Marta Welander - Executive Director
Prior to founding Refugee Rights Europe in 2016, Marta worked as the Deputy Director of a small international human rights and peacebuilding organisation. Before that, she facilitated collaboration between member NGOs of a vast global child rights partnership, and was a founding member of a women’s rights coalition in the Middle East & North Africa. She has previously served a number of non-governmental organisations including the Refugee Council UK, Front Line Defenders, and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network. Marta holds a BA in Arabic and International Relations, an MA in Human Rights & Democratic Governance, and an MA in International Relations.
Barbara Joannon - Head of Programme and Advocacy (Interim)
Barbara is the interim Head of Programme and Advocacy at Refugee Rights Europe. Prior to joining the organisation, she has been working as a volunteer and activist for migrant and refugee rights groups since 2012. She worked as the Europe Advocacy Officer for a French NGO that supports asylum seekers and refugees, and subsequently became their Head of EU Affairs. After three years in these positions, she decided to start working as an independent consultant and carried out several missions for NGOs and institutions, which involved strategic advice, project management, as well as advocacy and capacity building. In 2019, she went to Ukraine to work for the UNHCR as an Advocacy Officer for the Protection Cluster before returning to France in late 2019. She is strongly committed to refugee rights issues which emerge at the intersection of the different areas of human rights, geopolitics and social justice. Barbara holds a M.A in Globalization and Governance from the Institute of Political Sciences in Lyon.
Stephanie Pope - EU & UN Policy and Advocacy Manager
Stephanie joined RRE in April 2019 as Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer, leading our EU- and UN-level advocacy and policy work, later transitioning into the role of EU & UN Policy and Advocacy Manager. She has worked in Hotspots and refugee camps throughout Greece, in humanitarian assistance as well as legal aid. In addition, Stephanie has work experience with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in London as well as the UNHCR Liaison Office to the OSCE in Vienna. Stephanie graduated with an MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies from Oxford University in 2018, specializing in international and European human rights and refugee law.
Fae Mira Gerlach - Operations Manager (Interim)
Fae has been supporting RRE since early 2017, when she joined as Communications and Operations Officer. She has recently returned to RRE as the interim Operations Manager. Fae has worked with displaced communities as a volunteer, activist, youth worker, family support worker, human rights defender and project coordinator in Berlin, Calais and since January 2019 in Scotland in her role as Regional Integration Coordinator for the Scottish Refugee Council. She holds a M.A. in Social Work and Human Rights.
Camille Boittiaux - Advocacy Officer, France
Camille joined RRE as its France Advocacy Officer in January 2020. She holds an MA in international law, human rights, and security and development from the Catholic University of Lille. Camille is passionate about promoting and protecting human rights, and more specifically refugee rights. She previously worked in law firm, providing the residents of the so-called ‘Jungle' camp in Calais with legal advice. In 2019, she worked for La Cimade, a French association promoting and defending foreigners' rights, where she coordinated a project of access to rights and justice for displaced people in Grande-Synthe in northern France.
Selma Mesic - Greece and Balkans Coordinator
Before joining the RRE team Selma worked across the Balkans on the refugee response, managing a safe house program and working on advocacy and human rights monitoring. She has actively campaigned on refugee and humanitarian issues for many years. She has broad cross-sectoral project and campaign management experience and has led national multimedia campaigns at Christian Aid in London. Selma holds an MA in International Development from Uppsala University.
Frances Timberlake - Advocacy Officer (UK)
Frances Timberlake is a long-term activist for refugee and migrant rights, with a particular interest in the role of European border policies in shaping migration experiences. She holds an MA in International Human Rights Law from SOAS, and has worked for several years with the Refugee Women's Centre supporting displaced families in northern France, focusing on both casework as well as media and advocacy. Through this she has specialised in supporting victims of sexual and gender-based violence and in pushing for structural change on these issues.
Samer Saifeddin Abdulkarim Mustafa - Project Officer
Samer founded the refugee support group Hopetowns only a few weeks after arriving in the UK in 2016. Prior to this, he was a Calais camp resident, a community leader and a volunteer. He is currently Project Officer and a Field Research Coordinator for Refugee Rights Europe whilst also studying at college in London.
Smret Gebreslassie - Content Manager, RRE Blog
Smret first joined RRE as field researcher and translator in 2018. She completed her undergraduate studies at the Eritrean Institute of Technology, majoring in History. She is currently pursuing her MA in Ethnic and Migration Studies at Linköping University (LiU) in Sweden and as part of these studies, she joined RRE as Programme Associate (Intern) in October 2019 and upon completion of the internship, she stayed with RRE as the Content Manager for the RRE Blog Platform. She is interested in human rights in relation to forced migration, with a special interest in vulnerable and exploited groups in society.
Mina Tawanda - Programme Associate
Mina graduated with a BA in International Development from University of East London in May 2019. She wrote her dissertation on Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and how the policies of the different actors involved affects their quality of life with an emphasis on human rights violations. She has always been passionate about advocating for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers from a young age and has volunteered with the Norwegian Red Cross and Norwegian People's Aid youth group advocating for the rights of refugees and displaced people. She is currently working on my MA in Conflict, Displacement and Human Security at the University of East London.
Francesca Lee (Chair)
A senior corporate commercial lawyer with over 15 years’ experience. She is qualified in England and Singapore and has worked extensively in-house with organisations including GE and GE Capital and financial services institutions. She has been a volunteer and trustee in a number of organisations including the AirUsers Council, governor of the Botley School in Oxford and Chair of the school’s finance committee and Secretary of the St Nicholas’ Society of Eton. She has also acted as a Mentor for sixth form students at the Wycombe Management Conference.
Natalie Stanton (Secretary)
Natalie is a research and communications professional, with broad experience of working across the private and public sectors. She has been involved with Refugee Rights Europe since its inception, helping to establish the charity and build its public profile. She is currently working in London as a Media Officer for a Member of the European Parliament, focusing on promoting freedom of movement and humanitarian migration policies. Natalie has a MA in International Conflict Studies from King's College, London.
Josh Alton (Treasurer)
With a professional background as an auditor, Josh is a qualified accountant (ACA) who has previously worked for 2 of the big four accountancy firms. He now works in practice and has a wealth of experience gained at several organisations in areas including strategic planning, corporate/management accounting and internal controls. He acts as a Trustee for another charity which focuses on research into mental health and wellbeing. He holds a first-class bachelor’s degree in economics from the London School of Economics.
Naz has been working with refugees and asylum seekers in various capacities throughout the UK and Europe since 2006. She has worked with individuals as well as within communities and refugee camp settings. Through her work, she has gained extensive knowledge regarding the issues and challenges faced by this vulnerable group. She has worked with various organisations, including the Refugee Council/UK, British Red Cross, International Federation of Red Cross, France Terre d’asile, Afghan Association Paiwand, Safe Passage, Second Tree (based in Greece) and Hopetowns. Naz has been involved in a variety of research studies with Refugee Rights Europe since November 2016. She is committed to making a positive change to the lives of refugees and asylum seekers by ensuring their basic Human Rights are upheld, as well as empowering and encouraging them to achieve their full potential.
Mark currently works on the EU's humanitarian response to the refugee crisis. In previous roles in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the European Parliament he has worked on strategy to support human rights defenders and on developing human rights standards. He has worked with civil society and industry to develop human rights due diligence policies in the mining sector and to develop the first human rights standards and oversight mechanisms for the private security sector working in conflict environments. Aside from knowledge of human rights and humanitarian issues Mark also has some background in multilateral negotiations, particularly at EU level as well as through the UN and OECD on business and human rights issues.
Dr Áine O’Brien
Dr Áine O’Brien is Co-Founder and Co-Director of Counterpoints Arts, London and has worked across the arts, education and activism for over 25 years in the US, Ireland and the UK. Áine set up the Centre for Transcultural Research and Media Practice in 2005, a doctoral programme aligning migration research with the creative arts; and created FOMACS (Forum on Migration and Communications) in 2007, developing creative, arts and cross-sector public projects focusing on migration. Her creative productions to date within the University sector, FOMACS and Counterpoints Arts (spanning across documentary film, print, exhibition and curation) explore global storylines linking migration with social justice and change. Including film productions: Silent Song (2000) on Kurdish lyrical protest in Europe; Here to Stay (2006) on migrant activism; and Promise and Unrest (2010) on gendered migration and long-distance motherhood. Other productions include a co-edited book/DVD-ROM Projecting Migration: Transcultural Documentary Practice (Columbia University Press, 2007). Áine runs Counterpoints Arts’ Learning Lab platform, developing national and international learning/creative production partnerships (with artists, cultural and community organisations, policymakers and academic institutions). She coordinates the cross-platform Who Are We? Tate Exchange programme at Tate Modern; and is the Director of the CREATE/Counterpoints Arts’ summer school on ‘Cultural Diversity and Collaborative Practice’.
