Member Profiles

Organising Team Members

Dr Ayar Ata

Ayar AtarDr Ayar Ata is a freelance researcher and linguist working for Ministry of Justice in London. He joined the Working Group for Archiving and Documentation of History of Forced Migration and Refugees in July 2018. Ayar is an active member of Sustainability Research Group at London South Bank University and a member of imix-global dialogue based in London promoting positive communications on migration and refugee issues in Britain, and he is also serving as ExCom member of International Association for the Study of Forced Migration. He serves the Working Group as a blog commissioning author.

Ayar, has first-hand refugee experience and settled in London in the beginning of the 1990s. Now describes himself a Kurdish Londoner and Ayar believes his formal and most informative steps towards his integration or active citizenship in London began when he completed his undergraduate study at SOAS, University of London in 1997.  Ayar studied  further and completed his postgraduate studies in social policy at Middlesex University in 2000 and later he studied forced migration and international human rights at University of East London (UEL) in 2009. Ayar was inspired by his experience at UEL and continued his dream study and gained his PhD in the same field at London South Bank University in April 2017.

His PhD research is on transnational migration, integration, and identity: a study of Kurdish diaspora in London analyses the notion of history, cultural identity and the idea of home and belonging by considering how the Kurds view their own history (the past) and how they relate (at present) within their new home, that is London. In other words an analytical attempt has been made to understand a shifting position of the Kurds from victims in the region to active citizens in London or Kurdish Londoners.

In the course of his research Ayar has also helped to establish a small voluntary group called Maheen Project in Croydon south London. This project is supporting unaccompanied refugee children to settle successfully in London



Paul V. Dudman

Paul Dudman is the convening co-ordinator of the Working Group for Archiving and Documentation of History of Forced Migration and Refugees (ADHFMR). He is currently serving as a Co-coordinator and Digital Head of the Working Group. He is the Archivist based within Library and Learning Services at the University of East London (UEL).  Paul has been responsible for the Refugee Council Archive, alongside three other archives at UEL, since November 2002. He has over a decade’s experience working within Higher Education archives and has postgraduate qualifications in Archives Administration (MSc.Econ) and Information and Library Studies (MSc.Econ).

Prior to founding ADHFMR, Paul has developed a Living Refugee Archive through working on a Civic Engagement project, entitled ‘Democratic Access or Privileged Exclusion: Civic Engagement through the Preservation of and Access to Refugee Archives’, at the University of East London. The project was built on his MA thesis and has engaged with refugee lived experience, unorthodox- history and oral narratives of refugees and migrants. Paul is now digitalising the archival materials and make archive accessible to refugee and migrants community.

Paul also runs three other blogs and websites, including Refugee Research Blog and UEL Archives Portal , aimed at open access to refugee and migration related materials. Paul is a member of a range of professional bodies including the Archives and Records Association, the International Council on Archives, the British Records Association and is a Chartered member of CILIP: the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.  For further information, please view Paul’s  Full Profile.

Contact: , Twitter @pauldudman

Dr Giorgia Doná

Giorgia is Professor of Forced Migration and Refugee Studies at the University of East London, and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the UK. Her research focuses on forced migration and refugee movements, violence and society, child protection and psycho-social assistance, with a geographical focus on Central America and East Africa. She has held positions at the Oxford University’s Refugee Studies Programme, the Child Studies Unit of University College Cork, Ireland, and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Giorgia has undertaken consultancy work for UNICEF, governments, and non-governmental organisations, and her research has been funded by, amongst others, the European Community, the Leverhulme Trust, the UK Department for International Development and the UK Department of Health. Giorgia was awarded the Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence in 2012 and was the recipient of the Leverhulme Fellowship for ‘Bystanders to Violence: Revisiting Genocide Narratives and Reconciliation Initiatives’ (2008 -2010). She is currently member of the Management Committee of the European funded Cooperation for Science and Technology Action 1206 “Femicide Across Europe’ (2013-2017).



Dr Anita Fábos

Anita Fábos is an anthropologist who has conducted research and outreach among refugees and other forced migrants in urban settings in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. Her scholarship and practice pursues a number of interconnected themes in the area of forced migration and refugee studies: how people make and transform ethnic and racial boundaries and boundary markers, people’s experiences of displacement and challenges to gender norms, historical shifts in citizenship and nationality laws, methods and ethics of research with hidden, vulnerable and mobile populations, transcultural social networks, and refugee narratives and representations.

