Marciana Popescu

Marciana Popescu headshot

Co-director, Her Migrant Hub (
JD Class of 2025 (Fordham Law School)
Phone: 914-367-3437
Email: [email protected]
Office: Fordham Westchester 128

  • BSW, University of Bucharest, Romania
    MA, University of Bucharest, Romania
    MSW, Tulane University
    PhD, University of Bucharest, Romania

  • Migration Policy

    Immigration/migrants’ rights

    Forced Migration

    Gender Equality

    Women’s Rights

    International Human Rights Law

    International Social Development

    International Social Work

    Participatory Action Research

    Intimate Partner Violence

    Comparative Policy

  • Dr. Marciana Popescu is a Professor at Fordham University, Graduate School of Social Service (GSS), and a Fulbright Specialist on migration policy (2018-2023). In 2016/2017, Dr. Popescu was a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Austria, conducting research on migration policies within the EU space, and their impact on women asylum seekers or refugees. Since 2018, Dr. Popescu is a member of the UN-NGO Committee on Migration, working on global and local migration policies. Her research focuses on forced migration and gender, forced migration and health/mental health, and violence against women; as well as community capacity building and human rights/women’s rights. Dr. Popescu authored multiple publications on migration, women’s rights, and international development; and over the past 3 years worked closely on migration and health/mental health , exploring the impact of the pandemic on women migrants, and the impact of forced migration on the health and mental health of asylum seekers. In 2018, Dr. Popescu was selected as a Social Innovation fellow, working on a research project focusing on the integration of students with a forced migration background in higher education institutions; she continues to research the role of higher education institutions in addressing forced migration challenges, and engaging with communities to create safe spaces for refugees. Dr. Popescu is directing the Her Migrant Hub project ( together with Dr. Alonzo, a community-based initiative focusing on increasing access and utilization of health and mental health care services for women asylum seekers in NYC.

    Dr. Popescu is currently pursuing a law degree at Fordham Law School (expected graduation date: December 2024), with a concentration in International Comparative and Foreign Law/International Law and Justice. She was one of the selected Crowley Scholars in 2022-2023, working on a research project focused on the emergency humanitarian evacuations from Afghanistan (; and volunteered with the International Refugee Assistance Program (IRAP) on two separate projects (Spring 2022 and Spring 2023). Working across disciplines and across countries on migration policies and human rights, Dr. Popescu hopes to contribute to interdisciplinary, innovative solutions to the complex challenges faced by people with lived experiences of forced migration, and prepare social work students to participate at local, national, and international levels, in shaping global agendas and promoting justice and human rights.

    Dr. Popescu CV

  • International Research

    Guatemala – International Social Work Solutions (ISWS, 2020-2021) – Co-PI with Dr. Alonzo, Guatemala Covid Care Calls Project – An explorative study on the immediate effects of the pandemic on high risk, low-income communities in Guatemala.

    Guatemala – ISWS (2018-2020) - Co-Principal Investigator, with Dr. Alonzo (October 2018-Present). Community capacity building in highly vulnerable communities in Guatemala. Main foci: Community and family violence prevention; suicide prevention and intervention models; and mental health education. 

    Austria/EU – Fulbright Scholar (2016-2017) – Principal Investigator (September, 2016-February, 2017). Migration policies and their impact on women asylum seekers and refugees in the European Space: Identifying Safe Spaces. External funding: Institute of International Education/Fulbright

    Germany/Austria - Co-Investigator, with Dr. Gatenio-Gabel (August 2010-December 2011). International Human Rights Certificate for Social Work. Project funded by the US Department of Education, Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). PI: Dr. Elizabeth Reichert, University of Southern Illinois, at Carbondale; EU Partners: Management Institute of Innsbruck, Austria (Dr. Michael Klassen); and Coburg University, Germany (Dr. Gabrielle Fanger). 

    Peru – Universidad Antonio Ruiz Montoya (UARM, 2014). ). Inter-professional Education: Best Practices in International Social Work Education. Study evaluated an interdisciplinary course designed/taught in Peru, measuring its effectiveness in transferring knowledge, and increasing students’ readiness for international social work and social development careers

    Haiti – Social Tap/Local NGOs: (2013-2015): Relocation of Displaced Population Groups in Haiti – A follow-up Study. Focused on 283 families relocated out of the Pinchinat IDP Camp in Jacmel, Port-Au-Prince.

    Ghana - Co-Investigator (January-April, 2011). Social Protection in Ghana. Study conducted on the current social protection system in Ghana, and its direct impact on child protection PI: Dr. Gatenio Gabel. External funding: UNICEF.