Cara Sanquest holds an LLM in Law from Trinity College Dublin and works as Campaigns and Reserach Manager for an MP. Cara has experience in campaigning and digital and has worked in management consulting at Accenture, Digital Transformation at Save the Children UK, and at Localgiving where she supported small charities to use technology. Cara co-founded the London-Irish Abortion Rights Campaign which led a global digital campaign called #HomeToVote for the Irish referendum to repeal the Eigth Amendment, and was part of the fundraising and digital teams of Together for Yes. Cara is interested in refugee rights and has volunteered with the Irish Immigrant Support Network (Nasc) where she carried out primary reserach into Direct Provision.
The Advisory Group
The Advisory Group is a small non-executive body formed to provide specialist advice on data collection methods, theoretical and applied statistics, policy and advocacy strategies, and specific sensitivities related to working with refugee communities and vulnerable groups.
David is currently employed by the University of Portsmouth where he lectures in moral and political philosophy. David's interest in research ethics spans nearly 30 years. He is a long-standing chair of an NHS research ethics committee, a member of the British Psychological Society Ethics Committee and has had numerous other similar roles. David has acted in the capacity of ethics adviser to several large projects including DfID sponsored research; he is particularly interested in ethical challenges arising from qualitative research, specifically ethnography, where participants are valued as co-researchers, in action research designed to bring about positive change. David's own research is in the field of research ethics, with a particular focus on virtue ethics. Most recent publication: David Carpenter (2017). The Quest for Generic Ethics Principles in Social Science Research, in Ron Iphofen FAcSS (ed.) Finding Common Ground: Consensus in Research Ethics Across the Social Sciences (Advances in Research Ethics and Integrity, Volume 1) Emerald Publishing Limited, pp.3 - 17. http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/S2398-601820170000001001
Eleanor Harrison OBE
Eleanor Harrison OBE has a wealth of experience leading non-profit teams around the world. Most recently Eleanor was Interim Chief Executive of Safe Passage International, a non-profit using strategic advocacy and litigation to open safe, legal routes to sanctuary for people seeking asylum. Previously Eleanor spent six years as Chief Executive of GlobalGiving UK; an award-winning global charity challenging traditional aid dynamics; using new technology to enable better access to funding, skills and learning for local organisations everywhere. Prior to this Eleanor ran a charity in Kenya for five years helping vulnerable children and their families build better lives and led innovative programmes for refugees and young people in the UK. Eleanor holds an MA in International Relations, University of Queensland and an MA in Social & Political Sciences, University of Cambridge. She was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours (2016) in the UK in recognition of her services to International Development.
With an academic background in human rights and migration studies, Lewis has spent more than five years working with refugees and displaced persons. He is currently working to support unaccompanied minors seeking asylum in the United Kingdom through the Refugee Befriending Service of the British Red Cross. Prior to this, Lewis worked for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) as a counter-trafficking assistant in the Republic of Moldova.
Shaharazad (Sherry) is an international children's rights activist. Currently she serves as the Director of Communications and Policy for the 100 Million campaign', part of the Kailash Satyarthi Children's Foundation. 100 Million supports youth activists to stand up for the rights of the world's most marginalised children, including child labourers, out-of-school children, children on the move, and children facing violence. Previously she led the Global Campaign for Education's communications, working on its global advocacy campaigns, supporting the launch of the UN Major Group for Education and Academia, and overseeing the delivery of GCE's '1GOAL: Education For All' campaign for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in Africa. Sherry started her career as a youth activist at her university's students' union, before moving on to roles at the National Union of Students in the UK, and as Deputy Director of a UK charity supporting young people stay in education and realise their career aspirations. Outside of work, Sherry has volunteered extensively with grassroots organisations serving the refugee communities in Northern Greece and Lesvos since 2015.
