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Zeena Zakharia

Professional Background

Educational Background

Ed.D. Columbia University Teachers College

Ed.M. Harvard University Graduate School of Education

B.A. Yale University

Scholarly Interests

Educational policy and research within conflict/postwar, development, and urban school contexts | International humanitarian issues | Education and peacebuilding | Peace and human rights education | Education for social and political change | Political participation and contestation | Language and conflict | Language policy and bilingual education | Teacher education | Research methods

Selected Publications

García, O., Zakharia, Z., & Otcu, B. (Eds). (expected, 2012). Bilingual community education for American children: Beyond heritage languages in a global city. Multilingual Matters.

Zakharia, Z., & Menchaca Bishop, L. (expected, 2012). Towards positive peace through bilingual community education: The language efforts of Arabic-speaking communities in New York. In García, O., Zakharia, Z., & Otcu, B. (Eds), Bilingual community education for American children: Beyond heritage languages in a global city. Multilingual Matters.

Zakharia, Z. (2012). Education and peacebuilding in crisis and post-conflict contexts: Lebanon country study. New York: UNICEF.

Zakharia, Z. (2010). Language and vulnerability: How educational policies exacerbate inequalities in higher education. In J. Calabrese (Ed.), Higher education and the Middle East: Empowering under-served and vulnerable populations (pp. 41-44). Washington, DC: Middle East Institute Viewpoints Publications.

Zakharia, Z. (2010). (Re)constructing policy in a Shi'i school in Lebanon. In K. Menken, & O. García (Eds), Negotiating language policies in schools: Educators as policymakers (pp. 162-181). London & New York: Routledge.

García, O., & Zakharia, Z. (2010). Positioning language and ethnic identity. In J. A Fishman, & O. García (Eds),  Handbook of language and ethnic identity: Disciplinary and regional perspectives, 2nd ed. (pp. 521-525). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Zakharia, Z. (2009). Positioning Arabic in schools: Language policy, national identity, and development in contemporary Lebanon. In F. Vavrus, & L. Bartlett (Eds), Critical approaches to comparative education: Vertical case studies from Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas (pp. 215-231). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Zakharia, Z. (2009). Education and violent political conflict. Review and commentary: Harvard Educational Review, Education in violent political conflict (Symposium). Harvard Educational Publishing Group Blog.

Zakharia, Z. (2009). Language-in-education policies in contemporary Lebanon: Youth perspectives. In O. Abi-Mershed (Ed.), Trajectories of education in the Arab World: Legacies and challenges (pp. 157-184). London & New York: Routledge.

Zakharia, Z. (2008). The Arab Middle East and North Africa. In O. García, Bilingual education in the 21st Century: A global perspective (pp. 276-280). Oxford: Blackwell.

Zakharia, Z. (2004). How schools cope with war: A case study of Lebanon. In D. Burde, T. Arnstein, C. Pagen, & Z. Zakharia (Eds), Education in emergencies and post-conflict situations: Problems, responses, and possibilities (pp. 107-117). New York: Society for International Education, Teachers College.

Burde, D., Arnstein, T., Pagen, C., & Zakharia, Z. (Eds). (2004). Education in emergencies and post-conflict situations: Problems, responses, and possibilities. New York: Society for International Education, Teachers College.


custom course list

ITSF 5199 Youth, Education, and Conflict in the Middle East and North Africa: Comparative Perspectives

ITSF 5199 Politics, Education, and Violent Conflict

ITSF 5590 Education and the Development of Nations

ITSF 4603 The Human and Social Dimensions of Peace

ITSF 4902 Approaches and Methods for Critical Peace Educators

ITSF 6590 Doctoral Seminar

ITSF 4025 Languages, Societies, and Schools

ITSF 4027 Current Topics in Bilingualism and Bilingual Education

professional organization membership

biographical information

Zeena Zakharia (B.A., Yale; Ed.M., Harvard; Ed.D., Columbia) is the Middle Eastern Studies Postdoctoral Fellow at Columbia University, where she is jointly appointed by the Department of International and Transcultural Studies at Teachers College and the Middle East Institute at the School of International and Public Affairs. She currently lectures and conducts research on youth, education and conflict in the Middle East and the Arab diaspora, specifically in relation to human rights and peacebuilding in education. Her recent publications consider the interplay of language policy, collective identity, and human security in schools, during and after violent political conflict. She is also engaged in research on the education of Arab Americans in New York City in the transnational context of conflict. These interests stem from over 15 years of experience in educational development, school leadership, teaching, and research in war-affected contexts. She comes to Columbia from the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government where she was Tueni Fellow, and currently leads the Lebanon country team as International Senior Research Consultant for UNICEF’s study on Education and Peacebuilding.


ITSF 4025: Languages, society, and schools

This course studies the role that languages play in different societal contexts. It examines the language policies of different societies and looks at how these policies are enacted or not in different institutional contexts by diverse speakers. In doing so, the course pays attention to diverse language ideologies as well as to the relationship between language and identity. Languages and literacies in schools, especially educational language policy in multilingual contexts, receive special consideration.

ITSF 4027: Current topics in bilingualism and bilingual/bicultural education

Description coming soon

ITSF 4094: Educational planning in international educational development

Point allocation to be determined by topic each time course is offered. Topic courses explore issues related to the socioeconomic and cultural context of educational planning and policy studies. They consider the relation to specific issues of various approaches to planning and their attendant outcomes. Topics vary and may include any of the following, Education in the Middle East, Educational Development in the Muslim World, Emergency Education, Gender, Education, and International Develop-ment, Human Rights, International Education Policy, and Education in Post-Conflict Settings.

ITSF 4603: Human and social dimensions of peace

This course focuses on issues of human rights, global ethics, and various aspects of structural and cultural violence. Students are introduced to examples of nonviolent social movements and reflect on the process of peaceful transformation. Another course in human rights may be substituted for the concentration in peace education.

ITSF 4902: Research Independent Study:International Transcultural

Research Independent Study:International Transcultural

ITSF 5430: Internship

Permission required. Supervised experiences in diverse settings designed to develop skills in research, development, planning, and evaluation.

ITSF 5590: Education and the development of nations

Prerequisites: ITSF 4090/6580 or ITSF 4091/6581. This seminar explores the politics of education in international and transcultural contexts. Course topics include educational equity and quality as well as the role of international donors in transplanting particular best practice or reform packages from one national context to another.

ITSF 6590: Doctoral seminar in international and transcultural studies

Permission required. Presentation of research in progress and examination of professional roles.