Dr Joseph Bazirake, Besigye

Postdoctoral researcher


Joe is passionate about the intersection across Higher Education, Institutional Change and Social Justice. He holds a PhD in Higher Education Studies (UFS, 2020), a Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies (MUK, 2014) and a Bachelors of Social Sciences degree - International Relations (MUK, 2008). He was previously a Junior Researcher and administrator for the Master's program in Reconciliation and Social Cohesion at the University of the Free State (2015-2020). Joe is a seasoned Rotarian and was the Rotary club president of Bloemfontein-Raadzaal (2017/18).

He currently serves on the District 9370 Peace Fellowship Program committee and the Africa Rotary Community Mediation Training steering committee. Joe previously served as a student mentor in the Leadership for Change program and the Global Leadership Summit at the UFS (2015-2017). He was the faculty adviser for the UFS Rotaract club (2015-2020) and the Interact club advisor for Saint Andrews School and Dr Blok senior Secondary school in Bloemfontein. As a scholar, Joe’s publications bring forth a unique blend of interdisciplinary insights on topics such as: [Expounding] the contemporary global refugee crisis (2017); motivating an empathic approach to Race-based conflict (2016); Students as agents of change (2016); the conceptual and practical limitations of the Responsibility to Protect (2015); the potential for volunteer-tourism among African youth (2015); the climate change discourse in Peace-building (2013); and the role of Rotary clubs in peacebuilding (2013).

His work is published in leading peer-reviewed journals such as the International Journal of Human rights, Peace Review, International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences and the International Journal of Diversity in Organisations. Three of his publications are included as chapters in subject-specific international handbooks: 1) The Routledge Handbook on Contemporary Development: Problems, Possibilities and Pedagogy (Routledge, forthcoming, 2021); 2) The Responsibility to Protect (Routledge, 2017); and 3) Environmental Security (Sage, 2014).


Getting to know me


  1. How would you define your role within the Engagement and Transformation team?

As a postdoctoral fellow, I primarily engage in higher education Institutional change research and seek to engage with the various theories of change at play within the university space. I also offer ongoing reflections with colleagues over the various academic/operations projects at hand.


  1. What does Engagement and Transformation in Higher Education look like to you?

In Higher Education, I understand engagement as recognising that a higher education institution ( here, a university) should not stand as a lonesome Ivory Tower. As such, engagement needs to translate into direct benefits to the physical community within which it is located whilst providing practical input within all of its other communities/networks, including students, alumni, staff and the international scholarly community. 

I understand transformation as an ongoing process that ensures that the university meets its current engagement mandate. Transformation would thus need to continuously factor in changes in the needs of its engagement population. In other words, transformation, for me, speaks to the need for a higher education institution to remain current in the changing contexts that it is engaged.


  1. Describe your job in 3 words.

Active, Exploratory, Alive.


  1. What is your favourite activity when you are not in the office?

I enjoy gardening, running and volleyball. These are things that I have not indulged much in the past year, and I won’t blame the pandemic entirely for this.


  1. What is your favourite place on Earth?

Wherever I feel at home, top on the list would be on the hills of Rubanda, Southwestern Uganda… overseeing all the ‘omugusha’ and ‘emondi’ gardens splashed all over the foothills.


  1. What is your favourite quote?

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. (1 Cor 13:13)


  1. If you could change something in the world, what would it be?

I would want to create a world that has more concern for the needs that need to be addressed are all around us, and one where individuals, communities and states do not resort to violence to meet their needs.


  1. What would you be able to give a 30-minute presentation about without any advanced preparation?

Nonviolent Communication (NVC).


  1. What is the best piece of professional advice you have ever received?

Enjoy what you do, and do what you enjoy.


  1. What motivates you?

Making a difference.


Joseph Besigye Bazirake CV