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Listen to the podcast of the 6 May seminar, part of the Trinity term 2015 Public Seminar Series

For almost a decade (1999 - 2009) UNHCR struggled to formulate a new policy on refugee protection and solutions in urban areas. In this seminar, Dr Jeff Crisp, who was centrally involved in the policy formulation process throughout that time, attempts to explain why the organisation was prompted to introduce its new urban refugee policy and why it took so long for that process to be completed. He and a former colleague at UNHCR, MaryBeth Morand, also examine the steps that have been taken to ensure the effective implementation of the new policy, examine the origins and implications of UNHCR's 2014 policy on 'alternatives to camps' and conclude with some broader observations in relation to the policymaking process within UNHCR. 

If you're interested in learning more about good practices for people working with urban refugees, visit, a database for professionals in the field. The site is run by staff at UNHCR.

About the speakerS

Jeff Crisp joined Refugees International in September 2013. Previously, he served as Head of the Policy Development and Evaluation Service at the headquarters of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Geneva, a position that he had held since 2006. Jeff has also held senior positions with the Global Commission on International Migration, where he served as Director of Policy and Research; the Independent Commission on International Humanitarian issues; and the British Refugee Council. Jeff has first-hand experience of refugee situations and humanitarian operations in more than 60 countries around the world, and in May-June 2013 he led an evaluation mission to examine the international response to the Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq. He has published and lectured extensively on refugee, humanitarian and migration issues, and he was responsible for the publication of two editions of UNHCR’s flagship publication, The State of the World’s Refugees. His most recent publications have focused on the issues of refugee protection and solutions in urban areas, protracted refugee situations and the linkage between refugee protection and international migration, as well as the gap between humanitarian relief and development aid. A British national, Jeff has a Master's degree and a PhD in African Studies and Political Science from the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom.

MaryBeth Morand is a Senior Policy and Evaluation Officer at UNHCR. She has worked in complex humanitarian emergencies and staff development for most of her career with UNHCR and the International NGOs Mercy Corps and the International Rescue Committee. In the United States, MaryBeth has worked for Planned Parenthood, the Sierra Club and social action agencies. She is a graduate of the CAGS (Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study) program at the European Graduate School, and has a Masters in International Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management.

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