Within a rapidly changing geo-political context in the 21st century following the end of the Cold War and the age of the bi-polar world politics, the strand promotes critical thinking on the intersection among conflict, displacement, development and social change. It aims to contribute to the advancement of knowledge, policy and practice in the areas of conflict-induced displacement, human rights, development and human mobility at local, national and global levels.

The strand promotes research excellence in this growing field of study and facilitates dissemination of information to academics and practitioners. It also supports postgraduate, research based teaching programmes in the field:


Our MA degree enables students to affect a positive change. 

Debora Singer MBE, MA Refugee Studies Graduate. 

Debora is currently the Policy and Research Manager at the charity - Asylum Aid, where she has worked since 2004. The organisation provides legal representation for asylum seekers as they go through the asylum process and does political lobbying on their behalf. In 2006, she obtained a distinction for her Masters degree in Refugee Studies at University of East London. Asylum Aid published her MA Dissertation research on women asylum seekers and international human rights mechanisms, which has had an impact on various campaigns and policy documents. As part of her work, Debora launched the Charter of rights of women seeking asylum in 2008, to persuade the UK to adopt a gender sensitive asylum system. She has become well known for her persistence and enthusiasm in lobbying strategically and achieving long term impact. A well-respected campaigner, responsible for a series of creative campaigns on the rights of women seeking asylum, in the 2012 New Year Honours List, Debora was awarded an MBE for services to women. She says of her experience at UEL: 

"Studying for an MA in Refugee Studies at UEL gave me the confidence, knowledge and skills to switch direction in my career. I enjoyed the collaborative approach and the recognition of the relevant experiences we each brought, whether as students or tutors."

Research Approach

The strand adopts an interdisciplinary approach to the analysis of conflict, displacement and human security. Distinctive features of the strand are its focus on conflict and displacement, its people-centred approach, and its emphasis on human security that combines both human rights and human development. We consider development as an important security strategy and considers displacement a measure of human security.

Through our emphasis on intersections of these concepts and their global, regional and local underpinnings, we aim to provide a more comprehensive approach to causes and consequences of conflict and its relation to displacement and development.

Our research engages with multiple factors associated with the growing number of people forced to become refugees. It highlights the  agency of the people victimised by displacement and critically examines social, cultural and community responses to people in search of sanctuary in the contexts of restrictive border practices in Europe. 


  • Doná, G. (2014) Forced Migration, and Material and Virtual Mobility Among Rwandan Children and Young People, in Veale, A. and Doná, G. (eds) Child and Youth Migration: Mobility-in-Migration in an Era of Globalisation, Basingstoke, Palgrave, pp. 113-139
  • Doná, G. (2014) Intersectional traumatization: The psychological impact of researching genocide on international and national researchers, in I. Macek, I. (ed) Engaging Violence, London: Routledge, pp. 91-110
  • Korac, M. (2016) 'Is there a right time for gender just peace? Feminist anti-war organising revisited', in If not now, when? Feminism in contemporary activist, social and educational contexts. Special Issue Gender and Education; Vol. 28 No. 3, pp 431-444. http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/6nVNADmDdyKSs6viBQZ3/full 
  • Korac-Sanderson (2016) 'Citizenship and Emplacement: Processes and practices of inclusion of newcomers', in Kostic, Roland, L. Bennich-Björkman, and B. Likic-Brboric (eds) Citizens at Heart? Integrations of refugees in the EU after the Yugoslav wars of succession. Uppsala Multi-ethnic Papers (UMP); No. 56. Uppsala University: Hugo Valentin Centre.