Sarah Ezzat Mardini
Oiginally from Syria, Sarah currently holds refugee status in Berlin, Germany. Previously a member of the Syrian national swimming team, Sarah is a human rights and women's rights activist and a motivational speaker. She has recently returned to Berlin after a year volunteering in Lesvos as a member of the search and rescue shore team with Emergency Response Center International. She is currently studying humanities and politics in Berlin where she hopes one day to attend Harvard Law School. Sarah believes in the power of people to effect long lasting change.
Mohamad Alhussein Saoud
Mohamad is Refugee Rights Europe’s statistical analyst and has also worked with the organisation as a field researcher and coordinator, having participated in several studies to-date. Mohamad has a BA and an MA in Economics from Aleppo University, Syria, and an MA in Democratic Governance and Human Rights from the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights. He is currently based in Germany, where he works at Magdeburg University as a student assistant, as part of a project about refugees and migration in Germany.
Eva Cossé works on issues related to discrimination, migration, refugee and minority rights with a focus on Greece. Her most recent work has included research and advocacy around the refugee and migration crisis in Greece, including on the humanitarian crisis for asylum seekers on the Greek islands; risks of harassment and sexual violence faced by women and girls seeking asylum in Greece; the unlawful detention of unaccompanied children; and the lack of access to services for refugees with disabilities across the country. She has also worked on police abuse and other rights violations of the homeless, people who use drugs and sex workers in downtown Athens, ethnic profiling in Greece and France, xenophobic violence in Greece, summary returns of asylum seekers and migrant children from Italy to Greece, and the unlawful detention of migrants and asylum seekers, including children, in Malta. Cossé has previous work experience from the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner of the Council of Europe. She holds a Law degree from the Université Paris 13, a master’s degree in European Law from the Université Paris 12, and a master’s degree in International Law from Université Paris 10. She is fluent in Greek, French, and English.
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Dr Fionnuala Finnerty
Dr Fionnuala Finnerty is a specialist registrar in sexual health and HIV at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, UK. She undertook her medical training at the University of Leicester where she gained experience of working with migrant and refugee populations. She is a member of the Royal College Physicians. She is the specialist registrar representative on the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH) sexual violence special interest group and is currently involved in national guideline writing. Her areas of interest are sexual and reproductive healthcare provision in vulnerable populations especially refugee women, care of survivors of sexual assault and the prevention of sexual and gender based violence and child sexual exploitation.
Ozlem has three years of field experience working with women survivors of gender-based violence. For the last five years, she has been working as a consultant and trainer to raise awareness about gender equality and violence against women and girls including harmful practises such as female genital mutilation, early and forced marriages, and ‘honour’-based violence. Having worked at UNHCR in Turkey with Syrian refugees, she has experience in responding to the needs of refugees in terms of access to health and medication, education, and family reunification as well as protection issues. Ozlem holds a BA degree in International Relations and an MBA degree. She also has an MA degree in Theory and Practice of Human Rights from the University of Essex.
Mina Jaf, born in Iraqi Kurdistan, is a grass-root activist and international advocate for the rights of women and girls affected by conflict and displacement, for over ten years. She is the recipient of the Courage Award by Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC) in New York and has recently founded Women’s Refugee Route (WRR) - a Denmark based NGO that works to empower female refugees to become effective self-advocates and shape refugee, asylum and migration policies.
For the past couple of years, Spyros-Vlad has been working at the Greek Council for Refugees (GCR), where he has been researching and advocating on matters relevant to the rights of refugees and displaced persons in Greece and the EU. With his primary focus being on the effects of the EU-Turkey-Statement on the Greek systems of Reception and Asylum, he has also worked in the fields of hate crimes and discrimination, countering rigid misconceptions/representations of the reasons of “irregular” migration, and systemic barriers to the inclusion of minority groups. Past relevant experience and background include an internship at the Protection Unit of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and postgraduate studies in the UK and Greece, in the fields of Critical Studies and International Relations.
Usama Khilji is an activist and researcher based in Pakistan, where he is Director of Bolo Bhi, a free speech and digital rights advocacy organisation. He was a Chevening scholar at the London School of Economics and Political Science where he studied Comparative Politics. Usama mentored unassisted Afghan asylum-seekers with the Afghan Association of Paiwand in London, and has been associated with Refugee Rights Europe as a Pashto translator, digital media associate, and field researcher in Calais, France.