    International Study Tours

    Dr Popescu developed a model of immersed international teaching, in connection with the International Social Development and Community Building in a Global Context course. To date, over 100 students participated in the program). Organized and conducted seven study tours in Haiti (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018) – focusing on displacement/forced migration; post-disaster relief, participatory reconstruction/capacity building and women’s empowerment; and three additional study tours in the Dominican Republic (Haitian bateyes) – focusing on poverty in the bateyes, birth certificates/stateless population, and the immediate impact on children, as well as long term implications for environment, public health and education (2008-2009). The immersions included participation of students in community-based projects initiated in partnership with local grassroots organizations; and led to several other research and policy initiatives.

    Related Projects:

    2018: Women’s Narratives: From Displacement to Sustainable Development (March 29-April 5th, Jacmel and Port-au-Prince, Haiti). Students recorded women’s narratives, and created a mini-documentary, focusing on women leadership.

    2016: Relocation: immediate impact and sustainability concerns. A follow-up study in Anse-a-Pitre, Haiti. In collaboration with Dr. Pinar Zubaroglu (Fordham GSSS/2019) and a team of Haitian social work students from Enstitute de Travail Social, Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

    2015: Rapid Assessment: Needs of Displaced Populations/Refugees at the Haiti/Dominican Republic border (Anse-a-Pitre). Impact of forced migration on women refugees. In collaboration with Serge Turin (Haiti Initiative), and Kara Lightburn (Social Tap)

    2013: November 15-16 – Organized International Conference – Haiti: Post-Disaster Reconstruction, Sustainability and Development. Over 100 people attended the conference – focusing on the role that universities can play in supporting sustainable development in post-disaster communities.

    2013 (April-August): New project – follow-up study on relocation of 283 displaced families (in collaboration with IOM office and local partners – Kara Lightburn, Social Tap). Impact of forced migration/displacement on women was explored. Findings were released at the Haiti Conference (see above), and were also presented in a white paper distributed to key stakeholders.

    2012: Two projects: Clean cooking fuel project – aiming to empower local communities, and promote sustainable capacity building; and the human trafficking prevention project – initial assessment for pilot project, focusing on women’s empowerment through education and job development. In collaboration with Kara Lightburn/Social Tap.

    International Teaching

    Management Center of Innsbruck, Austria

    Starting with the Fulbright program in Austria (2016-2017), Dr. Popescu was invited to teach yearly at the Management Center of Innsbruck (MCI), during the MCI International Semester. She developed and taught the following courses:

    • Social Change and Social Work (December, 2017-2020) – 2-week intensive graduate course taught at the Management Center of Innsbruck (Austria)
    • Gender and International Development (2017) – 1-week intensive undergraduate course taught at the Management Center of Innsbruck (Austria)
    • International Social Development and Capacity Building (December, 2016). Special emphasis: Forced migration, development and human rights. 

    Universidad Antonio Ruiz de Montoya (UARM), Lima, Peru

    • Winter Intensive (2014, January 2-20) - International Social Development and Community Building in a Global Context course. Special emphasis – Income generating activities, microcredit, and their impact on women’s development in urban, rural and indigenous areas in Peru. 

    International Institute for Humanitarian Affairs – International Interdisciplinary Teaching

    • Community Participation in Emergency Response – taught in Barcelona (2014, 2011, 2010), Berlin (2013), and Geneva (2012). Intensive 1-week required course for the Masters in International Humanitarian Affairs, Fordham University. Participants:  Humanitarian and international development professionals from around the world. 

    Summer Course – Fordham London Center

    • International Social Development and Community Building in a Global Context  (2012, June 10-30). Summer teaching in London (Fordham London Center). Audience: Fordham MSW students.

    Andrews University – International Development Program

    Main concepts of International development (2001-2009) Intensive 1-week course, taught in Kenya, Italy, Ukraine, Japan, and the United States). Audience: international development workers (Over 200 students participated in this course).

  • SWGS6040 – Integrating Human Rights and Justice in Practice

    SWGS6624 – International Social Development and Capacity Building. 

    • Dr Popescu designed this course soon after joining Fordham GSS, to incorporate an experiential learning component in an international context. From 2008-2018, she taught the course with a focus on the Dominican Republic (treatment of Haitian population in the DR); Haiti (internal displacement, and the international response post 2010 earthquake); and Peru (gender equity and poverty reduction strategies). Over 100 students participated in experiential learning/international study tours in the DR, Haiti and Peru. 

    SWGS6702 – Advanced Integrated Policy Practice

    SWGS6707 – Forced Migration and Social Work Policy and Practice

    • Dr. Popescu developed this course in collaboration with Dr. Alonzo and a core group of women asylum seekers, as part of a pilot project aiming to develop and test a best practice for training social work students to work with people with lived experiences of forced migration. This initiative is funded by New York Community Trust. It also provides the option of specialized internships with two partner organizations: Catholic Charities NYC, and Emma’s Torch.
  • Edited journals

    Popescu,  M. & Libal, K. (eds.), (2018/Spring)– Advances in Social Work, 18 (3) - Special Issue on Migrants and Refugees.

