PhD in International Education

Amy Kapit

Name: Amy KapitPicture of Amy Kapit

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Expected Date of Graduation: May 2014

Why did you choose to pursue a Doctoral degree in International Education?

After graduating from Swarthmore College, where I majored in religion and peace and conflict studies, I worked for a couple years on educational advocacy relating to the Israeli and Palestinian conflict. During this time, I became particularly interested in the way that education can shape historical narratives, social identities, and political opinions. I decided that I wanted to contribute to knowledge and research on the subject, focusing on the role of education in situations of armed conflict: how conflict affects education and how education affects conflict, potentially serving to either mitigate and exacerbate it.

Research focus:

I look at how the humanitarian community is addressing the problem of attacks on education (violence, harassment, and threats against students, teachers, and schools in areas of armed conflict). More specifically, I focus on the work of humanitarian actors in the occupied Palestinian territory and the linkages between what is occurring there and global advocacy efforts.

Professor or scholar who has influenced you the most:

My dissertation chair Dana Burde has been extremely influential, both inspiring and guiding my research interests. Theoretically, I draw primarily on the work of constructivist scholars of international relations who examine issues such as international organizations, international agenda setting, and the role of international norms in global politics. I am particularly influenced by the work of Michael Barnett, Martha Finnemore, Kathryn Sikkink, Margaret Keck, and Charli Carpenter, among others. 

Awards, fellowships, and other accolades:

  • Doctoral Student Travel Grant ($1000), 2011 and 2013
  • Shearwater Travel Grant for dissertation research in the West Bank and Gaza Strip ($1000), 2012
  • David L. Boren Fellowship, National Security Education Program for dissertation research in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (19,000), 2011-2012 (declined)
  • Steinhardt Fellowship for Doctoral Study ($67,440 plus tuition remission), 2008-2011
  • Critical Language Scholarship for Advanced Arabic in Amman, Jordan, 2008
  • Julia and Frank Lyman Student Summer Research Fellowship ($3,750), 2005


  • Kapit-Spitalny, Amy and Burde, Dana (2011). Annex 1: Prioritizing the Agenda for Research for the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack: Why Evidence is Important, What We Know, and How to Learn More. In Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack. Report from the Knowledge Roundtable on Programmatic Measures in Prevention, Intervention and Response to Attacks on EducationNovember 8-11, 2011 Phuket, Thailand. New York, NY: GCPEA, pp. 29-46.
  • Burde, Dana, Kapit-Spitalny, Amy, Wahl, Rachel, and Guven, Ozen (2011). Education and Conflict Mitigation: What the Aid Workers Say. Washington, DC: USAID.
  • Guven, Ozen, Kapit-Spitalny, Amy, and Burde, Dana (contracted and submitted, 2011). The Education of Former Child Soldiers: Finding a Way Back to Civilian Identity. Education Above All.
  • Burde, Dana, Kapit-Spitalny, Amy, Wahl, Rachel, and Guven, Ozen (contracted and submitted, 2010). Education in Emergencies: A Literature Review of What Works, What Does Not, and Why. Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.
  • Miller-Idriss, Cynthia and Kapit, Amy (2009). Book Review: Promoting Conflict or Peace Through Identity by Nikki Slocum-Bradley (Ed.). Journal of Intercultural Studies, 30(4), pp. 431-433.

What are your career goals?

I want to work for an international humanitarian agency on issues relating to education in emergencies, using my knowledge and research experience to inform programming and advocacy.

What do you like the most about the International Education program at NYU Steinhardt?

The amazing learning environment: I have gained so much from both my colleagues and the faculty, who are always there to give valuable critique and support. Also, the amazing resources that a city like New York offers for those of us studying international issues.