Dr. Jihae Cha

Jihae Cha headshot

Dr. Jihae Cha

Assistant Professor, International Education and International Affairs

School: Graduate School of Education and Human Development

Department: Cross-Disciplinary, Educational Leadership


Email: Dr. Jihae Cha
Dr. Jihae Cha is an Assistant Professor of International Education at the George Washington University's Graduate School of Education and Human Development. Dr. Cha’s research interests examine the intersection of education quality, sense of belonging, gender, and psychosocial well-being, and the ways in which they influence students’ academic motivation, persistence, and transition in forced displacement caused by armed conflicts and natural disasters. Her recent research project uses narrative inquiry and participatory action research in navigating a sense of identity/self and belonging among populations with refugee backgrounds in the United States. 
For the past decade, Dr. Cha has been actively involved in multiple research projects that examined urban refugee education, teacher professional development, accelerated education, and early childhood education with the focus on East African countries. Moving away from deficit discourses that emphasize the vulnerability, passivity, and powerlessness of displaced populations, Dr. Cha's research focuses on taking a balanced approach that explores both challenges and opportunities that exist in education for students with refugee backgrounds.
In addition to her expertise in education in emergencies, Dr. Cha also worked as a research fellow for the United Nations Academic Impact Korea where she developed a global citizenship curriculum for university students in Korea and taught multiple courses at Handong Global University on capacity building in international educational development. More recently, Dr. Cha worked as a postdoctoral research scholar at Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, where she co-led the monitoring, evaluation, research, and learning team of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program e-Learning Initiative in 10 universities in Africa, Central America, and the Middle East.

Ed.D. in International Educational Development, Teachers College, Columbia University
M.A. in International Educational Development, Teachers College, Columbia University
B.A. in International Studies, Ewha Womans University 


  • February 2024 - Dr. Jihae Cha, along with doctoral students InJung Cho and Doo Rhee Lee (both in the Ph.D. in Education's Comparative and International Education concentration) presented as part of a panel at the Power and Politics of Localization Conference, convened by the Humanitarian Action Initiative (HAI) housed in GW's Elliott School of International Affairs.
  • September 2023 Dr. Jihae Cha, along with Dr. Minkyung Choi from Montclair State University, published the article, "Stories told by refugee youth: alternatives to dominant narratives," in the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education.
  • September 2023 Dr. Jihae Cha published a chapter online titled, Children and Youth as “Agents" in Displacement: Young Girls' Stories of Motivation, Action, and Change in Kakuma Refugee Camp. In this book chapter, Dr. Minkyung Choi, Assistant Professor of Literacy Education at Montclair State University, and Dr. Cha examine the concept of “everyday agency” in children and youth’s daily decisions and actions in a highly restrictive environment. They find that children and youth -- even amidst displacement -- are constantly exercising agency and/or are actively involved in “agentic practices” on a spectrum consisting of three major categories: thinking, action, and change. The chapter is part of the book, Education for Refugees and Forced (Im)Migrants Across Time and Context: Volume 45.