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Public Seminar Series, Trinity term 2020

#ByRefugees: Strengthening refugee-led humanitarian response during the Covid-19 pandemic

This seminar series focuses on refugee-led assistance and protection in the context of Covid-19. It features panels of individuals whose work is shaping how we understand and support refugee-led responses during crisis. Their accomplishments – whether as practitioners, policy influencers, funders, or community responders – challenge conventional top-down approaches to humanitarian assistance. These approaches are increasingly important in the current context, in which traditional humanitarian capacity has been stretched and forced to adapt. Refugee-led organisations are on the frontline of the response, in both refugee camps and cities.

The series will explore how refugees are responding to the current crisis, reflect on how they can be supported by external actors, and consider the prospects for creating lasting forms of participatory humanitarian governance. The majority of panelists are refugees.

All seminars will take place over Zoom and will allow time for Q&A sessions with the panelists. The series will also be livestreamed on Youtube and recorded. 

Register here 

Series Conveners: Alexander Betts and Andonis Marden (Refugee Studies Centre) and Shaza Al Rihawi, Anila Noor, Najeeba Wazefadost and Mustafa Alio (Global Refugee-Led Network)

Enquiries to Annelies Lawson ( 

Please note, all times listed are in BST (British Summer Time)

Seminar 4 

Rapid response to funding gaps: Philanthropic support for refugee-led initiatives

Anna Crowley – International Migration Initiative, Open Society Foundation (London)

Annemieke de Jong Refugee Livelihoods Programme, IKEA Foundation (Leiden)

Anders Knudsen – DEMAC Initiative (Diaspora Emergency Action and Coordination), Danish Refugee Council (Copenhagen)

Refugee-led organisations are chronically underfunded. Although their humanitarian activities are understood to be more cost-effective than a majority of other actors', RLOs receive a small fraction of what United Nations operations and other (I)NGOs benefit from. A number of donors and funding bodies have changed their protocols during the Covid-19 pandemic in order to channel money to RLOs. Speakers on this seminar will discuss the efforts they have made to overcome grant-making challenges in order to get RLOs funding as quickly as possible, where it's needed most. Discussion will centre on how the adaptations these organisations have made can be adopted by other philanthropic entities to change the donor landscape in the longer-term. The seminar will last approximately 90 minutes, with half the time allocated to Q&A.


Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture

The Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture is held in Trinity term. It is named after Professor Elizabeth Colson, a renowned anthropologist.

Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture

The Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture is named in honour of Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond, the founding Director of the Refugee Studies Centre. It is held each year in Michaelmas term.

Public Seminar Series

Each term the RSC holds a series of public seminars, held on Wednesday evenings at Queen Elizabeth House. Click here for details of forthcoming seminars.

Connect with us

To keep up to date with our events and activities, sign up for email alerts from the RSC and Forced Migration Review, and connect with us on social media.

Forthcoming events

A celebration of the life of David Turton

Saturday, 20 July 2024, 2pm to 3pm @ The Crypt Cafe, St Peters Church, Northchurch Terrace, London N1 4DA