Eva is a human rights professional with five years experience in advocating for the rights of refugees in Europe. She has gained deep insights into the situation of displaced people across Europe as project manager at the refugee rights organisation Flüchtlingsrat NRW in Germany, as organiser at the independent community centre Trampoline House in Copenhagen, as well as as volunteer in Calais, where she contributes to the Human Rights Observation project to document human rights violations of displaced people in northern France. Originally from Germany and Portugal, Eva is deeply interested in finding European solutions and in advocating for European migration policies which promote the human rights of all people without exception. She has worked at the Western Europe Desk of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) in Brussels, and is a member of the European and African civil society network Migreurop contributing to its Close the Camps campaign against immigrant detention. Eva is currently based in the UK, where she supports young people in building a strong movement for migrants' rights at UK and Irish universities.
Storm is currently a consultant in the third sector with diverse experiences working at a grassroots, national and international level. She has gained valuable insights through working in a variety of organisations including London Youth, UN World Food Programme, and Bite The Ballot. She began her career in the youth sector, specialising in encouraging young peoples involvement in governance. This included leading the development of a £10million employability programme for young people facing the toughest barriers getting into work. Storm continues to work in the youth sector and on development projects. She has worked with refugees and asylum seekers for over four years volunteering at the British Red Cross as a project worker and caseworker for young people, and at the UN World Food Programme in Uganda in the Emergency Response. She is dedicated to supporting refugees and asylum seekers and advocating for a better response to situation in Europe.
Jihad is a Lebanese Researcher in the field of religious law and intercommunal relations. He has been involved in designing and implementing educational programmes for NGOs working on peace, diversity, and integrity, He managed two field researches on Syrian refugees in Lebanon in 2015.
Gulwali Passarlay is an Afghan political refugee currently residing in the UK. He left Afghanistan in 2006 and recently graduated with a degree in Politics from the University of Manchester. A Global Youth Ambassador for global children's charity Theirworld, Gulwali has a long history of campaigning and leadership roles, including being the President of the United Afghan Peace Movement, Chairperson of the Afghan Youth Movement, Patron of the Separated Child Foundation, Commissioner of The Children's Society, and Ambassador of various organisations, including being the Olympics Torch-bearer, and NHS Youth Forum. An award-winning activist, Gulwali has garnered the Distinguished Achievement Award (Student of the Year), Collaborative Leadership Award, and among others, the Manchester Leadership Gold Award, in recognition of his leadership and positive contribution. He has told his story of life as a refugee in his autobiography: "The Lightless Sky: A Twelve-Year-Old Refugee's Harrowing Escape from Afghanistan and His Extraordinary Journey Across Half The World", on TV channels such as BBC, Al Jazeera, CNN, Channel 4 News, itv, Russia Today, in print media such as The Guardian, Time Magazine, The Independent, The Scotsman, and at events such as TEDx. As a fervent advocate for many social justice issues and causes, Gulwali was nominated for the 2016 Nansen Refugee Award by the UNHCR.
Eleanor has volunteered with Refugee Rights Europe since January 2016 and works in the Human Rights Unit at the Commonwealth Secretariat. Before that, she worked at the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and for different civil society organisations in Cambodia. Eleanor has a Graduate Diploma in Law (BPP Law School), MA in Legal and Political Theory (UCL) and BA in Politics and History (Durham University).
Bobby Lloyd is a visual artist, UK HCPC registered art therapist, senior supervisor, educator and collaborator working in the UK and internationally since the early 1990’s. As CEO of Art Refuge UK she has led its project in Calais, northern France, since 2015, using art therapy, crisis intervention and arts-based psychosocial support, developing with her team innovative and imaginative ways to work effectively with refugees living in transit on the France-UK border who face ongoing exposure to hostility and homelessness. She has a wealth of experience in working in areas of political conflict and social upheaval, as well as with asylum seekers and refugees both in transit and once settled. She is committed to training and collaborating on projects and ideas, particularly in relation to the safe use of creative tools when working in the field.
