Christiana Kallon Kelly Program: Literacy, Culture, and International Education Division, Ph.D.

Anticipated Graduation: May 2023


Professional Biography

Christiana Kallon Kelly is a PhD candidate from Sierra Leone in the Division of Literacy, Culture, and International Education and 1st place winner of Penn's innaugrual 3 Minute Thesis competition. Her research interests include education, gender, technology, and development in Sub-Saharan Africa. Beyond the classroom, Christiana is involved in a number of diversity and global initiatives. She served as the 2018-2019 Graduate and Professional Student Assembly Chair for International Affairs, a Lipman Family Prize Fellow at the Wharton McNulty Leadership Program, a Perry World House Graduate Associate, and is a member of the Black Graduate Women's Association.

Previously, Kallon Kelly worked as a Research and Development Assistant at the UNESCO Regional Bureau in Dakar, Senegal (2016), Programme Analyst for the United Nations Office for Project Services in Amman, Jordan (2014-2015) and Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Admissions at the College of William & Mary in Virginia (2011-2014).

Christiana was born in Sierra Leone and attended K-12 international schools in Pakistan, Kenya, Uganda and Bangladesh. She speaks English, Krio and French.

Research Interests and Current Projects

Christiana's research interests span comparative and international education, youth, gender, civil wars, peacebuilding, and development in Sub-Saharan Africa. Her dissertation examines the role of schooling in post-conflict reconstruction and national development in African countries that experienced civil wars in the early 1990s. Her dissertation, "The Innovation Generation: Students, Teachers, and Technology for National Development in Sierra Leone", is a qualitative study of the impact of the 2018 Free Quality School Education Program and new education technologies on schooling practices of teachers, students, and families in Sierra Leone.

Christiana has been awarded numerous grants for her research, including the American Association of University Women International Fellowship, Philanthropic Education Organization International Peace Scholarship, the Peace Research Institute of Oslo International Summer School Scholarship, the Kathryn Davis Peace and Diplomacy Grant and the President Gutmann Leadership Award, among others.


Kallon, C. (2018, August 6). How Do We Decolonize Peace Research? PRIO Blogs. [Blog post]. Retrieved from

Hospital, X. & C. Kallon. (2016). Strengthening Education in West and Central Africa by Improving Learners' Sexual and Reproductive Health. Education2030 Brief. Volume 3. UNESCO: Dakar.

Yonemura, A & C. Kallon. (2016). Education in Emergencies and Protracted Crises: Developing Inclusive, Responsive, and Resilient Education Services for All. Education2030 Brief. Volume 2. UNESCO: Dakar.

Interest Categories

Educational Leadership
Global & International Education
School & Society


MS.Ed. (International Educational Development) University of Pennsylvania, 2016.
B.A. (Sociology) The College of William & Mary, 2011.

Faculty Advisors

Krystal Strong
Assistant Professor of Education

Rand Quinn
Associate Professor of Education

Sharon Ravitch
Professor of Practice

Areas Of Expertise

African Politics
Comparative & International Education
Education in Emergencies
Education Technology

Profile information is provided directly by the student