As the Director of the Forced Migration and Refugee Studies program at the American University in Cairo, and later Programme Coordinator for the graduate program in Refugee Studies at the University of East London, Fábos has been involved in developing integrated teaching, research, and outreach programs that have incorporated refugee and forced migrant perspectives into collaborative work with scholars, practitioners, refugee organizations, policy makers, and international organizations. At Clark University, students in her classes have carried out community-based projects that have investigated refugee participation in community development initiatives, refugee access to higher education, and refugee livelihoods in Worcester.



Rumana Hashem, PhD.

Rumana is  the current Coordinator and a co-convenor of the Working Group. She is a political-sociologist and a Research Fellow at the department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick. Prior to Warwick, she was a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Centre for Research on Migration, Refugees and Belonging at the University of East London.

Rumana’s research cross cuts four interrelated areas including construction of identity and politics of belonging; discourse of gender, ethnicity, race and nationality; politics of gender, migration and citizenship; and transformation of conflict and gendered peace. Originally a rights activist from Bangladesh, Rumana has moved over to academia in Europe in 2001. In 2014 she completed a PhD, focusing on ‘Gender and Armed Conflict’, with a reference to the case of 13 minority communities in southeast Bangladesh where indigenous women faced unendurable sexualised violence. Rumana is currently teaching Introduction to Politics at the University of Warwick. She is responsible for undertaking impact activities for an ESRC funded research project “Crossing the Mediterranean Sea by Boat: Mapping and Documenting Migratory Journeys and Experiences”.

Rumana has also co-conducted (with Paul Dudman) a Civic Engagement project, entitled ‘Democratic Access or Privileged Exclusion: Civic Engagement through the preservation of and Access to Refugee Archives’, at the University of East London. The research has served as a pilot project to engage with refugees and local migrant-communities in London who told their lived experiences and life-history, which enabled the establishment of a Living Refugee Archive that promotes accessibility of and engagement with authentic history and oral narratives of refugees and migrants. Some of her published works are available here and here .

Contact: , Twitter @DrRHashem


Tolu Kadri

Tolu Kadri is now in the third year of the Global Urban Studies PhD program at Rutgers University-Newark. Tolu’s research examines the process and experience of forced migration in Cape Town, South Africa using an interdisciplinary approach (urban geography, migration studies, and mobilities). A native of Newark, Tolu completed her undergraduate studies at Princeton University (A.B., Anthropology) and received her Master’s of Public Health from Rutgers University. Prior to returning for her doctoral studies, Tolu worked as a program manager for the city of Newark’s workforce development board and as a grant manager for charter schools in Newark and Trenton, New Jersey.


Brittany Lauren-Wheeler

Brittany is a PhD student in the Graduate School of Geography at Clark University. Her work lies at the intersection of legal and moral geographies as they relate to environmental migration, and she is especially concerned with the role that the past plays in the way we define, legislate, and grant rights and recognition in the present. Previously, she studied forced migration at the University of the Witwatersrand (within the African Centre for Migration & Society), where she earned an MA with a project on the repatriation of human remains over borders in South Africa and the United States. Following this, Brittany worked as the Repatriation Specialist at the Field Museum of Natural History. Brittany also (co-)coordinated the Emerging Scholars and Practitioners on Migration Issues Network (ESPMI) for a number of years, bringing scholars and practitioners into meaningful dialogue, and leading the production of a multi-disciplinary, open-access, peer-reviewed e-journal, the Refugee Review.

Within the Working Group, Brittany is a publication and fundraising team member, and co-researcher in the ADHFMR Hub.



Nithya Rajan

Nithya Rajan is a co-researcher in ADHFMR hub and a co-worker at social media and public engagement team. She is a PhD candidate at the Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies department at the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on the labour experiences of refugee women in contemporary India and seeks to understand how refugee women, particularly Muslim refugee women, undertake complex negotiations and overcoming legal, logistical, and cultural obstacles and restrictions to engage in labour.

Her research interests include refugee policy in the Global South, refugee livelihoods and self-reliance intervention, refugee women’s experiences, transnational/postcolonial feminist theory, subaltern studies.

Further details about Nithya’s work can be found here:



Veronica Saba is currently undertaking a PhD in the anthropology of migration process at the University of Trieste, Department of Humanities. Her research focuses on refugee women’s experiences of violence and agency through their migratory route. Through a gender-sensitive and feminist ethnographic approach, her work tries to gather their narratives, highlighting their strategies to overcome violence, discrimination and difficulties as women in migration.

Her main interests are about feminist causes, migrations, asylum seeking, decolonial/postcolonial approaches within feminist theory and practice, intersectionality. She’s also taking part in the Italian feminist and anti-racist movement, and active member of Chayn Italy, an online volunteer network addressing gender-based violence by creating intersectional survivor-led resources online.

