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N’Dri Thérèse Assié-Lumumba



N’Dri Thérèse Assié-Lumumba, who is the President of the World Council of Comparative Education Societies (WCCES, 2016-2019) and served in 2015-2016 as President of Comparative and International Education Society (CIES), is a Professor of African and Diaspora education, comparative and international education, social institutions, African social history, and the study of gender in the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University. She joined Cornell in 1991 as a Fulbright Senior Research Fellow and Ford Foundation/Africana Studies Fellow. She is a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science. She served as Director of the Cornell Program on Gender and Global Change (GGC) and as Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) of the Africana Studies.

Assié-Lumumba earned her Ph. D. in Comparative Education (Economics and Sociology of Education with Pi Lambda Theta Honors) from the University of Chicago in 1982, two Masters and two BAs (Licence) in Sociology and History, respectively, from Université Lyon II, Lyon (France) between 1973 and 1975.

She has been Visiting Professor in the Center for the Study of International Cooperation in Education (CICE) at Hiroshima University (Japan) and Distinguished Visiting Professor, American University in Cairo (Egypt). She is Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Johannesburg (South Africa), Extraordinary Professor in the Education Policy Studies at the Stellenbosch University (South Africa), Diasporan Fellow in the department of Sociology (UG-Carnegie Diaspora Programme) at the University of Ghana, Chercheur Associé at Centre de Recherches Architecturales et Urbaines (CRAU) at Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), and Research Affiliate of the Institute for Higher Education Law and Governance of the University of Houston, Houston (Texas). She is co-founder and Associate Director of the Pan-African Studies and Research Center in International Relations and Education for Development (CEPARRED), Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire). Prior to coming to Cornell, she was a Resident Fellow in the International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) in Paris (France), held teaching and administrative positions in the Lomé (Togo) CIRSSED doctoral program for researchers and administrators in education for francophone countries, the Ministry of National Education Mali (planning unit), Bard College and Vassar College (New York, USA).

Assié-Lumumba has published extensively articles in refereed journals, chapters in books and peer-reviewed reports. Her article “Educational and Economic Reforms, Gender Equity, and Access to Schooling in Africa” published in the International Journal of Comparative Sociology, received the 2001 Joyce Cain Award for Distinguished Research on African Descendants offered by the Comparative and International Education Society. She serves on editorial committees of prestigious journals. Her monographs, edited and co-edited books include: Les Africaines dans la politique: Femmes Baoulé de Côte d’Ivoire (L’Harmattan, Paris 1996); African Voices in Education (Juta Publishers, Lansdowne, South Africa 2000); Cyberspace, Distance Learning, and Higher Education in Developing Countries: Old and Emergent Issues of Access, Pedagogy and Knowledge Production (Brill, Leiden and Boston 2004); Higher Education in Africa: Crises, Reforms and Transformation (CODESRIA, Dakar 2006) and African Higher Education in Transition: Recurrent Impediments, Emerging Challenges and New Potentialities (CODESRIA, Dakar, Forthcoming).

English, French, Baoulé, Akan, Twi - fluent
Spanish - reading proficient
Portuguese - basic reading skill



african and african diaspora education


  • Africana Studies and Research Center

Graduate Fields

  • Africana Studies
  • Education
  • International Development
  • Public Affairs


Assié-Lumumba’s teaching and research interests include: higher education; information and communication technologies; educational innovations; knowledge production; human resource development; education finance; equality of educational opportunity; gender and education; family and social institutions/structures; African history with a focus on the European expansion and the colonial and contemporary periods. Her ongoing research projects include: generations of African intellectuals; Gender and Disciplinary Clusters in African Universities; Education and African Renaissance; ICT, Global Agencies and Democratization of Education in Africa; Higher Education, Migration and African Women in North America; Differing Patterns of Gender Imbalance in Higher Education in Africa and the African Diaspora; and Ubuntu Epistemology and Humanist Education on a Global Scale.

She has worked in, and traveled to, many countries in North and South America, the Caribbean, Asia and Europe and throughout the African continent where she is familiar with social contexts and is involved with institution building and social transformation. She has served as a senior advisor for numerous national and international development agencies, organizations including various units of the United Nations system, foundations, and youth organizations.


Fall 2019

Spring 2020


Harnessing the Empowerment Nexus of Afropolitanism and Higher Education: Purposeful Fusion for Africa’s Social Progress in the 21st Century,” Journal of African Transformation, Vol. 1 N.2 2016, 51-76.

“Evolving African attitudes to European education: Resistance, pervert effects of the single system paradox, and the ubuntu framework for renewal” International Review of Education-Journal of Lifelong Learning, Volume 62, Issue 1, February 2016, pp. 11-27.

Co-editor with Nathan Andrews and  Ernest Nene Khalema and contributor to Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Retrospect - Africa's Development Beyond 2015, Springer, London, 2015.

Editor of, and contributor to, Women and Higher Education in Africa: Reconceptualizing Gender-Based Human Capabilities and Upgrading Human Rights to Knowledge (Abidjan: CEPARRED, 2007); Spanish version MUJERES EN ÁFRICA: Educación y Poder, El Acceso a los Estudios Superiores (Madrid: IEPALA Editorial, 2010); French version Femmes et Enseignement Supérieure en Afrique: Réconceptualisation des capacités humaines fondées sur le genre et renforcement des droits humains à la connaissance (Paris, Harmattan, 2013) and translations are in progress for Portuguese, Arabic, and Chinese versions.

“Introduction: Critical Perspectives on Half a Century of Post-colonial Education for Development in Africa” in The Owl of Minerva on a Baobab Tree, Schooling, and African Awakening: Half a Century of post-colonial Education for Development in Sub-Saharan Africa special issue of African and Asian Studies 12 (2013) 1-2 with Ali A. Mazrui and Martial Dembélé, pp.1-12.

“Cultural Foundations of the Idea and Practice of the Teaching Profession in Africa: Indigenous Roots, Colonial Intrusion, and Post-colonial Reality” Educational Philosophy and Theory, 44 (S2) pp. 21-36, 2012.


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