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From left to right: Olivier Sterck, Fulya Memişoğlu, Natascha Zaun and Ali Ali

We are pleased to announce the following new staff appointments at the Refugee Studies Centre:

Dr Olivier Sterck has joined as Junior Research Fellow in the Economics of Forced Migration; Dr Natascha Zaun as Junior Research Fellow in Global Refugee Policy; and Dr Ali Ali and Dr Fulya Memişoğlu have joined us as Research Officers to work on the project ‘Politics of the Syrian Refugee Crisis’.

Dr Olivier Sterck is an economist working in the areas of development and health economics. Before joining the RSC, Olivier was postdoctoral research fellow at the Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE) at the University of Oxford. He completed his PhD in economics in 2013 at the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium). His research is multidisciplinary in scope, building bridges between several fields of study, from the economics of conflicts and HIV to International Relations. Part of it is based on fieldwork conducted in sub-Saharan Africa. As part of the RSC, Olivier aims to apply his expertise in econometrics and economic modelling to the study of refugee economies. With colleagues from the RSC, he will use quantitative methods to study refugee economies in Kenya, Uganda and Burundi. He will also work on the impact evaluation of a programme expanding work permits for Syrian refugees in Jordan.

Dr Natascha Zaun holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Bremen. During her PhD, she was a visiting fellow at the London School of Economics’ Migration Studies Unit. Before coming to the RSC, Natascha worked at the Collaborative Research Centre 597 ‘Transformations of the State’ at the University of Bremen for a research project on ‘Border Regime Change and the Mobility of Persons’ and as a researcher and lecturer in the area of International Relations at the University of Mainz. Natascha’s key areas of expertise cover European and global refugee and immigration policies and politics. In her PhD thesis she analysed EU decision-making on common asylum policies, finding that these policies only reflected the positions of Member States with a long-standing regulatory tradition in the field. A monograph based on her thesis is forthcoming with Palgrave Macmillan. Currently, Natascha’s research focuses on the reform of the global refugee regime and responsibility-sharing in global refugee policies.

Dr Ali Ali is currently working on the ‘Politics of the Syrian Refugee Crisis’ project which compares policy towards Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey. He will undertake the fieldwork to gather data on policy in Lebanon and Jordan in the form of interviews with officials at the national and local level, and with members of local and international organisations working with displaced Syrians. His previous research at the London School of Economics examined the socio-economic implications of the war in Syria, during which time he conducted fieldwork in Turkey in regions bordering Syria in 2013 and 2014. The research examined activists’ use of technology to challenge the state, security in opposition areas, and the political economy of war. His doctoral work at the University of East London addressed the relationship between displacement and state-transformation in occupied Iraq and the coercive transformations of space that took place in Baghdad with implications for displacement. His research was based on interviews with Iraqis living in Syria during 2010 and 2011.

Before joining the RSC in June 2016, Dr Fulya Memişoğlu was an assistant professor in the Department of International Relations at Çukurova University (Turkey). She holds a MA in International Studies from the University of Warwick and a PhD in Politics from the University of Nottingham. Her general area of research is comparative politics with particular emphasis on the interplay between international, regional and domestic policymaking processes in the field of human rights. After spending a year at the European University Institute as a post-doctoral fellow in 2013 working on migration governance in Southeast Europe, she had the opportunity to participate in various research projects conducted by International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICPMD), the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) focusing on the repercussions of the Syrian refugee crisis. At the RSC, Fulya is working on the ‘Politics of the Syrian Refugee Crisis’ project, which aims to better understand the responses in the main host states of first asylum for refugees from Syria: Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey.