Dr. Ayla Bonfiglio

Affiliated Researcher

Ayla Bonfiglio is a Doctoral Fellow at UNU-MERIT and Maastricht University exploring the tertiary education trajectories of refugees within Africa to gain a deeper understanding of agency within forced migration processes and the extent to which education migration may offer an alternative form of protection for refugees. 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. 

Ayla is also a Founder and Principal at the Conflict and Education Learning Laboratory (CELL Foundation). Formerly, Ayla was a Research Officer at IMI working on the Mobility in the African Great Lakes project and the Global Migration Futures project, where she developed future migration scenarios for Europe, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and the Pacific. 

Ayla obtained an MSc in Forced Migration in 2010 from the University of Oxford. Her dissertation, published by UNHCR, examined non-formal education programs for refugees living in UNHCR-sponsored settlements versus urban areas in Uganda. Ayla also holds a BA (Hons) in Political Science from Columbia University. Her dissertation, which won the Charles A. Beard prize for the best paper in political science in two years, was a comparative study of the levels of self-reliance of urban self-settled and rural settlement refugees in Uganda. 

Ayla has worked and carried out research in Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Guatemala, and Rwanda. She has worked as a Google Policy Fellow in Washington, D.C. studying the proliferation of African mobile telecommunications and she has worked with the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford on its development and outreach activities.

Selected publications by Ayla Bonfiglio