    Popescu, M., & Drumm, R. (2009). Religion, faith communities and intimate partner violence (Editorial). Social Work and Christianity, 36 (4), 375-378.

    Selected Refereed Journal Articles

    Alonzo, D., Popescu, M., * Zubaroglu, P. (2023). We are all in it together! Effects of COVID-19 on interpersonal relationships. Global Journal of Psychology Research (In Press).

    Popescu, M. & Alonzo, D. (2023). Shattered or strengthened? The impact of extended lockdown on family functioning and quality of relationships during the COVID-19 pandemic. Global Journal of Health Science, 15 (3).43:57.

    Popescu, M., Oren, T., & Tripathy, S. (2022).  Countering Unrecognition and Exclusion of Asylum Seekers from Higher Education: A Call to Action. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 26 (2). 165:180.

    Popescu, M. & Alonzo, D. (2021). Creating SPACE: A conceptual framework for rights-based international social work and social development. Advances in Social Work, 21 (4), 1064:1082. DOI: 10.18060/25090

    Libal, K., Harding, S., Popescu, M., Berthold, M., & Felten, G. (2021). Human rights of forced migrants in the context of the Coronavirus pandemic: An opportunity for mobilization and solidarity. Journal of Human Rights and Social Work, 6, 148:160.

    Alonzo, D., Popescu, M., & Zubaroglu-Ioannides, P. (2022). The current pandemic, a complex emergency? Mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on highly vulnerable communities in Guatemala. International Journal of Social Psychiatry68(7), 1382-1393

    Alonzo, D., Popescu, M., & Zubaroglu-Ioanides, P. (2021). Mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on parents in high-risk, low income communities. International Journal of Social Psychiatry.

    Alonzo, D. & Popescu, M. (2021). Utilizing Social Media Platforms to Promote Mental Health Awareness and Help-Seeking in Underserved Communities during the Covid-19 Pandemic. J Education and Health Promotion

    Popescu, M., Zubaroglu-Ioanides, P., and Turin, S. (2020). Whose citizens, what rights? Roles and responsibilities in addressing displacement and forced migration in Haiti. Journal of Human Rights and Social Work, 1:14,

    Popescu, M., Strand, V., Way, I., Williams-Hecksel, C.  & Abramovitz, R.  (2017). Building a trauma-informed workforce capacity and legacy. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 37 (1), pp. 36-54

    Popescu, M., Drumm, R., Dewan, S., & Rusu, C. (2010). Childhood Victimization and its Impact on Coping Behaviors for Victims of Intimate Partner Violence. Journal of Family Violence, 25 (6), 575:585

    Popescu, M., Luca-Sugawara, C., Hernandez, E., & Dewan, S. (2010). Can Government Funding Strengthen the Third Sector? The Impact of a Capacity Building Program on Faith-Based and Community-Based Organizations. Social Work Review/Revista de Asistenta Sociala, 4, 83:101

    Popescu, M., Drumm, R., Meyer, S., Cooper, L., Foster, T., Seifert, M., Gadd, H., & Dewan, S. (2009). “Because of my beliefs that I had acquired from the church…”:  Religious Belief-based Barriers for Adventist Women in Domestic Violence Relationships. Social Work & Christianity, 36 (4), 394: 414

    Popescu, M. & Dewan, S. (2009). Esperanza Trabajando: Gains, losses, lessons learned and steps forward. An evaluation report. International NGO Journal, 4 (10), 403:420

    Popescu, M. & Drumm, R. (2008), Spirituality: A Healing Tool or an Aggravating Factor? Domestic Violence in Faith Communities. Social Work Journal, 74 (8), Santiago, Chile: Escuela de Trabajo Social, 83-94

    Sandor, S. D. & Popescu, M. (2008), Religiosity and Values in Romania. Transylvanian Review of Administrative Sciences, 22 (E), 171:180

    Chapters in books

    Popescu, M., Brownell, P., and Pyatetskaya, T. (2022). Violence against all women and girls, across the lifespan. In Behavioral Science and Health in the Global Arena: Global Mental, Spiritual, and Social Health  (Eds. Elaine Congress, Dalton Meister, Shenae Osborn & Harold Takooshian). Information Age Publishing. 149:165.

    Popescu, M., Alonzo, D., and Adler, A. (2022). Health care for migrants: A shared global responsibility (Chapter 12). In Behavioral Science in the Global Arena: Global Health Trends and Issues ((Eds. Elaine Congress, Dalton Meister, Shenae Osborn & Harold Takooshian). Information Age Publishing). 

