsdóttir

Dr. Cynthia Enloe, Research Professor in the Department of International Development, Community, and Environment at Clark University. Prof. Enloe teaches in the module “Gender, Peace and Security”. Professor Enloe’s feminist teaching and research have focused on the interplay of gendered politics in the national and international arenas and she has written extensively on interactions of feminism, women, militarized culture, war, politics, and globalized economics in countries such as Japan, Iraq, the U.S., Britain, the Philippines, Canada, Chile, and Turkey. Racial, class, ethnic and national identities, as well as pressures shaping ideas about femininities and masculinities, are common threads throughout her studies.

Dr Marsha HenryAssociate Professor in Gender Studies and Deputy Director of the Centre for Women, Peace and Security at the London School of Economics and Political Science.Dr Henry taught sessions focusing on sexual violence during conflict and peacekeeping. Her research interests focus on gender and development, gender and militarisation, and qualitative methodologies. Over the past 12 years, her research interests have been concentrated on documenting the social experiences of living and working in peacekeeping missions. Her recent research focuses on peacekeepers from the Global South.

Dr. Connie Carøe ChristiansenVisiting associate professor in Gender Studies in the Department of Social Scienes, Lebanese American University, Beirut, Lebanon. Connie gave lectures on gender, conflict and displacement. She was an associate professor at Roskilde University in Denmark and a senior advisor at KVINFO, the Danish Centre for Research and Information on Gender, Equality and Diversity, where she managed academic programs in the Arab region, including a program which established an M.A. program on International Development and Gender at Sanaa University in Yemen.


Module 4 - Gender, Health, Violence and Bodily Integrity

Coordinator: Kristjana Þ. Sigurbjörnsdóttir

Dr. Deevia BhanaProfessor Deevia Bhana is currently the DST/NRF South African Research Chair (SARChI, Tier 1) in Gender and Childhood Sexuality at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She taught a week long course on Gender, Children, Young Sexualities and Health. Her research lies in the areas of gender, sexuality, children, young people and schooling.

Margrét SteinarsdóttirDirector of the Icelandic Human Rights Centre. Steinarsdóttir is a lawyer and specializes in legal advice to immigrants in Iceland. She teaches on gender-based violence and international instruments and local responses, focusing on violence against women: e.g human trafficking.

Kristín Pálsdóttir, Project Manager at RIKK - Institute for Gender, Equality and Difference, University of Iceland and Spokeswomen for the Root, Association on Women, Addiction and Mental Health. She lectures on gendered aspects of addiction and treatment within the module "Gender, Health, Violence and Bodily Integrity". Kristín has a BA in Spanish and Tourism Studies and an MA in Practical editorship and theory of publication. She also studied Comparative Literature on post graduate level. 

Dr. Berglind GuðmundsdóttirAssociate Professor in Psychology at the University of Iceland and director of clinical psychological services at the National University Hospital of Iceland. Lectures on post-traumatic stress disorder and services for sexual trauma survivors in Iceland in the module "Gender, Health, Violence and Bodily Integrity".In her research Dr. Guðmundsdóttir focuses on the psychological effects of trauma and she has been involved in prevention projects aiming to reduce intimate partner violence among adolescents and young people.

Prof. Sóley Sesselja BenderProfessor and Director of Research and Development in Sexual and Reproductive Health at the University of Iceland. Professor Bender’s main research focus includes teenage pregnancy, teenage motherhood, sexuality education, sexual and reproductive health services, contraception use, sexual behaviour of adolescents and sexuality during pregnancy and after childbirth.

Kristjana Þ. Sigurbjörnsdóttir, Project manager at UNU-GEST. Her focus is on gender analysis and mainstreaming and introduction to global public health, including sexual and reproductive health and rights, and human rights-based approach to development. She has worked in both the private sector and the UN system, including UNDP Sri Lanka and WHO headquarters and European Regional Office. Kristjana studied Population and Development Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science and has worked in both the private sector and within the UN system.


