Ameena Ghaffar-Kucher

Senior Lecturer
Associate Director, International Educational Development Program

Literacy, Culture, and International Education Division

Graduate School of Education
University of Pennsylvania

Phone: 215-898-5004


Dr. Ghaffar-Kucher's research spans several countries. Within the United States, her research focuses on the educational and socialization experiences of immigrant and refugee youth. She has worked with a variety of immigrant and refugee youth, including working- and lower-middle-class Pakistani-immigrant youth in New York City, with whom she explore how gender-based expectations, class differences, and age on arrival influence youths’ notions of citizenship and belonging. Along with two colleagues from Teachers College, Columbia University, she completed an anti-bullying resource pack for educators that targets the bullying of South-Asian American youth "In the Face of Xenophobia: Lessons to Address Bullying of South-Asian Youth". In a more recent study, she examined how schools in NYC were supporting refugee youth. She was also a co-investigator for the SSRC's "Our Shared Past" Grant in which she worked with scholars from six different universities on a curriculum project titled "Rethinking the Region: New Approaches to 9-12 US Curriculum on the "Modern Middle East." Currently, she is an advisory board member MTV's Look Different Campaign, which aims to give youth tools to be able to discuss and respond to (hidden) biases in society.

Dr. Ghaffar-Kucher’s other areas of research pertain to issues of educational access, equity and quality, particularly in the context of Pakistan, as well other Muslim majority countries more broadly. Within these contexts, she is especially interested in understanding how educational policies are appropriated at the local level, specifically in terms of policies relating to curriculum and pedagogy. Relatedly, her practitioner work has focused on teachers' professional development. She has worked on "USAID's Pre-STEP project" in Pakistan, which seeks to overhaul pre-service teacher education throughout the country. Her latest project (with Thea Abu el-Haj) examines the civic engagment of youth from Muslim immigrant communities in the US and is sponsored by the Spencer Foundation.