Lilian Nwanze


Hi, my name is  Lilian.  I migrated from Nigeria many years ago, where I qualified and worked as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. My experience in education here in Ireland, triggered my interest in issues of inclusion, social justice, cultural competence and anti-racism in the classroom.  After my Masters in International and European Business Law in Trinity College, I moved to Maynooth University where I completed a Higher Diploma in Further Education.  I have also recently completed my Doctoral studies.  My Doctoral research inquired into the experiences Black migrant women in Ireland have had with racism and I used the insight from the women to propose a culturally responsive anti-racist pedagogy for use in Irish Adult Education

My broader research interests include social justice in adult learning spaces, the inclusion of underrepresented groups in educational spaces, anti-racist, critical and culturally relevant pedagogies, lifelong learning and exploring diverse ways of knowing.

I currently  serve as co-Director of the Higher Diploma in Further Education – A Teaching Council accredited programme that enables successful graduates to register to teach in a range of adult education spaces including Further Education Colleges, Community Education, Youthreach centers, prisons and other spaces that offer QQI awards. I am also a representative member on the Board of Directors of AONTAS and I work alongside various departments to create and implement strategic anti-racism classroom resources and interventions. 

Research Interests

My research interests include:


Inclusion in Education

Experiences of Black migrant learners  in Irish classrooms

Critical and Culturally Responsive Pedagogies 

Experiences of non-traditional learners in Irish classrooms

Cultural Competence in Initial Teacher Education

Research Projects

Title Role Description Start date End date Amount
A Community Needs Analysis With Refugees and People Seeking Asylum: Exploring Access and Barriers to Higher Education in Ireland Principal Researcher A participatory action research that explored the barriers faced by refugees and asylum seekers in accessing education in Ireland and advocating for better access to higher education for refugees and people in the protection process in Ireland. 03/02/2020 11/10/2021
SMILE - SMILE -Social Meaning Impact through LLL Universities in Europe Researcher Promoting inclusive education and training and fostering the education of disadvantaged learners, including through supporting educational staff. 01/12/2020 30/11/2023
Muslim women’s experience of pre and post natal care in Ireland; “A Mother is Born Too” Research Assistant In this research, we explored Muslim women’s experience of maternity care in Ireland from a human rights perspective and identified barriers to access with a view to making recommendations that will improve outcomes for mothers. 01/06/2020 31/12/2020 8000

Conference Contribution

Year Publication
2024 Lilian Nwanze (2024) IncludeHer International Launch Round Table Discussion How important are digital skills for students with migration background - exploring different perspectives Online, .
2023 Lilian Nwanze (2023) Law Society Panel Discussion Intercultural Education Maynooth, .
2023 Lilian Nwanze (2023) SMILE Webinar Panel Moderator: Women in Leadership in Higher Education: Stories from across Europe - Much done, much to be done Online, .
2023 Lilian Nwanze (2023) EDI Conference Voiceless Colony: Barriers to access faced by Refugees and Asylum Seekers Galway, .
2023 Lilian Nwanze (2023) EUCEN Conference Diversity in modern society - Making inclusion a central strategy in our universities Barcelona, Spain, .
2023 Lilian Nwanze (2023) AONTAS AGM Panel Panel Moderator: Collective Action Dublin, Ireland, .
2022 Camilla Fitzsimons and Lilian Nwanze (2022) Erasmus+ Space for Connection and Sharing Stories for Adult Educators Erasmus+ Space for Connection and Sharing Stories for Adult Educators Leargas, Dublin, .
2022 Lilian Nwanze (2022) Social Inequities and Barriers Blacks encounter in their HE journey - What can teachers do? Ireland, .
2021 Lilian Nwanze (2021) College Connect Website Launch and Seminar, 17/11/2021 We are Here Hear Seminar online, .
2022 Lilian Nwanze (2022) Inspectorate Conference Education Journeys for Children and Young People Dublin, Ireland, .
2022 Lilian Nwanze (2022) MU Applied Social Studies Educational Inequalities: Perspectives and Policies Maynooth, .
2021 Lilian Nwanze (2021) EPALE Online Seminar, 31/03/2021 Representation Matters Online, .
2021 Lilian Nwanze (2021) EUCEN University Lifelong Open Fora Panel Diversity and Inclusion in Higher Education: What we have and what we need Online, .
2021 Lilian Nwanze (2021) AONTAS Lifelong Learning Conference Educational Equality and Flexible Learning Online, .
2021 Lilian Nwanze (2021) EPALE Appreciating Diversity in Inclusive Adult Education Austria, .
2021 Lilian Nwanze (2021) EPALE Ireland Webinar Series Becoming an Anti-Racist Adult Practitioner - In conversation with Stephen Brookfield Ireland, .
2021 Lilian Nwanze (2021) EPALE Ireland Webinar Inclusiveness and Discrimination - Getting to the Root/Route Online, .
2021 Lilian Nwanze (2021) Athena Swan Race, Science, (Im)precision Medicine Maynooth, Ireland, .
2021 Lilian Nwanze (2021) Government of Ireland Government of Ireland - Creating our Future Event: The Experiences of Ireland's Black Community Bray, Ireland, .
2021 Lilian Nwanze (2021) Social Justice Week Race, Racism and Inclusion in the classroom Maynooth, .
2021 Lilian Nwanze (2021) AONTAS AONTAS Project Advisory Group Dublin, Ireland, .
2024 Lilian Nwanze (2024) AONTAS What's Holding Us Back: Moving Forward with Tackling Barriers to Adult Education Dublin, Ireland, . [Link]
2022 Lilian Nwanze (2022) Social Inequities and Barriers Blacks encounter in their HE journey - What can teachers do? Ireland, .
2022 Lilian Nwanze (2022) Social Inequities and Barriers Blacks encounter in their HE journey - What can teachers do? Ireland, .
2022 Lilian Nwanze (2022) Social Inequities and Barriers Blacks encounter in their HE journey - What can teachers do? Ireland, .

