Great news for practice-based research within The Hague University of Applied Sciences (THUAS)! Dr. Barbara Warwas (lecturer Multilevel Regulation) and dr. Naomi van Stapele (lecturer Inclusive Education) have jointly been awarded the prestigious Comenius Leadership Fellow grant. With this grant of no less than 500,000 euros, they will lead a pioneering project at THUAS, to develop a Relational Peer Mediation Training.

Pedagogy of discomfort 

Dr. Warwas, the lead applicant, and dr. van Stapele, the co-applicant, will develop an innovative relational peer mediation training with their teams within THUAS. This training is based on the so-called “pedagogy of discomfort”. Unlike traditional teaching methods, which often promote individualism and competitiveness, this project focuses on fostering affective learning. The goal is to teach students to deal with diverse and sometimes conflicting emotions, and to enable them to grow in relational and intellectual flexibility from discomfort.

The project includes a series of story-sharing forums, critical dialogues and intensive conflict-competency training sessions. Eventually, a relational peer mediation clinic will be established within THUAS. Here, students will learn to deal with discomfort and thereby become stronger and more resilient together. In addition, an innovative model for affective learning will be developed, applicable not only within the university, but also beyond.

A step forward in the educational ambitions of The Hague University of Applied Sciences

According to the Comenius Scholarship call for proposals, the goal of a Leadership Fellow is to boost the institution's educational ambitions and inspire other educators. The project will be housed at the BRV faculty and work closely with the Centre of Expertise Global and Inclusive Learning, among other educational units within The Hague.

Arend Hardorff, (member Executive Board), stressed the importance of this project: 

"This is great news for Barbara and Naomi, and great news for THUAS. This project goes to the heart of our new institutional plan and will help us realize our strategic ambitions for a just society and for quality education, among other things. During the formation of the advisory board for the project the core aspirations of this project have been received with great enthusiasm by many colleagues from different education teams, and-most importantly-by students. I wish Barbara and Naomi much success in designing and implementing this educational innovation within The Hague University of Applied Sciences."

Join us!

The project team invites students, faculty and other education specialists at HHS to participate in this inspiring initiative. There are many opportunities to engage, that we will announce shortly. Those interested should contact Barbara or Naomi for more information. We look forward to sharing more about this project after the summer break!


dr. Barbara Warwas                                        dr. Naomi van Stapele