My current research projects include:

Migration Management in the EU: Cooperation and Delegation between EU Member States and International Organizations

My dissertation project examines cooperation between the EU, UN, and other international organizations on migration management in Europe. While the UN often operates refugee camps in the Global South, it is rarer for rich, developed countries to ask the UN to support refugees and migrants within their territories. My project examines why the UN is operating these camps in some of the richest countries in the world and diagnoses gaps in the coordination mechanisms that lead to refugees anguishing for years in camps in Greece, Italy, or the suburbs of Paris. My research is based on over 80 interviews I conducted with policy makers and project coordinators in Italy, Greece, London, Brussels, Geneva, and New York. I find that rather than develop EU migration institutions, member states often delegated responsibility to the UN and other NGOs to support refugees and migrants because states felt their sovereignty was threatened, because of competition between regional and global institutions, and because member states wanted to shirk responsibility.

Related Research Outputs:


Refugee Policy as Foreign Policy: The Politics of Resettlement, Expulsion, and Development Aid

My second project looks at refugee policy as foreign policy. The traditional understanding of refugee policy is as domestic policy focused on integration or balancing domestic public opinion toward refugees. Instead, I develop a theoretical framework to explain how states use refugee policy as one tool in their foreign policy toolbox for engaging in war zones and the surrounding neighborhoods. This project is organized around three case studies: refugee resettlement, refugee expulsion, and migration-development partnerships. First, I demonstrate how the US State Department uses refugee resettlement to punish its enemies or reward its allies; second, I show why states like Pakistan and Kenya threaten to expel refugees in order to hurt their neighbors and blackmail international organizations and superpowers for higher rents; and third, I analyze how the EU leverages development aid to restrict migration flows from North Africa. This project builds on two articles under development: the first, which analyzes US refugee resettlement policy in Iraq and Afghanistan, was submitted to a journal for review and the second examining refugee expulsion will be presented at the 2018 International Studies Association conference.



Local Dynamics of Peacebuilding

Building on my work with youth organizations in Bosnia, this project examines local dynamics of peacebuilding, particularly the local communities’ perceptions of NGOs, international organizations, and government officials. In 2015 and 2017, I piloted a community survey in three villages in northern Bosnia to compare local perceptions of peacebuilding. Preliminary results show wide disillusionment with IOs and peacebuilding initiatives, except in the smallest village that was devastated by ethnic cleansing in the 1990s. I will apply for research funding to implement this survey throughout Bosnia. This new dataset will contribute to peacebuilding research by collecting data at the municipality level, while remaining sensitive to differences in rural and urban settings, and their experiences with conflict.

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My previously research projects have focused on:

  • The Ford Foundation, civil society, and international philanthropy
  • Muslim civil society organization in non-Muslim majority countries
  • Muslim women’s organizations in Russia