Contacts: ;


Shailja Sharma

Shailja Sharma is an Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at DePaul University, Chicago. She directs the M.S. in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies and is an Associate Professor of International Studies. Her books include New Cosmpolitanisms: South Asians in the United States (Stanford, 2006) and Postcolonial Minorities in Britain and France (forthcoming, Manchester University Press). Her areas of research include migration, integration, and citizenship, as well as South Asian history.



Dr. Mirjam Twigt

Mirjam Twigt is a Fellow at the Council for British Research in the Levant (CBRL), based at the British Institute of Amman.  She serves the Working Group as a media and public engagement team member. Mirjam is an anthropologist, specialised in media-use by and for forced migrants.  She has recently obtained her PhD from the School of Media, Communication and Sociology at the University of Leicester. Her PhD-thesis “The Mediation of Prolonged Displacement in the Everyday Iraqi Refugee Household in Jordan” drew upon ethnographic research and considered the interplay between living in prolonged legal and social uncertainty and media-use. She argues that conflict-affected migrants should be considered as digital connected but also points to the importance for caution for a too celebratory stance towards the ‘newness’ of digital connections and innovation. Online and offline interpretations of uncertainty in the present occur in reference to the past which includes one’s (prior) socio-historical positioning and in continuation of (neo)colonial, capitalist and patriarchal entanglements.

Mirjam has been awarded a fellowship at the Council for British Research in the Levant to further explore how refugees’ interpretations of humanitarian aid are influenced by increased affordability and availability of ICTs (information and communication technologies). They do not necessarily give people voice, and can actually further map into and aggravate already existing inequalities. I further explore if and how humanitarian practitioners can apply bottom-up approaches that more closely align with people’s subjectivities and there already existing media practices. She will also provide workshops on feminist and decolonising approaches to forced migration research at the Displaced Persons and Forced Migration Centre based at Yarmouk University, Irbid Jordan.

Mirjam Twigt holds an MA in Medical Anthropology from the University of Amsterdam and a MSc in International Development Studies with a focus on Humanitarian aid, conducted at Wageningen University. She previously worked on issues relating to (il)legalised migration in Egypt, The Netherlands and Jordan.

Contact: , Twitter @MirjamTwigt

Amadu Wurie Khan, PhD.

Amadu Khan serves the Working Group as a publication and editorial team member. Amadu Khan is a career human rights activist, journalist and refugee academic living in the UK. His research portfolios, which include a PhD study, are in forced migration, citizenship and the news media. He is interested in forced migrants’ personal ‘lived’ experiences and stories of belonging, identity and integration, and how these are shaped by government policies and news media coverage. His human rights journalism include serving as the first ever editor of the Exiled Journalists’ News – UK and have contributed expert opinion on asylum-seeking migration, human rights and cultural diversity to various media outlets including BBC Newsnight, Cork FM96, the African Courier, the Scotsman and the Sunday Herald. He has also held research, editorial and capacity-building/training consultancies with international NGO’s including Amnesty International, Article 19, the then World Development Movement, and with the UK Department for International Development (DFID). He is a founding member of the International Commission on Survivor Centered Disaster Recovery (ICSCDR), where his special focus is on ‘survivor’ ethnography in forced migration.


Additional Members


Agata Blaszczyk

Dr Agata is a lecturer in Polish language and museum studies in London.  Contact:

Biswajit Mohanty D.V.

Biswajit is a researcher in the studies of forced-migration, currently based in the Calcutta Research Institute, India. He is a member of IASFM for nearly a decade. His current research interests are in the area of Rohingya refugee crisis and forced-migration in South Asia.

Farah Salka

Farah is an anti-racism activist based in Lebanon.  Contact:

Laura Madokoro

Laura Madokoro is a historian and Associate Professor in the Department of History at Carleton University. She is the author of Elusive Refuge: Chinese Migrants in the Cold War (Harvard, 2016) and co-editor of Dominion of Race: Rethinking Canada’s International History (UBC, 2017). A former archivist at Library and Archives Canada, her current research focuses on the history of sanctuary.


Merwa Zen

Merwa is an exiled Eritrean feminist and an asylum-seeker in the UK. She is an activist and a student, denied access to higher education in the UK, working to help refugees in the UK. Merwa is also a member of Migration and Asylum Justice Network, UK. Her work relates to gender, migration and refugee rights. She is interested in supporting the development of the archive and history hub.

Dr Simon Goodman

Simon is a lecturer in Psycho-social Studies and Social Work at the University of Coventry. He is also a member of IASFM.