Iveta Silova

Silova Iveta 2

Short Biography & Significant Contribution

Iveta Silova is an Associate Professor and Program Director of Comparative and International Education at the College of Education, Lehigh University, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. She holds a PhD in comparative education and political sociology from the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, Columbia University, USA. Her dissertation research, From sites of occupation to symbols of multiculturalism (2006), examined the influence of international agencies (i.e., the EU, OSCE, UN) on minority education policy development in post-Soviet Latvia in the 1990s and won a best book award from the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies (AABS) in 2008.

Born and raised in Soviet Latvia, Iveta Silova has a unique first-hand experience of the events leading up to the breakdown of the Soviet Union. Since then, she has been fascinated with learning how different countries have responded to the post-socialist transformations. Her research has aimed to reveal the multiple meanings and processes of post-socialist education transformations through numerous articles and three edited volumes – How NGOs React (2008), Globalization on the Margins (2011), and Post-socialism is not Dead (2010). By contesting a common expectation that post-socialist societies would inevitably converge towards Western norms (mainly through the mechanisms of international development), these edited volumes conceptually (re)frame post-socialism as open, plural, and inevitably uncertain. For example, Post-Socialist is not Dead (2010) engages in a theoretical and methodological complexification of post-socialism by raising a series of important questions: What rationalities underpin the logic and define the purpose of education transformations in various post-socialist contexts? How are global norms actually understood, experienced, and interpreted in post-socialist contexts? And, more broadly, how do post-socialist policies function to simultaneously promote and challenge global norms? As the contributors to the book convincingly argue, post-socialism is both a challenge and an agenda for future debate – whether theoretical or methodological – about global processes and their multiple effects on societies today, in the past, and in the future.

While covering a wide range of issues critical to understanding post-socialist education transformation processes, Iveta Silova’s research focuses on the following key research areas: (1) the role of international NGOs in post-socialist transformations, (2) the scope, nature, and implications of privatization in public education in the former socialist bloc (including private tutoring), and (3) equity implications of (neo)liberal education reforms (including gender equity, minority issues, etc.). More recently, her research has also attempted to examine alternative readings of the global by capturing educational policies, practices, and experiences that challenge (neo)liberal globalization processes and engage in re-envisioning the future.

Before coming to Lehigh University, Iveta Silova has worked as an education researcher and adviser for various international organizations, including UNICEF, UNESCO, USAID, and the Open Society Institute/Soros Foundations. She has spent seven years living and working in various countries of the former Soviet Union, including Central Asia (Kazakhstan), the Caucasus (Azerbaijan), and Belarus. Her long-term goal is to continue to bridge the traditional theory/practice dichotomy by maintaining close collaborations with international development agencies, NGOs, and education institutions.

Iveta Silova is a recipient of more than ten awards, including UN Best Practices Award (2013) for inspiring students to act on the issues of global concern and the Martin Luther King Faculty Award for Dedication and Commitment to Service at Lehigh University (2010).  In 2013, she received the George Bereday Award for the article published in Comparative Education Review, co-authored with Stephen Carney and Jeremy Rappleye, “Between Faith and Science: World Culture Theory and Comparative Education”.

Since 2008, Dr. Silova has served as a co-editor (with Noah W. Sobe) of a quarterly, peer-reviewed journal entitled, European Education: Issues and Studies (published by M.E. Sharpe). The journal is affiliated with the Comparative Education Society of Europe (CESE) and features original inquires and dialogue on education across the member states of the Council of Europe as well as the impact of European education initiatives globally.


