Our international research team consists of researchers from the universities of Oxford, Stockholm, Åbo and Helsinki, complemented by a brilliant advisory board, all experts in their fields.
Arniika Kuusisto

Dr Arniika Kuusisto is the head of the Growing up radical? research project. Arniika works at the University of Helsinki as a Professor of Early Childhood Education and Care and at Stockholm University as Professor of Child and Youth Studies. She is interested in children and young people's value learning trajectories, especially in the interplay between agency and socialization in children’s growing up contexts. Her research interests also include worldview education in different levels, and educator professionalism and sensitivity to diversities.

View Arniika's university profile


Liam Gearon

Dr Liam Francis Gearon works as a supervisor and co-investigator in the Growing up radical? research project. Liam is an Associate Professor in the Department of Education and Senior Research Fellow at Harris Manchester College, University of Oxford. A philosopher and theorist of education, Liam is a specialist in critical, historical and contemporary analyses of education in multi-disciplinary contexts. He is interested in the historical determinants of counter-extremism in education and in the value learning and life history research in political and security contexts.

Visit Liam's university home page.

Christine Namdar

Christine Namdar is a Doctoral Researcher for the project “Growing up Radical?” funded by the Academy of Finland. This collaboration involves the Universities of Oxford, Helsinki, Stockholm, and Åbo Akademi, focusing on the influence of education on youth perspectives.

Christine has lectured at the University of Helsinki's Department of Education and currently holds the position of a Visiting Scholar there. She is also affiliated with the Department of Sociology at Åbo Akademi. She earned her degrees from the University of Warwick, Stockholm University, and Lund University. At Warwick Business School, she researched business community responsibility and also studied social justice initiatives at the War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague.

Her Ph.D. research explores the potential of youth, covering areas from radicalization to Global Citizenship Education. She is interested in service-based learning, spiritual questions in education, and the role of education in preventing gang crime and radicalization.

Visit Christine' s university home page: 

Christine in Twitter

Saija Benjamin (2018-2022)

Saija Benjamin has worked in the Growing up radical? research project as a post-doctoral researcher. Within the larger study, her special focus was on the individual life trajectories and the socio-emotional development and meaning making of the young informants. With a teacher background, Saija is especially interested in the ways school education can support children and youths' positive worldview and identity construction, and the development of socio-emotional and cognitive skills that strengthen the youths' resilience against harmful developments, such as radicalisation.

Visit Saija's university home page.

Pia-Maria Koirikivi (née Niemi) (2018-2022)

Pia-Maria Koirikivi, PhD, is a university lecturer in worldview education at the University of Helsinki (FIN) and worked in the Growing up radical? research project as a post-doctoral researcher. Pia-Maria is especially interested in religious and political extremism, and the ways in these issues are addressed in formal education. As a teacher educator, she wants to increase knowledge about the ways in which young people experience the educational settings as places for discussing and developing their own worldviews. During 2018-2019 Pia-Maria was working as a visiting researcher at McGill University in Montreal (CA) with the grant provided by Alfred Kordelin's Foundation. 

Visit Pia-Maria's university home page 

Follow me on Twitter: koirikivi_pia


Advisory Board

Professor Arto Kallioniemi, Professor of Religious Education, Unesco Professor, University of Helsinki, Finland 

Professor Kallioniemi is an expert in worldview education, human rights education, and teacher training concerning these content areas. Dr. Kallioniemi supports the reserach team's data collection especially with his experience in quantitative analyses. Dr. Kallioniemi will also help the team to disseminate the findings to relevant educational insitutions and networks.  

Dr Leena Malkki, University Lecturer, University of Helsinki, Finland

Dr Malkki is an expert in terrorism and political violence in western countries, history of terrorism, radicalisation and counterradicalisation, and school shootings. Dr. Malkki is also knowleable on Finnish policies on countering radicalisation and terrorism. Dr. Malkki supports the team especially with her knowledge related to terrorism studies and processes leading to violent extremism. 

Professor Jenny Berglund, Stockholm University, Sweden

Professor Berglund is an expert in Islam and education and she also has a wide knowledge on research concerning comparative religions and educational institutions. Dr. Berglund's experise support the research team especially in issues related to minority religions in education. 

Dr Veronika Honkasalo, Finnish Youth Research Network, Finland

Dr Honkasalo is an expert in multiculturalism in the lives of youth, gender studies, intergenerational and transnational relationships in young people's family and peer networks, youth work and policy. Dr. Honkasalo supports the project team especially with her knowledge on youth studies.