Phoenix Kenney, MPh, ABD

Phoenix Kenney is a current PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge. Since 2015, she has been researching various social issues in Nepal and the Indian Himalayas. Her current doctoral dissertation looks at youth development in Nepal through the lens of education. In this work, she argues for informal and peer-led learning as an important tool for youth-led social change. Phoenix’s master’s thesis used social media-based methods to understand how youth-serving NGOs played crucial roles in recovery and reconstruction after the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake. This was a highly personal research project, as she was in Nepal as an SIT student in Spring 2015 and at the time of the earthquake, was researching the role Sherpa women play in the communities of Thame and Thameteng, Solukhumbu.

Phoenix works with both domestic and international students in Kathmandu to help build their confidence for research. As an activist-researcher, she supports the decolonization of research methodology, arguing that everyone has unique abilities to ask questions and find their own answers.

Select Publications

Kenney, P. 2023. Is this Ethnography? The Role of Labels in Contemporary Qualitative Research. Cambridge Educational Research e-Journal, 10, 125-132.

Kenney, P. 2023. “Is Development a New Channel for Youth Activism?” Cambridge Peace and Education Research Group (CPERG) (blog). 19 April 2023.

Select Presentations

Kenney, P. 2023. “चिया गफ: the pedagogical potential of chiya gaph in Kathmandu’s youth sector”. Martin Chatauri Conference, Kathmandu.

Kenney, P. 2023.. “Language of Communication: A ‘Soft Skills’ Approach to Understanding English Language Abilities among College Students in Kathmandu”. The Annual Kathmandu Conference, Social Science Baha, Kathmandu.

Current Interests

Adolescent sexual and reproductive health
Hegemony of English language in education 
Youth climate activism


  • PhD candidate, Education, University of Cambridge
  • MPhil, University of Cambridge, Education, Globalization, and International Development
  • BA, Vassar College, History and Women’s Studies
Phoenix Kenney, MPh, ABD

SIT Graduate Institute

Affiliated Faculty

MA in International Education

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