European Education journal website
Lehigh University CIE Program website
Faculty website
Education International Blog

Educational Background

Columbia University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, New York, NY, USA
Ph.D. with distinction, Comparative Education and History/Political Sociology, February, 2002
M.Phil., International and Comparative Education, October, 2000

Columbia University, Teachers College, New York, NY, USA
M.Ed., International and Comparative Education, May, 1997
M.A., Education Administration and Leadership, May, 1996

University Of Latvia, Riga, Latvia
B.A., Linguistics and Literature, June, 1994

Professional Background

Lehigh University, College of Education, Bethlehem, PA, USA
Comparative and International Education (CIE)
Associate Professor and Program Director, Spring 2011-present
Assistant Professor, Fall 2007Spring 2011

Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA
Department of International and Transcultural Studies
Adjunct Professor, Fall 2005

KIMEP (Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics, and Strategic Research), Kazakhstan
Political Science and Public Administration Department, Assistant Professor, 20032004

Open Society Institute/Soros Foundations, New York, USA & Almaty, Kazakhstan
International Education Policy Programs, Senior Education Advisor, 2002–2007

Open Society Institute/Soros Foundations, NY, USA
International Education Network Programs, Education Consultant, 1999–2001

The Soros Foundation Latvia, Riga, Latvia
Transformation of Education Program, Program Officer, 1997 – 1999

Affiliations (associations, organizations, institutions)

Comparative and International Education Society (since 1996)
Latvian Association for Cooperation in Education (since 1997)
Association for the Study of Nationalities (since 1999)
American Education Research Association (since 2008)
Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies (since 2008)

Selected Publications

Silova, I. ( 2014). The interplay of “posts” in comparative education: Post-socialism and post-colonialism after the cold war. In L. Vegas (Ed.), Empires, post-coloniality and interculturality: Comparative education between past, post, and present. Netherlands: Sense Publishers.

Silova, I., Mead, M.A., & Palandjian, G. (2014). Pedagogies of space: (Re)mapping territorities, borders, and identities in post-Soviet textbooks. In J. Williams (Ed.), (Re)Constructing memory: School textbooks, identity, and the pedagogies and politics of imagining community (pp. 103-130). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Mead, M. A. & Silova, I. (2013). Literacies of (post)socialist childhood: Alternative readings of socialist upbringings and neoliberal regimes. Globalization, Societies, Education, 11(2), 194–222.

Silova, I. & Eklof, B. (2013). Education in Eastern and Central Europe: Re-thinking post-socialism in the context of globalization. In R. F. Arnove & C. A. Torres (Eds.), Comparative education: The dialectic between the global and the local (4th edition) (pp. 379-402). New York: Rowman and Littlefield Publishers.

Silova, I. (2012). Contested meanings of educational borrowing. In G. Steiner-Khamsi and F. Waldow (Eds.), World Yearbook of Education 2012: Policy borrowing and lending in education (pp. 229-245). New York: Routledge.

Silova, I., Carney, S., & Rappleye, J. (2012). Between faith and science: World culture theory and comparative education.  Comparative Education Review, 56(3), 366-393.

Brehm, W. C. & Silova, I. (2011). The ignorant donor: A radical reimagination of international aid, development, and education. Current Issues in Comparative Education, 13(1), 29-36.

Silova, I. (Ed.). (2011). Globalization on the margins: Education and post-socialist transformations in Central Asia. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Silova, I. (Ed.). (2010). Post-socialism is not dead: (Re)reading the global in comparative education. Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing.

Silova, I. & Brehm, W. C. (2010). An American construction of European education space. European Educational Research Journal, 9(4), 457-470.

Silova, I. (Ed.). (2009). Private supplementary tutoring in Central Asia: New opportunities and burdens. Paris, France: UNESCO Institute of International Educational Planning (IIEP).

Silova, I. (2009). Varieties of educational transformation: The post-socialist states of Central/Southeastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. In R. Cowen & A. Kazamias (Eds.), International handbook of comparative education (pp. 295-320). Netherlands: Springer Publishers.

Silova, I. & Steiner-Khamsi, G. (Eds.) (2008). How NGOs react: Globalization and education reform in the Caucasus, Central Asia, and Mongolia. Bloomfield, CT: Kumarian Press.

Silova, I. (2006). From sites of occupation to symbols of multiculturalism: Re-conceptualizing minority education in post-Soviet Latvia. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.

Silova, I., Budiene, V., & Bray, M. (Eds.). (2006). Education in a hidden marketplace: Monitoring of private tutoring. Budapest, Hungary: Education Support Program of the Open Society Institute. 


Created: 11/13/2012

Updated: 8/6/2014

Contributed By: Olga Mun and Iveta Silova