The 12 inaugural Fellows were selected from a large number of applications, and are based in a range of countries across Eastern Africa, Southern Africa, and Europe. They identify as stateless, internally displaced, asylum seekers, and as current or former refugees. Scholars have completed undergraduate degrees (or have equivalent experience), and several have been awarded a first graduate degree. All have academic aspirations to go on to graduate study in Oxford or at other leading universities.
Abubaker is a MA Graduate in International Cooperation on Human Rights and Intercultural Heritage at the University of Bologna, Italy. His main research interests are the local knowledge nexus in migration governance in the Sahel and North Africa, origins and causes of statelessness, and transnational identities in the Sahel.
Prior to his degree, in 2017 he worked in protection with the UN Agency for Migration (IOM) in Eastern Libya. He also worked with the Community Stabilization Division of IOM in Southern Libya where he managed a project on social cohesion, peacebuilding, infrastructure rehabilitation, and psychosocial support activities for migrants and host communities. Moreover, Abubaker has worked as a freelance researcher with various think tanks on topics related to migration between Libya and the Sahel. Recently, he joined the International Commission on Missing Persons in the Hague as Policy Officer. When Abubaker is not in an office, most likely, he will be on the football pitch or chasing Italian food.
Claudine is a Burundian national based in Harare, Zimbabwe. She graduated with an honours degree in Sociology from Africa University, Zimbabwe. Her life experiences informed her undergraduate thesis, “Factors affecting the smooth transition of refugee youths to adulthood: A case of youths in the Tongogara Refugee camp, Chipinge, Zimbabwe.” In her research, she looked at different factors hindering their ability to flourish in adulthood.
Before joining the Fellowship, she was a youth ambassador for an e-learning platform on Global Citizen Education aimed at promoting the Sustainable Development Goals, Goal 4. She won an award in 2021 from the Institute of International Education (IIE) for her work aimed at promoting higher learning among displaced individuals. Her passion is to promote quality education and offer a hopeful message to refugee children and youth in refugee camps. Currently she’s working on a book titled “From a Refugee to a Global Citizen”, which examines a shift of mind to enable positive action among refugee youths.
Darselam is a graduate of Erasmus Mundus's master's programme in Gender and Women's Studies between the Central European University and the University of Granada. She completed her thesis investigating the intersectional causes and barriers that predispose Eritrean women to vaginal fistula. She obtained a BA in Anthropology from the College of Arts and Social Sciences.
Prior to joining the Fellowship, she worked in the nonprofit sector as a researcher and practitioner with a specific focus on women’s empowerment, economic development, and gender equality issues. She has also been active in youth leadership and social entrepreneurship initiatives. Her research interests intersect with migration, interdisciplinary and intersectional women and gender issues, African feminisms, bio-politics, and participatory research methods. She aims to advance her research at the doctoral level and work with INGOs that focus on migrants and gender issues. Darselam is currently based in Budapest, Hungary. In her free time she enjoys reading thriller, adventure and fantasy fiction, visiting museums, and learning new languages.
David is committed to transforming the lives of refugee and displaced communities. His background informs his work at the African Leadership University where he works to increase access to life-changing opportunities for underrepresented and refugee youth through quality higher education. During his undergraduate studies, he co-founded an international award-winning social enterprise, My Green Home, which recycles plastic waste into building materials and educates communities about sustainable living practises. He is a founding member of the Mastercard Foundation Alumni Network Committee and a member of Resilient40, an African climate activists’ collective.
David is interested in research at the intersection of climate change and its socio-economic impacts on those who are forcibly displaced. He is keen to explore ways to leverage environmental sustainability initiatives to increase the economic self-sufficiency of displaced communities. During his free time David enjoys cooking Indian cuisine and travelling across various historic sites of interest around the continent.
Fardosa graduated from the University of Nairobi with a double BA in sociology & social work, and peace & conflict studies. Prior to joining the Fellowship, Fardosa was a community case worker and paralegal interpreter for six years. She worked with HIAS Refugee Trust of Kenya implementing urban refugee assistance programmes. There, she supported programmes on SGBV prevention and response. She also worked with Kituo cha Sheria as a paralegal interpreter to provide legal advice and representation to refugees and asylum seekers in Kenya.
Academically, she is interested in understanding the experiences of Somali returnees who subsequently resettle back in Kenya. When she is not working, she enjoys reading women’s fiction and poetry. She also likes fluid art painting and hiking in and around the Nairobi hills.
Joelle is a refugee from Democratic Republic of Congo, residing in Kenya. She has a BA in Business Communication from Southern New Hampshire University with the support of the Global Education Movement. Currently, she is working with the Amahoro Coalition to share innovative projects developed by refugees, conveying the impacts they are making in various settlements and host communities. She would like to pursue graduate studies focused on the use of renewable energies in displacement settings.
