Dr Joan McGregor

Dr Joan McGregor

Director and Conflict Transformation Practitioner

Contact details

School of Government and Society
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham
B15 2TT

Joan is a conflict transformation practitioner who works with people living in conflict or violence or in post settlement situations to rebuild the relationships between parties (individuals or groups).  This can include mediation, context conflict analysis using participatory approaches, creating a vision for a shared future, strategic thinking and planning.  Joan is committed to nonviolence as an approach and has particular skills in communication and participatory problem solving.

Born in the apartheid South Africa of the 1950s Joan McGregor’s early experiences shaped her future career as a peace and conflict transformation practitioner.  She has worked in more than 30 countries, and brings these experiences with her to working within tertiary institutions. The combination of organisational development skills, analysis, planning skills and counselling skills all add value to Joan’s approach to learning and teaching: both at an academic level and outside of formal learning.

Joan has a keen interest in the concepts of adult learning and critical literacy. Joan is currently working freelance. For 15 years prior to this she was a Peace and Conflict Advisor at Responding to Conflict, based in Birmingham UK.


Doctor of the University of Birmingham (2017)

MA in Peace and Conflict Studies, Coventry University (2007)


Joan joined the Anti-Apartheid Movement in South Africa in 1972, having realised that the minority white voters were unlikely to bring change through the ballot box.   She was introduced to active nonviolence at Mahatma Ghandi’s Ashram north of Durban in South Africa and remains committed to active nonviolence as a way of life. 

She was born and brought up in the Eastern Cape in South Africa where she became politically aware at a young age:  she saw first-hand the devastation that was brought by inequality: in the workplace through her mother being paid less than a man doing the same work; in society by seeing how the inequality of apartheid played out in the lives of citizens in different ethnic groups. 

This led to a lifetime in the quest for justice, without which there is no peace. This played out at a personal level; working voluntarily as a lay counsellor at the Martindale Counselling Centre in Johannesburg and at a professional level through filling different roles in different anti-apartheid organisations through the 1970s, 80s and 90s. 

In 2001 Joan moved to the United Kingdom to work at Responding to Conflict in Birmingham. She is currently Director of her own Consultancy, and works internationally from bases in the UK and Johannesburg.


Institute for Conflict Cooperation and Security

‘Trust, Diplomacy and Conflict Transformation’; Practical Mediation Skills

Other activities

Continuing Activities:

  • Advisory Panel Member Concordis International, London
  • Member of the Coalition for Peace in Africa (COPA)
  • Mentor, forumZFD, Germany Tutor at Akademie fur Konflicttrasformation in Cologne, Germany.
  • Tutor at the Mindanao  Peace Institute, Davao, Philippines.

Current and previous programmes/projects:

  • RIPAT for Peace: Integrated livelihoods and peace in Samburu County, Kenya. June 2014-2017
  • Realisation of the rights and the sustainable reintegration of children and youth formerly associated with armed forces and armed groups (CAAFAG) in Nepal’, EC funded RTC project in Nepal, January 2011-2013
  • Shared Programme lead for RTC’s project ’Transforming the Discourse of Violence and Despair: Strengthening the Impact of Palestinian/Israeli Civil Society Organisations’ - Gaza, West Bank and Israel. 2004 – 2009