    Popescu, M. (2019). Migration Policies in Europe and the US: Securitization, Safety, and the Paradox of Human Rights (Chapter 5). In Refugees and Asylum-Seekers: Interdisciplinary and Comparative Perspectives. (Eds. Libal, K., and Berthold, M.), Praeger, 100:127

    Popescu, M., & Breen Thomas, C. (2016). International Nonprofit Organizations: Global Standards, Local Practices, Challenges, and the Meaning of Sustainability (Chapter 11). In Non-Profit Management: A Social Justice Approach (eds. Congress, E., Lucks, A., & Petit, F.), Springers, Inc.

  • Selected Invited presentations on international topics

    May 4, 2021 - Invited panelist, Strategic planning and program evaluation panel. 2021 Non-Profit Leadership Summit, United Way of Westchester and Putnam, New York.

    April 28, 2021 - Reclaiming the RIGHT to have rights: Status recognition and implications for undocumented migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees. Invited presentation: Interdisciplinary Research  Forum on Immigration and Anti-racism, Fordham Strategic Research Consortium on Global Studies.

    April 8, 2021 - The COVID-19 pandemic: A complex emergency for women with lived experiences of forced migration. Invited presentation. UN-NGO Committee on Mental Health.

    June 19, 2020 - A complex emergency: Women on the move in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Invited presentation presented at The Time for Gender Equality is NOW! Virtual International Health Awareness Network (IHAN) at the UN  Commission on the Status of Women Annual Conference parallel event.

    June 10, 2020 -  The silent pandemic: Mental health implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for the forced migrant population. Webinar presented at the Loyal Donors Event/Organized by Fordham Office of Development

    April 30, 2020 - Forced migration in the context of the Pandemic: Implications for the Rights of Migrants. UN-NGO Committee on Mental Health (webinar). 

    November 25, 2019 - Global Compact for Safe, Regular and Orderly Migration: Implications for Policy and Practice. Presented at the UN Matters Conference, organized by the Institute of Women and Girls (IWG) at Fordham University & the International Health Awareness Network (IHAN).

    March 20, 2018 - Global Compact on Refugees: Local Implications. Presented at Saarland University, Center of American Studies, Saarbruecken, Germany.

    November 2, 2017 - Keynote speaker at the IHAN, IWG, and UN Conference, Health and the Sustainable Development Goals: The international community’s response to challenges facing refugees and forced migrants.

    April 25, 2017 - Presented with Dr. Michael Knipper (Germany), at Rights-based Advocacy for Migrant and Refugee Health and Well-being in Europe: A View from Engaged Scholars – Forum, UConn School of Social Work (April 25, 2017)

    April 20, 2017 - Keynote speaker at Fordham Alumni Association Event – Migration Policies in Europe and Beyond: Safety, Security, and the Paradoxes of Human Rights.

    January 10, 2017 - Keynote Speaker at Forced Migration and Global Citizenship in Social Care Practice Today, organized by Anglia Ruskin University

    October, 2016-January, 2017 - Series of invited lectures:

    • University of Saarland, Saarbruecken, Germany (January 30th); 
    • Management Center of Innsbruck (January 18th); 
    • University of Vienna (December 15th); 
    • Institute of Migration Studies, University of Osnabrueck (November 2nd), and 
    • TEI, Athens (October 26th).

    2015, CSWE 61st APM (Denver, CO), Preparing Students for International Social Work Careers (With Dr. Mark Rodgers)

    2015 (June 12th), INDOSOW (International Doctorate in Social Work) Program, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge: Diversity, Cultural Context, and Human Rights. Implications for Policy and Practice.

    2014, CSWE 60th APM (Tampa, FL.), Preparing Students for International Social Work Careers (With Dr. Mark Rodgers)

    2013, November 2nd; CSWE 59th APM (Dallas, TX). Preparing Students for International Social Work Careers  (with Dr. Mark Rodgers).

    2013, April 23rd: Georgian Court University – Social Work Day. Presentation: Immigration – a contributor to violence against women? Implications for international social work practice

    2013, April 7th: Immigration reform: from dreams to reality (organized by Fordham GSS, Continuing Education Department). Presentation: Immigration policies and the treatment of women in immigration detention centers.

    2013, March 9th: Eliminating all forms of violence against women of all ages – a parallel event part of the 57th anniversary of the Commission on the Status of Women* – Presentation: Immigration and Violence Against Women (*Dr. Popescu was also one of the organizers of the event.)

    2012, March 3rd: Women’s Symposium – a parallel event part of the 56th anniversary of the Commission on the Status of Women – Presentation: Lessons from the Field – Women’s Stories from Victimization to Empowerment; The role of social work in building capacity and creating safe communities for women in rural areas