Johanna is a project development, research and advocacy specialist from Finland, currently based in Lebanon. Johanna has a solid background in human rights and theories of social change, and has worked with local and international NGOs in Jordan, Greece, Uganda and Ukraine. She holds a BSc in Sociology and an MA in Human Rights and Democratic Governance, and is passionate about researching and observing power and control in societies.
Fida is a gender expert and researcher from Palestine. She is a Chatham House Academy Associate, former Gender Director at Care West Bank & Gaza, and an Assistant Professor at Birzeit University in Palestine. Fida brings a gender lens and invaluable expertise through the Project through her extensive research experience.
Hannah has been working with refugees and migrants in the USA as well as across Europe for more than a decade. Currently, she works in Germany as a Project Coordinator at the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN’s migration agency. Prior to that she worked at Kiron, a social enterprise providing refugees with access to higher education. She holds a Master’s degree in Comparative Politics with a focus on migration policies from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the City College of New York at CUNY where she also received the prestigious Colin Powell Fellowship.
Seth Wolpin holds a PhD in public health and has served on the research and clinical faculty at the University of Washington in Seattle since 2004. He has a strong background in health literacy, health informatics, survey design, user-centered design, and technology solutions in healthcare. His research interests in refugee health extend to data collection methods, wayfinding applications, and improved approaches to organizational health literacy.
When the humanitarian crisis unfolded in Calais, Northern France, Josie's instinct was to use her experience of social media and her established career in the music industry in order to support vulnerable groups neglected on Britain's doorstop. Three years later, Josie is Co-founder and CEO of Help Refugees, a non-profit organisation funding over 80 projects across Europe and the Middle East. Working closely with Lord Alf Dubs, Josie is a leading advocate for refugee rights in the UK and has lead the fight to reopen the Dubs amendment; a legislation offering sanctuary to unaccompanied children stranded across Europe.
Desk and Field Researchers
Refugee Rights Europe’s pool of researchers supports the work of the organisation on an ad hoc basis. Our researchers are deployed to the field, conduct desk research for reports and advocacy activities, and/or support the successful coordination of research studies on the ground.
Miriam holds a degree in Development Studies from the University of Vienna. She is currently working as a TV-journalist in Austria covering issues of international conflict, migration and asylum in different contexts. Both as a researcher and journalist, Miriam has been dealing with refugee issues over the past few years. She is specialized in the Afghan diaspora and, in this context, especially interested in questions of identity and gender. Miriam is fluent in German, English and Dari.
Christy's background lies primarily in public health research and social inclusion in a non-profit context. As a PhD candidate at University of Sheffield working on access to health services for migrant and minority ethnic populations in Europe, she is trained in both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Having previously contributed towards research on the practice of female genital mutilation amongst African migrants in Belgium, she has also volunteered and worked in frontline health services and served vulnerable patients such as refugees, the homeless and those in poor mental health. She holds a master’s degree in Public Health from Imperial College London and an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Science from King’s College London.
Cristina Cardarelli has a strong background in International Relations, with a focus on human rights, an MSc in International Relations Theory from LSE and a MA in Human rights and Democracy in the MENA region from EIUC. In the past years, she has collaborated with different NGOs in South Asia and worked as trainee at the European Parliament, DG EPRS. She has also worked as Assistant Campaigns Coordinator in a NGO based in Paris, helping the coordination of international human rights campaigns. As a human right researcher, she has worked in Palestine, in collaboration with Birzeit University, and in Jordan, where she focused on the refugee crisis. She has been with Refugee Rights Europe since the beginning of the organisation, working as a field researcher in France and Greece. She is currently working as Project and Communication Officer at the Italian Cooperation Office in Burkina Faso, as part of the UN Fellowship Program.
Joanna has just completed her Masters at the University of Exeter, in Conflict, Security and Development. Since a young age, Joanna has advocated for the rights of dyslexics, as the Ambassador of the British Dyslexia Association, recently giving a talk in the Houses of Parliament. Turning her attention to human rights advocacy, Joanna has volunteered at the Samos refugee camp, conducted human rights research in Palestine and Israel, as well as currently working as an intern for the Gender Unit at UNIOGBIS, in Guinea Bissau. She hopes to continue working for the improvement of rights for refugees.
