By Jeannine Ajello
Emily Markovich Morris is a scholar and educator of comparative education and international development whose research explores how to build collaborations between learning institutions, families, and communities to support marginalized youth in reaching their educational, work, and life aspirations. As a fellow in the Center for Universal Education, Morris coordinates family engagement in education efforts and leads research on leveraging family-school-community partnerships to transform educational systems.
For the past two decades, Morris has worked with nongovernmental and community-based organizations, government agencies, as well as international education institutions in sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia on promoting educational access, equity, and inclusion. She has served as a senior leader and international advisor on distance learning, community and family engagement, gender and inclusion, policy implementation, teacher training and curriculum design, and livelihoods development.
Morris was based in East Africa for nearly a decade and helped establish a distance learning unit in the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training in Zanzibar (MoEVT), Tanzania. She worked with central, regional, and district teams in MoEVT, Zanzibar and the Tanzania Institute for Education. Since 2007, she has been leading longitudinal, mixed-methods research with educators from Zanzibar. The study tracks youth from preschool through post-secondary to understand how and why students are pushed out of school with the intention of informing educational policy and programming.
Prior to joining the Brookings Institution, Morris was the director of the International Training and Education Program at American University and a senior professorial lecturer teaching graduate-level methods, theory, and praxis courses. She served as a distance learning advisor for the U.S. Agency for International Development, Encompass LLC, Sesame Workshop, and other institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, and developed global guidance documents and toolkits to support policymakers, practitioners, and evaluators in strategically measuring and planning distance learning. She has led evaluations of educational programs facilitated by USAID, the U.K.’s Department for International Development, Education Development Center, Mastercard Foundation, among others.
Morris holds degrees from the University of Minnesota (Ph.D.), American University (M.S.), and Sarah Lawrence College (B.A.).