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It is with great sadness that I announce that our colleague of well over a decade, Professor Gil Loescher, passed away last night of heart failure at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.

Gil was a legend of Refugee Studies. He was a pioneering scholar who brought International Relations to bear on the study of refugees, and critically examined the evolution of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees over many years. More than that, he was a beloved teacher on the MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies and was influential in the RSC’s formation in the 1980s and early 1990s.

We mourn the loss of a scholar, colleague, and friend of great decency, warmth and commitment - one whose resilience and courage in the last decades of his life inspired us all.

We send our condolences to Gil’s wife, Ann, his daughters, Margaret and Claire, and the rest of his family.

Over the next few months, we at the Centre will explore ways to memorialise Gil’s contribution to Oxford and to the study of forced migration. 

A longer tribute will follow on the website in the coming weeks.*

Matthew J. Gibney
Director, Refugee Studies Centre


Should you wish to pay tribute, Gil's family have set up a website at where people can add their memories of and tributes to Gil, including photos.

* See the full tribute by Alexander Betts, plus contributions from other RSC staff members here.