Karen Diop is a French researcher currently based in Dakar, Senegal and working within the World Food Programme (WFP). She holds a Bachelor degree in Economics and Political Science, a postgraduate diploma in Management and recently graduated with an MSc in Leadership and Development from King's College London. Her interest in gender and migration issues led her to work with Refugee Rights Europe in 2016 during its pilot phase, in the Calais refugee camp. As part of her work with WFP, Karen is now developing her expertise and understanding of food security, nutrition and challenges faced by displaced people.
Chiara has a professional background as a Biomedical Research Scientist, and she is a passionate documentary and street photographer. She is very interested in the issues related to forced displacement and has volunteered with different charities and NGOs working with refugees and asylum seekers, in London, where she is based, and in Calais, Lesvos, Amman and Kuala Lumpur. Her most recent work includes research and advocacy around the humanitarian crisis at the borders of Europe.
Sandra El Gemayel
Sandra is a PhD Candidate at UCL, Institute of Education in London. Her research focuses on the impact of armed conflict and displacement on the childhood and play of young Iraqi and Syrian child refugees in Lebanon. With an MA in Early Years Education and experience volunteering with refugees and internally displaced persons, Sandra is interested in work and research related to children’s rights, constructions of childhood, and the understanding of play in the early years, specifically in refugee populations, helping to make young refugee children’s voices heard.
Helena Eynon holds a masters’ degree in international law and human rights from the University of Westminster. She has a strong background in development and now works in communications for a leading law firm based in central London. Helena is also a freelance writer, editor and researcher, with a special interest in law, human rights and the health of displaced and vulnerable populations.
Giulia Fagotto is Junior Programme Officer for the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) in Brussels. She holds a Masters in International Relations and Democratic Governance with a major in Human Rights in the MENA region. Her passion for travelling took her around the Mediterranean where she worked in governmental, non-governmental and consultancy organisations engaged in human rights protection and migration issues.
Grainne holds a MA in Human Rights from the University of Sussex and a BA in Social Science from University College Dublin. She has recently volunteer for 10 months in Calais, where she carried out her graduate thesis work. She was the co-ordinator of Refugee Info Bus for Northern France for 8 months where she worked among displaced communities in Calais and Dunkirk. She is currently working with youth homelessness in Ireland whilst working to get her MA thesis published.
Musashi is originally from Japan but currently based in Jordan where he's supporting an NGO project providing safe play and learning spaces for children in a refugee camp. He has a solid background working with children, both as a practitioner and a researcher - he completed several research projects focusing on the meaning of play in childhood in Japan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and France. He has worked with Refugee Rights Europe as a volunteer coordinator and a field researcher in France and Greece. He holds an MA in Education and International Development from UCL, Institute of Education.
Candace is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Social Anthropology and Development Studies at SOAS in London. She has been a key member of the Refugee Rights Europe team since 2016, being involved in crucial work such as interpretation, translation and field research.
Stephanie is currently completing her Masters at the University of Oxford in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies. Previously, she completed a Bachelors in Liberal Arts at Durham University, where she independently conceptualised and completed a paper on how Palestinian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon negotiate nationalism and a sense of belonging. She further pursued her passion and academic interest in human rights through her interdisciplinary dissertation, which examined the liberal human rights discourse in post-colonial Indian literature. Her research interests include urban refugees and city scapes, the biopolitics of humanitarianism, and bodies as sites of control and resistance.
Lizzie is about to begin an MA at King’s College London in Conflict, Security and Development. She has just finished her degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Exeter where she wrote her dissertation exploring how the militarisation of aid in Afghanistan impacted communication between humanitarian actors and non-state armed groups. She has worked in the development sector in Thailand and has worked across India as a Field Evaluator for GlobalGiving.
Huruy J. Kidane
Huruy holds a MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and a BA in Development Studies and International Relations from the University of Westminster. He is also a Masters candidate at the University of Oxford for the coming academic year. His interests lie in state building, migration and ethnicity in the Horn of Africa. Huruy has worked with minorities in the UK, from Fundraising for the Hornsey Trust to working with refugees and translating for local councils. He currently hold an Employment and Integration Advisor position with Breaking Barriers.
Abby currently works at Turn2Us, a UK based charity fighting poverty, as their Co-production and Participation officer. She also guest lecturers in humanitarian response and the contemporary European refugee crisis at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. She spent 6 months of 2019 in Calais, Northern France coordinating Refugee Info Bus, an information and wifi service.
