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International Education Doctoral student Jo Kelcey

Jo Kelcey

International Education PhD Student


Program: International Education

Research Interests:  Conflict and education,diaspora education, histories of humanitarianism, mixed and multiple methods research

Principal Adviser(s): Dana Burde, Carol Anne Spreen, Rene Arcilla

Dissertation title: “Schooling the Stateless: the UNRWA Education Programme for Palestine Refugees”

Research Description: Jo is a doctoral candidate in the International Education program. Her dissertation explores histories of refugee education, with a focus on the Palestinian case. She examines how the competing and often contradictory demands of the international aid system have shaped the education provided by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) and considers the lessons that this case poses for contemporary efforts to educate refugees. Jo also works as a senior researcher and program manager for the Centre for Lebanese Studies at the Lebanese American University in Beirut. 

Prior to her PhD, Jo worked for various aid agencies in the field of education and child rights. She has an MSc. in Violence, Conflict and Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and a BA (honors) in Economics and French from the University of Sheffield.

Selected Publications, Presentations, and Awards:

  • Kelcey, J. (2019). “Whose knowledge?” Putting politics back into curriculum choices for refugees.” In, Education as a Panacea for Refugee Youth: Transitioning from Conflict to the Classroom. (Wiseman, A., Damascke-Deitrick, L., Gallegher, E., & M. Park (Eds). (Routledge). 

  • Kelcey, J. (2019). Mandatory Separation. Religion, Education, and Mass Politics in Palestine [Review of the book Mandatory Separation. Religion, Education, and Mass Politics in Palestine, by S. Schneider]. Review of Middle East Studies.

  • Kelcey, J. (2019). “Navigating curricula choices for Palestine refugees.” Forced Migration Review 60. March 2019.  

  • Kelcey, J. & Monaghan, C. (2019). Driving Forward with the Rearview Mirror: The Importance of Historical Approaches for EiE Research. In, Mendenhall, M. (Ed.) Data Collection and Evidence Building to Support Education in Emergencies. NORRAG Special Issue No.2.

  • Kelcey, J. & Monaghan, C. (2018, May 31). Why we should all be researcher-advocates. [Blog post]. Retrieved from  

  • Burde. D, Guven. O, Kelcey. J, Lahmann. H, Al-Abbadi. K (2015). What Works to Promote Children’s Educational Access, Quality of Learning, and Wellbeing in Crisis-Affected Contexts. Education Rigorous Literature Review. London, UK: Department for International Development.

  • Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) merit grant. New Scholars Workshop, Mexico City. March, 2018.

  • Doctoral Research and Travel grant. Steinhardt school of Culture, Education and Human Development. New York University. February 2018.

  • New York University, Steinhardt School of Education, Culture and Human Development, Doctoral Funding. Four-year research assistantship with full funding (tuition and stipend). Sept. 2014 to May 2018.

  • International Peace Scholarship Fund (P.E.O.) International student scholarship. Sept. 2014 to May 2016. 

  • Kelcey, J. (2018, March). Integration or alignment: lessons from the UNRWA Education Programme for Palestine refugees. In, To integrate or separate? Comparative lessons from education systems managing protracted refugee situations. Highlightedpaper session at the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) annual conference, Mexico City, Mexico.

  • Kelcey, J. & Guven, O. (2015, March). What works in education in emergencies? In, Syrian Refugees: The Challenge of Education. Highlightedpaper session at the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) annual conference, Washington DC, USA.