Book Chapter

Year Publication
2024 Lilian Nwanze (2024) 'Why we need to speak about race in Further Education and Training' In: Anthem Press. London : Anthem Press. [Link]

Conference Publication

Year Publication
2021 Fitzsimons, Camilla and Lilian Nwanze (2021) Diversity . In: Eva Baloch-Kaloianov eds. Let's talk about structural exclusion and racism in Adult Education [Link]

Peer Reviewed Journal

Year Publication
2023 Camilla Fitzsimons and Lilian Nwanze (2023) 'Can Critical Education Help Address Racial Discrimination in Irish Maternity Settings?'. Journal of Critical Education Policy Studies, . [Link] [Full-Text]
2023 Lilian Nwanze (2023) '“Becoming a White antiracist: a practical guide for educators, leaders and activists” - Book review'. Studies in the Education of Adults, 55 (1). [DOI]
2022 Lilian Nwanze Akobo (2022) 'The role of teachers in creating critically inclusive classrooms'. JOURNAL OF LIFELONG LEARNING IN EUROPE, 6 (1). [Link] [DOI]
2022 Fitzsimons, Camilla and Nwanze, Lilian (2022) 'Towards, critical, engaged, antiracist learning environments'. The Adult Learner, . [Link]

Published Report

Year Publication
2021 Sarah Meaney - Sartori and Lilian Nwanze (2021) A community needs analysis with Refugees and People seeking asylum: Exploring Barriers and Access to Higher Education in Ireland. College Connect, Ireland, . [Link]
2021 Fitzsimons, C., Hassan, B., Nwanze, L., Obasi, P. (2021) Researching the Needs of Muslim Women in Irish Maternity Settings: A mother is born too. Amal Women's Association, . [Link]

Audiovisual material

Year Publication
2021 Lilian Nwanze and Zoryana Psychk (2021) How to talk about race and racism. [Audiovisual material] [Link]
Certain data included herein are derived from the © Web of Science (2024) of Clarivate. All rights reserved.

Professional Associations

Description Function From / To
Teaching Council Member -
Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators, United Kingdom Graduate Member -
John Maxwell Leadership and Communication Certification, Florida, United States Member 14/07/2016 -

Honors and Awards

Date Title Awarding Body
01/06/2021 USI-IRC Why Research Matters Competition Union of Students Ireland and Irish Research Council
01/09/2020 Irish Research Council Scholarship Irish Research Council (IRC)
01/10/2020 3 minute Thesis Competition Maynooth University
02/09/2019 John Hume Scholarship Maynooth University
02/10/2006 Dean's Prize for the Best Graduating Student in the Faculty of Law University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria.


Committee Function From / To
Maynooth University Sanctuary Committee Member -
AONTAS Member of the Board of Directors 01/06/2023 -
HEA Advisory Group on Anti-Racism in Irish Higher Education Member 10/04/2024 -
Focus Advisory Group Member, SMILE Focus Advisory Group Member 03/01/2022 - 01/06/2023


Employer Position From / To
Maynooth University Associate Lecturer, Department of Adult and Community Education 18/11/2019 - 04/12/2023
Maynooth University Assistant Lecturer, Department of Adult and Community Education 05/12/2023 -
Maynooth University Research Assistant 12/12/2022 - 30/11/2023


Start date Institution Qualification Subject
Partners Training for Transformation Creative Facilitation Skills Facilitation and Adult Learning
National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education Universal Design in Teaching and Learning Universal Design for Teaching and Learning

Outreach Activities

Organisation Type Description
Meath African Network (MAN) Civic Society Meath African Network is an organization that was formed for the empowerment and community involvement and recognition of Africans in County Meath. [Link]

Teaching Interests

My identity as a Black migrant woman in Ireland has shaped my interest in education.  I am interested in how adults learn in groups and how educators can enact creative, critical, inclusive, culturally responsive and equitable pedagogies.  I am also interested in the learning that happens when learners are allowed to share their stories and the potential this has to open up learning groups to new (and previously unexplored) perspectives. 

I design and deliver, across various departments (and across various levels) modules that explore various critical anti-racist pedagogies and theories.  I use non-traditional methods such as story-telling and parables in my classes.  My teaching philosophy is such that believes that the structures and systems in the society replicate themselves in learning spaces.  Consequently, learning spaces should be sites of critical conversations, community building and questioning of taken for granted hegemonic ideas.