Module 5 - Gender, Climate Change and the Environment

Coordinator: Dr. Pétur Waldorff

Dr. Joni Seager, Professor and Chair of the Global Studies Department at Bentley University. She teaches introduction to gender and the environment and climate change. Prof. Seager has taught at the UNU-GEST programme since 2012. Dr. Seager is a feminist geographer and has achieved international acclaim for her work in feminist environmental policy analysis, the environmental costs of militaries and militarism, and gender and climate change. She has been an active consultant with the United Nations on several gender and environmental policy projects, including consulting with the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) on integrating gender perspectives into their work on disasters and early warning systems, and with UNESCO and the Division on Economic and Social Affairs on gender in water policy. In addition, she has published many books, including the four editions of the award-winning The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World. The next will be published in October 2018.

Dr. Jón Geir PéturssonDirector General of the Department of Land and Natural Heritage at the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources in Iceland and Assistant Professor of Environmental and Natural Resources at the University of Iceland. Professor Pétursson works on behalf of Icelandic authorities on matters of natural resources both domestically and internationally and has conducted research on transboundary protected area management in Eastern Africa.

Dr. Ellen MorrisDr. Morris is an Adjunct Professor at the School for International and Public Affairs (SIPA) in Columbia University. Dr. Morris taught joint classes on Gender and Energy with the UNU-Geothermal Training Programme. She is also the President and Founder of Sustainable Energy Solutions, a consulting services company that promotes the increased use and deployment of clean energy technologies and services as a means to support economic development and reduce poverty in developing countries. She is also a Founding Partner of a new social enterprise Embark Energy that is focused on radically increasing the scale of energy access by empowering thousands of clean energy entrepreneurs in low-income countries.

Dr. Pétur Waldorff, Senior researcher at UNU-GEST and EDDA – Research Center at the University of Iceland and at Nordic Africa Institute at Uppsala University. Dr. Waldorff teaches about the gendered value chain analysis method and his research using this methodology in Tanzania and Mozambique. Pétur holds a PhD in Anthropology from the McGill University in Canada.

Dr. Þorvarður (Þorri) ÁrnasonDr. Árnason is the Director of the Icelandic Landscape Project at the Hornafjordur Regional Research Centre in the South of Iceland. He teaches and guides the fellows during their trip to the South of Iceland that is a part of this module.

Dr. Irma ErlingsdóttirDr. Erlingsdóttir is the Director of UNU-GEST as well as an Associate Professor of French Contemporary Literature at the University of Iceland. Dr. Erlingsdóttir organises the field work to South of Iceland for this module. During the term, in addition to being a director she supervises some fellows’ final assignments. She has led several large-scale academic projects in the fields of gender studies, globalization, contemporary politics and critical theory. Irma holds a Ph.D. from Sorbonne University and, as a specialist in contemporary French literature, gender, and philosophy, she has published articles and book chapters in these fields.


Module 6 - Final Assignment

Coordinator: Randi W. Stebbins

Randi W. Stebbins, Stebbins teaches academic working methods in the UNU-GEST Programme and provides academic supervision of fellow´s final assignments and liaises with supervisors. In addition she does professional development building with fellows. She is an attorney with focus on humanitarian immigration cases for victims of domestic violence and other violent crimes.

Erla Hlín Hjálmarsdóttir, Project manager and Head of Research at UNU-GEST. Erla Hlín teaches cultural management and research methodologies in this module.

Dr. Giti Chandra, Dr. Chandra is associate Professor at the Dept. of English, St. Stephen’s College, in New Delhi in India and part-time lecturer at UNU-GEST. This year she guided the fellows around writing skills for the Wikigender blog entries. She also sits on the academic review board of the final assignments. She also taught the online course for UNU-GEST alumni: This Girl is on Fire: Understanding Gender through Cultural Texts

Susan Muska, Documentary Filmmaker. Muska provides fellows with media training, presentation skills and prepares them for presenting final assignments at the end of term each year. Muska has been making documentary films about queer and women's issues for more than fifteen years. These include “The Brandon Teena Story” (1998), “Through the Lens: Sigrid ZoÎga & August Sander” (2000), “Women the Forgotten Face of War” (2002), and “Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement” (2009). She is attracted to stories of individuals thriving (or not) in the face of discrimination and the fleshing out of these histories to bring issues alive. Ms. Muska is a documentary film-maker and a producer specializing in gender, social issues and public health documentaries. Susan also holds a degree in Political Science from Duke University and a M.A. in French Studies and Anthropology from New York University.