Deputy Director and Founder | abonfiglio@cell.foundation

Ayla Bonfiglio is a Doctoral Fellow at UNU-MERIT examining refugees in higher education. Over the course of her PhD, she has held Visiting/Associate Researcher positions at the International Migration Institute (IMI) at the University of Oxford, the African Centre for Migration and Society at Wits University, the African Migration and Development Policy Centre in Nairobi, and Makerere University.Formerly, Ayla was a Research Officer at IMI working on the Mobility in the African Great Lakes project and the Global Migration Futures project.

Ayla obtained her MA in Forced Migration in 2010 from the University of Oxford. Her dissertation, published by UNHCR, examined non-formal education programs for refugees. Ayla also holds a BA (Hons) in Political Science from Columbia University. Her dissertation, on refugee self-reliance, won the Charles A. Beard prize for the best paper in political science.

Ayla has worked and carried out research in Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Guatemala, and Rwanda. In 2009, she was a Google Policy Fellow in Washington, D.C.


Selected Publications

(2016) ‘Political and practical tensions with refugee education governance.’ Conference paper. International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM), 12 – 15 July 2016: Poznan, Poland.

(2016) ‘“I’m not a refugee, I’m an international student” Finding protection through higher education in Uganda and Kenya.’ Conference paper. International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM), 12 – 15 July 2016, Poznan, Poland.

(2015) ‘Exploring the displacement patterns of tertiary educated refugees in Kampala’. Conference Paper. European Conference on African Studies (ECAS), 8-10 July 2015, Paris, France.

(2013, co-authored with Oliver Bakewell) ‘Moving Beyond Conflict: Re-framing mobility in the African Great Lakes region’. Working Paper. International Migration Institute. Available at: https://www.imi.ox.ac.uk/publications/wp-71-13/

(2010) ‘Learning outside the classroom: non-formal refugee education in Uganda’. New Issues in Refugee Research. UNHCR Policy Development and Evaluation Service. Research Paper No 193. Available at: www.unhcr.org/4cd953cb9.pdf