Previously, she worked with the UNHCR Africa Regional Office where she reviewed UNHCR’s Communicating with Communities (CwC) strategy tools to identify ways the CwC team could overcome communication barriers between UNHCR and refugees in the Horn of Africa. In her free time, she enjoys reading fiction, landscape photography, and playing acoustic guitar.
Julia is a Kenyan refugee residing in Cape Town, South Africa. She is currently pursuing an MA in Development Practice at Regis University. She holds a BA in management from Southern New Hampshire University, where she currently works as Chief of Staff for the Global Education Movement. Previously, she worked as the livelihoods manager at the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town where she ran trainings for refugee and migrant women, supporting 800 graduates to achieve financial stability.
As a development practitioner, Julia has focused on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, supporting efforts to ensure that refugees and other displaced people are not left behind. Her professional and research interests centre around women’s empowerment initiatives in Southern Africa, access to higher education, and gender studies. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering with grassroots organisations by facilitating leadership and wellness workshops. She also enjoys hiking with friends and family, reading, and hosting reflective sessions with those around her.
Moulid is a freelance journalist with a focus on humanitarian stories covering East Africa. He completed his MA in Journalism, with a concentration on feature writing and digital storytelling at Kingston University London. In his thesis, he focused on Somalia’s media policy and how it affects its state and peacebuilding agenda.
Moulid has written for The Guardian, Al Jazeera, BBC, TRT World, and The New Humanitarian, among other outlets. He has produced three documentaries and has written a book review in the Journal of Refugee Studies. In 2018, Moulid was longlisted for the Amnesty International Media Awards. He has also worked as a communications consultant with aid organisations including UNHCR, UNDP and UNSOM. His research examines how refugees are portrayed in western media, development issues in the Horn, and economic inclusion of refugees.
Mohamed Hassan is a Somali refugee living in Nairobi, Kenya. He is currently completing his BA at Southern New Hampshire University through the Global Education Movement. He spent more than two decades living in Kakuma refugee camp where in 2017 he was elected zonal chairman to represent fellow refugees’ needs and interests. In his capacity as a leader, Mohamed has advocated for refugee rights and inclusion in multiple international conferences, including being a co-chair of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting at Davos in 2019. He was also the first refugee to work as a UN Volunteer in East and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Mohamed is interested in researching how identity evolves in protracted displacement, contemporary Islamic legal practice, freedom of movement, intergenerational displacement, and the limits of durable solutions. He has been particularly interested in studying 19th century Somali poetry and the role it played in galvanizing indigenous support against European imperial powers
Mohammed is a lawyer with a particular interest in refugee and forced migration issues. He studied law at Haramaya University in Oromia, Ethiopia, where he graduated with an LLB degree with distinction. He initially worked as a district court judge in his home country. After fleeing Ethiopia, he worked as a Senior Psychosocial Worker at Psychosocial Services Training Institute in Cairo, Egypt. There, he advocated for refugees' rights to access healthcare, protection, and housing.
Mohammed also worked as a Community Outreach Legal Officer at St. Andrew's Refugee Services (StARS) where he trained refugee community-based organisations to provide legal services. His research interests revolve around refugees’ access to legal aid services, protection against refoulement, and local integration of refugees. In his free time, Mohammed loves to read and engages in social media activism to raise awareness about the human rights situation in his country of origin.
Natasha completed her BA in Psychology at NYU Abu Dhabi where she was able to study a wide range of subjects. She trained in journalism while working with indigenous and immigrant communities of Australia, explored advocacy-oriented film and new media in the Arab world, and worked with Aga Khan Foundation in Mombasa, Kenya in the ‘back to school for out of school children’ project. She minored in child development and social intervention, and has a research focus on equitable access to quality education for children. She is currently working with Ashinaga, a Japan based INGO that supports orphaned scholars from Africa to access tertiary education. Natasha’s own lived experiences as a stateless person in Kenya has motivated her interest in understanding barriers to obtaining documentation for displaced and former displaced persons.
During her free time, Natasha enjoys community action through participating in health awareness runs, mentoring younger students, and facilitating intercultural dialogue among her peers. She also enjoys swimming and being in nature.
Temesgen is a former refugee who studied a Bachelor of Laws degree at Zambian Open University in Lusaka. He completed a thesis on the evaluation of patent law in promoting development in Zambia. He is a human rights advocate and works with several Eritrean CSOs, including Eritrean Movement for Democracy & Human Rights. He advocates for good governance in Eritrea, refugee protection, and for the release of Eritrean political prisoners.
Temesgen is passionate about democratisation and the possibilities that it creates for Eritreans and the world. He is interested in applying international law to understand remedies that can be sought by refugees who are victims of belligerent states and non-state actors. In his spare time, he plays football and volunteers for TEDx Lusaka as part of their curating team.