Abdulrahman Bindamnan photo

Abdulrahman Bindamnan

Doctoral Student, CIDE

Areas of interest

  • The role of higher education in international development
  • International education and development
  • Zero-generation students
  • Literacy, learning, bilingualism
  • Yemen


M.S.Ed., University of Pennsylvania, 2022
B.A., University of Miami, 2020


Abdulrahman Bindamnan is a PhD student and a Fellow at the Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Global Change at the University of Minnesota. He earned a BA in psychology and religion from the University of Miami (2020) and an MSEd in international educational development from the University of Pennsylvania (2022). Born and raised in Yemen, Bindamnan came to the United States in 2016, intending to stay only to earn a bachelors degree. The war in Yemen prevented his return and he has continued to pursue an advanced education; he is working to get permanent status. He has coined the term “zero generation” to capture the experiences of immigrants and refugees who often lack foundational literacy skills and struggle to adapt to American culture.

Bindamnan is a contributing author at Psychology Today where his blog, Zero-Generation Students, educates readers about the barriers and opportunities facing adult refugees attending institutions of higher education in the United States. His academic and professional publications have also appeared in International Journal of Educational Development, International Studies in Sociology of Education, Material Religion, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Minnesota Reformer, The Star Tribune, Psychology Today, Acton Institute, Middle East Forum, American Institute for Yemeni Studies, University of Miami Herbert Business School, and Heterodox Academy.

Research Interests

Bindamnan is working on two academic research projects. His doctoral dissertation investigates the linguistic and cultural development of adult immigrants as they acquire academic and professional English language on college campuses. He grounds this work in an exploration of the cultural and psychological transition from one’s native country to a U.S. campus and the move into graduate education or employment. Bindamnan is passionate about reforming Islam to recapture the Islamic era of enlightenment as practiced during the Islamic Golden Age (AD 800—1200). He focuses this area of scholarship on demonstrating how enlightened ideas first expounded by Islamic rationalists have been used by Western Enlightenment Era philosophers in developing the ideals of human rights on which the United States was founded, but are currently abandoned by Islamic fundamentalists.

Selected Publications

Bindamnan, A. (2023, June 29). Culture Should Unite Us, Not Divide Us. Psychology Today.

Bindamnan, A. (2023, June 16). How Stereotype Threat Theory Helps Explain the Accomplishment Gap. Psychology Today.

Bindamnan, A. (2023, June 15). Freedom of Religion Is Inherently Good. Religion & Liberty Online, Acton Institute.

Bindamnan, A. (2023, June 15). Wild Experiment: Feeling Science and Secularism After Darwin. Material Religion.

Bindamnan, A. (2023, June 14). Minnesota’s future: Does the cold weather make this state isolating?. The Star Tribune.

Bindamnan, A. (2023, May 26). The Grant Writing Guide: A Road Map for Scholars. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

Bindamnan, A. (2023, April 21). Yemeni stampede a familiar tragedy in a chaotic land. The Star Tribune.

Bindamnan, A. (2023, April 21). The meaning of Eid. The Minnesota Reformer.

Bindamnan, A. (2023, March 28). Wokeness, Fear of Criticizing Islam Threaten Muslim Progress. Focus on Western Islamism.

Bindamnan, A. (2023, March 22). A Ramadan primer: Why we fast. The Minnesota Reformer.

Bindamnan, A. (2023, March 20). The meaning of Ramadan. The Star Tribune.

Bindamnan, A. (2023, March 9). As a Muslim, I Defend Freedom of Religion and of Speech. So What Happened at Hamline University?. Heterodox Academy.

Bindamnan, A. (2023, Feb. 2). As a Muslim from Yemen, I am not offended by an instructor showing a piece of art. Minnesota Reformer.

Bindamnan, A. (2023, Jan. 10). I fled to U.S. for education, not indoctrination. Star Tribune.

Bindamnan, A. , & Wilfert, A. (2023, Jan. 10). How Can Positive Psychology Help Minority Students? Psychology Today.

Bindamnan, A. & Banks, E. (2022, Dec. 24). The First-Generation vs the Zero-Generation Experience. Psychology Today.

Bindamnan, A. & Martens, G. (2022, Dec. 24). The Role of Trauma for Zero-Gen Daters. Psychology Today.

Bindamnan, A. (2022, Dec. 9). Learning, Marginalization, and Improving the Quality of Education in Low-income Countries. (D. A. Wagner, N. M. Castillo, & S. G. Lewis [Eds]). International Journal of Educational Development. doi.org/10.1016/j.ijedudev.2022.102711.

Bindamnan, A., & Euchner, C. (2022, Dec. 2). Multilingual Writers Face Challenges, Hold Promise. The Minnesota Daily.

Bindamnan, A. (Nov. 30, 2022). Who Are the “Zero-Generation Students”? Examining the role of U.S. higher education in international development. Psychology Today.

Bindamnan, A. (2022, Nov. 22). Schooling As Uncertainty: An Ethnographic Memoir in Comparative Education by Frances Vavrus. International Studies in Sociology of Education.

Bindamnan, A. (2022, May 5) The Need to Secularize Islamic Education in Yemen. American Institute for Yemeni Studies.

Bindamnan, A. (2022, Apr. 15) Some students, like me, come to the U.S. from war-torn areas. Few succeed. The Philadelphia Inquirer.


Bindamnan, A., Monet Ross, A. (2021) “The Effects of Trauma on Children’s Learning in Yemen.” Poster presentation, Comparative and International Education Society Conference.

Media Coverage

(2022, March 1). The experience of the zero-generation college student. Penn GSE News.

(2022, April 6). Fasting: A ritual of remembrance for many spiritual practices. News@TheU.

(2020, May 14). Students observe Ramadan in different ways during pandemic. News@TheU.