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Dr Kathleen Fincham

Director - Centre for Research into the Education of Marginalised Children and Young Adults

Dr Kathleen Fincham

About Research

Tel: 020 8240 8296


Working at the nexus of development and humanitarian scholarship, policy and practice, Kathleen's professional experience has been wide-ranging and varied, including research, teaching, training, programme and project management, policy analysis, partner coordination and advocacy with education institutions, governments, bilaterals (CIDA, SIDA), multi-laterals (UNHCR, UNICEF, UNGEI, European Union) and INGOs (Oxfam Novib, WUSC, Save the Children, British Council). Countries of experience/expertise include: West Asia (Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan, Turkey, Syria, UAE), North Africa and the Sahel (Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Sudan), Sub-Saharan Africa (Ghana, Rwanda, Nigeria) and East Asia (China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore). 

Kathleen holds a DPhil Education and Development from the University of Sussex, an MSc Gender and Development from the London School of Economics, an MAT (TESOL) from the School for International Training (USA) and a BEd from the University of Alberta (Canada).

Before coming to St Mary’s, Kathleen lectured/taught at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), the University of East Anglia (UEA-DEV) and the Institute of Education, University College London (IoE/UCL).

Kathleen is Programme Director for the MA Education, International Development and Social Justice.


Kathleen's research interests centre around the sociology and political economy of education and learning within development and humanitarian contexts.

Specific themes of interest include: identities, inequalities, social exclusion, social cohesion, social mobility, citizenship, inter/intra community relations and institutional power.

Kathleen’s doctoral research explored how Palestinian youth construct, articulate and negotiate their identities vis-à-vis nation, religion and gender through formal and non-formal education institutions and networks in UNRWA refugee camps in south Lebanon.

Other major research projects have included:

  • Identifying best practice for empowerment through entrepreneurial freedom: A project for the marginalized in slum areas in Delhi, India - Co-Investigator (in collaboration with the University of Newcastle) (March 2021)
  • Syrian youths’ perceptions and experiences of higher education opportunities for refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey (British Council/ UNHCR) - Principal Investigator
  • Troubling Muslim youth identities: nation, religion, gender - Lebanon, Pakistan, Senegal, Nigeria (University of Sussex) - Team Lead Lebanon study
  • Factors affecting the education and retention of girls in basic schools in Sudan (SOFRECO/European Union) - Team Lead Gender study (#2 out of 6)
  • Youth as active citizens for their rights to education and SRHR - Palestine, Pakistan, Nigeria, Senegal (University of Sussex/ Oxfam Novib) - Team Lead Palestine study
  • Rights and equity in the classroom: a case study of classroom interactions in basic schools in Ghana (Ghana MoE/ UNICEF)
  • Economic Development and ‘Modernisation’: progression or regression for women in the UAE? (London School of Economics – MSc dissertation)

Peer reviewer

  • COMPARE: A Journal of Comparative and International Education (BAICE)
  • Journal on Education in Emergencies (INEE)
  • Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies
  • Journal of Refugee Studies
  • Prospects: Quarterly Review of Comparative Education (UNESCO)

Selected publications


  • Fincham, K. (with Dunne, M., Durrani, N. and Crossuard, B.) (2017). Troubling Muslim Youth Identities: nation, religion, gender.  Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Book chapters

  • Fincham, K. (with Dunne, M., Durrani, N. and Crossuard, B.) (2014). Youth Researching Youth: reflections from a multi-country study of youth claiming rights to education and sexual/reproductive health. In S. Bastien and H. Holmarsdottir (eds), Youth at the margins: experiences from engaging youth in research worldwide. Rotterdam: Sense.
  • Fincham, K. (2013). Shifting Youth Identities and Notions of Citizenship in the Palestinian Diaspora: the case of Lebanon. In D. Kiwan (ed) Naturalization Policies, Education and Citizenship: Multicultural and Multi-nation Societies in International Perspective. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Journal articles

  • Fincham, K. (2020). Negotiating Gender Identities through Higher Education: The experiences of Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon. (under review)
  • Fincham, K. (2020). Higher education and Syrian refugees’ navigation of economic, social and political constraints in exile. Education and Conflict Review (3), pp.29-37.
  • Fincham, K. (2020). Rethinking higher education for Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Research in Comparative and International Education. DOI: 10.1177/1745499920926050
  • Fincham, K., & Dunne, M. (2020). Fracturing the nation: Muslim youth identities in multi-religious states. Social Identities, 26(3), 330-344. DOI:10.1080/13504630.2020.1765762
  • Fincham, K. (with Dunne, M., Crossouard, B. and Durrani, N.) (2020). Gender symbolism and the expression of post-colonial national and religious identities. Social Identities, 26(3), 376-387. DOI:10.1080/13504630.2020.1765765
  • Fincham, K. (with Dunne, M., Durrani, N. and Crossouard, B.) (2020) Pluralising Islam: doing Muslim identities differently. Social Identities, 26(3), 345-360. DOI:10.1080/13504630.2020.1765763
  • Fincham, K. (2017). Gender and Primary School Dropout in Sudan: girls' education and retention in Red Sea State. Prospects: quarterly review of comparative education (UNESCO). 47, 361–376. DOI: 10.1007/s11125-018-9420-6
  • Fincham, K. (2013). Constructions, Contradictions and Reconfigurations of 'Manhood' among Youth in Palestinian Camps in Lebanon. International Journal of Educational Development, 37: 48-56.
  • Fincham, K. (2012). Nationalist Narratives, Boundaries and Social Inclusion/Exclusion in Palestinian Camps in South Lebanon. COMPARE: a journal of comparative and international education, 42(2): 303-324.
  • Fincham, K. (2012). Learning the Nation in Exile: constructing youth identities, belonging and ‘citizenship’ in Palestinian refugee camps in south Lebanon. Comparative Education, 48(1): 119-133.
  • Fincham, K. (2010). The Construction of the Palestinian Girl: voices from south Lebanon. Girlhood Studies, 3(1): 34-54. 

Technical reports and policy papers

  • Fincham, K. (2020). Mapping of Refugee Access to the National Education System in North Africa (Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Tunisia). UNHCR. (in progress)
  • Fincham, K. (2017). Syrian Youths’ Perceptions and Experiences of Higher Education Opportunities for Refugees - MENA Regional Summary. British Council.
  • Fincham, K. (2016). Establishing Higher Education Scholarship Schemes as a Pathway of Admission for Refugees to Europe. UNHCR.
  • Fincham, K. (2015). Factors Affecting the Education and Retention of Girls in Primary Education in the Red Sea State of Sudan: perspectives from Port Sudan, Hayya and Tokar. SOFRECO/European Union.
  • Fincham, K. (with Dunne, M., Durrani, N. & Crossouard, B.) (2013). Youth as Active Citizens Report: youth working towards their rights to education and sexual reproductive health. University of Sussex/ Oxfam Novib.
  • Fincham, K. (with Smith, R.L.). (2010). Transforming Policy and Practice for Gender in Education: a review of the 2010 Education for All Global Monitoring Report using an equity and inclusion lens. UNICEF/ UNGEI.
  • Fincham, K. (with Smith, R.L.). (2009). Transforming Policy and Practice for Gender in Education: a gender review of the 2009 EFA Global Monitoring Report. UNICEF/ UNGEI.
  • Fincham, K. (with Asiegbor, I.; Nanang, M.; Gala, E. E. K.; Britwum, A. O.) (2001). Rights and Equity in the Classroom: a case study of classroom interactions in basic schools in Ghana. UNICEF.

Media enquiries

For media enquiries, please contact our Press Office Team by emailling or calling 020 8240 8262.