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Kavitha Rajagopalan

Senior Fellow

Expertise: Global migration, undocumentedness, inclusion and social cohesion in pluralist societies and cities, Muslim immigrant communities in the U.S. and Europe, and the future of citizenship


Kavitha Rajagopalan is a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute, specializing in global migration and the future of citizenship, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. She is the author of Muslims of Metropolis: The Stories of Three Immigrant Families in the West (Rutgers University Press 2008), which was the finalist for the Twelfth Asian American Literary Award in Nonfiction, and is co-author of The Testing and Learning Revolution: The Future of Assessment in Education (Palgrave Macmillan 2015) with leading education scholar Edmund W. Gordon. She has appeared on MSNBC and other local television programming, and is an opinion and commentary contributor at The New York Observer. She was previously a columnist for Newsday and PBS, and has written for Next City, The Feminist Review and various academic and policy magazines. She has contributed a chapter to an edited volume on child migrants and her writing was featured in a book on third sex in India. Between 1998 and 2001, she was a reporter in Chennai, India and Berlin, Germany. She holds an MA from Columbia University’s School of International Affairs and a BA from the College of William & Mary, and is the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, a John J. McCloy Journalism Fellowship and a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship. She is currently at work on a literary nonfiction book about the future of citizenship in the age of global movement.

MA, Columbia University School of International & Public Affairs
BA, College of William and Mary (International Relations Theory)

German (fluent),
Tamil and Spanish (proficient),

Twitter: @kxraja

Fellowships & Scholarships

Senior Fellow (nonresident), Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs (2014-Present)

  • Dialogue Project: In/Visibility in New York City's Chinatowns
  • Myanmar Site Study: Minority Rights and Statelessness in Myanmar
  • New York City Site Study: Citizenship and Difference in Queens
John J. McCloy Fellowship in Journalism, American Council on Germany (2004)
  • Kurdish Political Identity in Berlin
Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship, Columbia University (2002-2003)

South Asian Muslim Communities in New York Post 9/11

Fulbright Scholarship, Freie Universitaet zu Berlin (2000-2001)
  • Turkish Political Identity and Lobby Formation in Berlin

All Roads: Citizenship, Refuge and Migration in a Global World. In progress.

The Testing and Learning Revolution: The Future of Assessment in Education, Palgrave Macmillan (2015). Co-author.

Showrooms, Post Editions (2013). Wrote the text in a book of photography.

"Minority within Minority: Power, Dominance and the Replication of Injustice among Berlin's Turkish Kurds" in Hyphenated Selves: Immigrant Identites within Education Contexts, Unisa Press (2011).

Muslims of Metropolis
Muslims of Metropolis, Rutgers University Press (Summer 2008). The Nov. 7, 2008 book discussion is now online.

The New York Observer

Governors Who Reject Refugees Harm Their States” (Nov. 17, 2015)

Why France Should Not Close its Borders” (Nov. 15, 2015)

This Burgeoning Democracy Faces a Threat from Within” (Nov. 13, 2015)


The Feminist Review

Book Review: “Honor” Killing and Violence: Theory, Policy and Practice (Spring 2016)


Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs

Migrant Deaths Worldwide” (May 28, 2015)


Journal of International Affairs

Global Undocumentedness” (Spring / Summer 2015)


Policy Innovations

Islamophobia is not Just a Western Problem” (May 14, 2014)

Building Resilient Cities” (March 18, 2014)


Next City

Forefront Piece of The Informal City Dialogues: “Waving or Drowning: The Battle for Chennai’s Vanishing Waterfront” (Aug. 26, 2013)


World Policy Blog

“The Human Cost of Slum Clearance” (Sept. 19, 2013)

Solving Chennai's Water Crisis” (Sept. 13, 2013)

Google hangout, Greg Lindsay and Kavitha Rajagopalan

Take Me Down to the Satellite City” (Aug. 21, 2009)

China’s Architect of the Good Life” (Aug. 7, 2009)


PBS: Need to Know

Charitable Donation or Material Support for Terrorism?” (Aug. 18, 2010)

The Border is a State of Mind” (July 30, 2010)

@Sarah Palin: Pls Understand, This is America” (July 20, 2010)

Anchor Babies” (June 23, 2010)

My Father’s Battle with Modern Healthcare” (June 17, 2010)


New York Newsday

“Climate Change -- The Waiting Game” (Dec. 23, 2011)

“Bias and Presidential Pardons” (Dec. 9, 2011)

“Millions Denied Voting Rights” (Nov. 14, 2011)

“Men Don’t Own Humor” (Oct. 28, 2011)

“Occupy” Protests Seek Respect” (Oct. 14, 2011)

“Let Women Be Combat Warriors” (Sept. 30, 2011)

“College Loans A Heavy Burden” (Sept. 16, 2011)

“Audits Force Workers Off the Books” (Aug. 29, 2011)

“A Shaky Grasp of Our Roots” (July 11, 2011)

“Revolution by Remote Control” (Apr. 29, 2011)

“France’s Misguided Burqa Ban” (Apr. 15, 2011)

“The Changing (?) Image of Arab Men” (March 3, 2011)

“Too Much Silence About Rape” (Feb. 12, 2011)

“Growing Chinaphobia” (Jan. 28, 2011)

“Don’t Let Debate Stifle Passion” (Jan. 15, 2011)

“Diplomacy Meets the Information Age” (Dec. 14, 2010)

“The Elusive Definition of Privacy” (Dec. 3, 2010)

“DREAM Act Makes Sense for Immigrants and U.S. Economy” (Nov. 24, 2010)

“Secure Communities Redefines ‘Serious Crime’” (Aug. 27, 2010)

“Mosque Challenges Us to Accept Diversity in an Insecure Age” (Aug. 16, 2010)

Spoke on MSNBC's "Changing America" on Nov. 17, 2015 about Islamophobia in the aftermath of the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris.
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