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07 Mar 2018 description

On January 26, 2017, the IKEA refugee shelter was declared the worldwide Design of the Year in a unanimous decision. When I interviewed one of the jurors about the process I was told that they’d chosen the “obvious winner”: the IKEA shelter was high profile, it had featured widely in the media, it was a positive story with a clear social purpose, and it offered a practical solution to the so-called “refugee crisis,” one of the most significant issues of the previous twelve months.

20 Feb 2018 description


Kenya currently hosts 490,000 refugees, making it the 10th largest refugee-hosting country in the world and the 4th largest in Africa, following Uganda, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).3 Most of its refugees are from Somalia but it also hosts refugees from South Sudan, Ethiopia, DRC, and Sudan. Its refugees are concentrated in three main locations: the Dadaab camps, the Kakuma camp, and Nairobi.

29 Nov 2017 description

In the context of protracted refugee situations, there has been a revival in concern among policymakers to transcend the so-called humanitarian-development divide and create greater opportunities for self-reliance. Yet, these discussions too often neglect an analytical focus on refugees’ own economic lives, and their own interactions with markets.Despite a growing literature on the economic lives of refugees, much of that work has lacked theory or data.

24 Nov 2017 description

Alexander Betts, Ali Ali, and Fulya Memişoğlu

Executive Summary

  • In order to explain responses to Syrian refugees, it is important to understand politics within the major host countries. This involves looking beyond the capital cities to examine variation in responses at the local level.

13 Oct 2017 description

The issue of how to promote refugee self-reliance has become of heightened importance as the number of forcibly displaced people in the world rises and budgets for refugees in long-term situations of displacement shrink. Self-reliance for refugees is commonly discussed as the ability for refugees to live independently from humanitarian assistance. Many humanitarian organisations perceive refugee livelihoods creation, often through entrepreneurship, as the main way to foster refugee self-reliance.

11 Oct 2017 description

Significant progress has been made by intergovernmental organisations and donors in designing and implementing macro- and micro- economic policies, strategies, programmes and tools to mitigate the socio-economic impacts of forced displacement and to promote longer term sustainable development and resilience strategies for refugees, IDPs and host populations. However there has been little evaluation of the tools and methodologies to support these initiatives. The study addresses this gap.

15 Jul 2017 description

This article explores the nexus between mobility, livelihoods, and socioeconomic status of refugees in the Buduburam refugee settlement in Ghana. Currently, refugee livelihoods are increasingly characterized by multi-directional movement and multi-locality, coupled with complex social networks. Given the relative freedom of movement for refugees in Ghana and the subregion, certain groups in Buduburam were engaged in mobile livelihoods, including cross-border trading of cell phones, used clothing, and jewelery across West Africa.

15 Jul 2017 description

This article aims at a better understanding of the changing nature of borders in warring Syria. Contrary to much media commentary, the Syrian uprising and the subsequent conflict have not been about territorial claims. In 2011, the borders of Syria were de facto pacified and, with the important exception of the border with Israel, were accepted as the legitimate boundaries of the Syrian state. This, however, does not contradict the fact that the unfolding of the Syrian uprising has had deep transformative effects on the borders of the country.

08 Aug 2016 description

This paper explores the conflict between the pervasive representation of refugees as the pure embodiment of humanity, and the continuing efforts to dehumanise them through various ‘othering’ strategies. Just as being human is an ever-unfolding process and not a static state of being, ‘refugeeness’ is a site of contestation where discourses regarding culture, society, economy, and politics constantly interact. Drawing on feminist and queer theories, this paper argues that the body is a vital site of identity construction, particularly with regards to the idea of humanity.

01 Apr 2016 description

Human movement remains the primary unit of analysis in much theorising on forced migration and humanitarian practice in conflict. Whilst movement is often portrayed as an indicator of vulnerability, sometimes even as a problem per se, I suggest thinking of mobility, taking this broader term to signify the ‘freedom to choose where to be’ (de Haas 2014), as a resource through which one can mitigate the consequences of violence and conflict and access a better life.

09 Feb 2016 description

Working Paper Series no. 113

Josiah Kaplan, Evan Easton-Calabria

02 Feb 2016 description

These policy recommendations on the Syrian humanitarian crisis are the outcome of a workshop held at the Refugee Studies Centre on 9 December 2015. This workshop brought together researchers and practitioners to present findings from recent research into the perceptions, aspirations and behaviour of refugees from Syria, host community members, and practitioners in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.

14 Dec 2015 description

This paper explores a variety of approaches used to assess and measure the economic impact of refugees on their host communities and states. It identifies theoretical, methodological, and ethical gaps in the existing literature, and also problematizes some of the assumptions and rationales behind current debates about measuring refugees’ economic impact on host populations and states. It begins by presenting the key arguments and approaches within the existing literature on analysing the economic impact of refugees on their host communities and states.

06 Nov 2015 description

There is a global displacement crisis. Around the world more people are displaced than at any time since the Second World War, and there are around 20 million refugees. Yet alongside this trend of rising numbers, governments’ political willingness to provide access to protection and assistance is in decline. In the face of these challenges, the existing global refugee regime is not fit for purpose. It tends to view refugees and displacement as a uniquely humanitarian issue.