Lauren is a doctor with a strong interest in human rights, particularly related to refugees and asylum-seekers. Throughout university, she has been involved in developing volunteering schemes for refugees and working on research to improve support for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in the UK. She has previously worked with NGOs in France and Greece to provide healthcare in refugee camps and is currently involved in starting up a charity to increase youth advocacy for refugee-related issues. Lauren is particularly interested in research examining existing frameworks for refugees and assessing areas that may require more support. She is fluent in French and English.
Denise worked as a legal advisor for asylum seekers and as a legal expert regarding labour and sexual exploitation in ghettos and informal settlement, gaining experience in the protection of vulnerable groups. She is passionate about gender equality and women’s rights and she has been a volunteer with AI in the Women’s Rights group. Denise worked with IOM and EASO in Italy. She acquired expertise in liaising with Institutions, civil society and religious communities. Before that, she worked in law firms specialized in protecting human rights in front of the ECHR and in international protection. Denise holds a Master's Degree in Law with a dissertation in international criminal law regarding sexual violence.
Phoebe Ramsay holds a BA in Anthropology and has a background in ethnographic and archaeological consulting. She has been committed to the grassroots humanitarian response in Greece since 2015. As independent volunteer coordinator at Idomeni in 2016 she played a critical role in supporting the grassroots emergency response to the humanitarian crisis in Northern Greece caused by the closure of the Balkan Route, and in 2017 she was funded by UK charity HelpRefugees to lead the development of humanitarian aid and community development projects in Koutsochero refugee camp in Central Greece, as the field coordinator for a small volunteer organization, Intervolve. She is currently based in Canada, working as a research associate for the University of Victoria, and continues to organize around refugee and migrant justice issues.
Rita has been working with Refugee Rights Europe since spring 2017. Her family were refugees themselves - they fled to Finland shortly after the Gulf War. She then moved to England, and studied a first-class Bachelor's degree in International Relations and has thereafter completed a Graduate Diploma in Law. In 2015, she started working in the Refugee Council as a volunteer administrator, and after a year she moved on to a volunteer adviser role at the Notre Dame Refugee Centre. She has helped organisations like Safe Passage, Help Refugees and most lately Lawyers in Lesvos with translation into Sorani Kurdish. Rita speaks fluent English, Finnish, Kurdish and now Spanish after volunteering in the Dominican Republic since February 2018.
Mouska was born in Afghanistan, but grew up in the Netherlands where she is still living. She is currently studying a Master in International Migration and Refugee law as well as a Master in Dutch Governance Law. Next to that she is working as a legal advisor in an NGO for undocumented migrants. Mouska has been part of the Refugee Rights Europe team since 2016, where she contributed in field studies in Greece and Paris.
Elisa has a BA in Social Anthropology from SOAS and an MA in Anthropology of Development from the University of Sussex. She has worked as a research consultant on a variety of evaluations and research projects for DFID, the Norwegian Refugee Council, UNICEF, WFP, Mekong Migration Network, Sport England and the University of Sussex. She also volunteered in Calais between 2015 and 2016 with the Hummingbird Project and she is now a trustee of the charity. She has published her independent research on volunteers in Calais on peer reviewed journals, and she is hoping to continue this research in the future.
Claire has worked in the charity sector for several years in different capacities. Mostly involved with refugees and asylum seekers, her field of expertise is working with vulnerable people, particularly children. Her work experience up to now has been centered around working with unaccompanied children and women seeking asylum in the UK. Claire worked and volunteered for the Refugee Council as a Children's Panel advocate but also as a Volunteer Coordinator across several teams and projects such as the One Stop Service and the Destitution Fund. She also volunteered as an ESOL teacher and mentor and is accustomed to working with children and teenagers from all backgrounds and ethnicities. She also previously worked as a Key Worker for NACRO, teaching and mentoring teenage parents.
Aileen holds a master’s degree in Global Mental Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and King’s College London with a focus on migration and forced displacement. She currently works as a programme asssistant supporting migrants in transit in West and Central Africa. Aileen previously volunteered as an integration adviser for the Refugee Council and the Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers in London and has also worked on Lesvos overseeing a SAR team and coordinating a medical point in one of the camps on the island.