Dr. Ayla Bonfiglio

Student Migrant, Refugee or Both? Exploring Refugee Agency and Mobility through Tertiary Education in Kenya, South Africa and Uganda

Year: 2020

Ronald Skeldon & Roger Zetter


Tertiary education institutions in resettlement and asylum countries across the world are asking what role can and should they play in responding to today’s forced displacement crises. Exploring and better understanding opportunities within higher education to provide pathways to protection should be a priority. We know from studies on education migration that education is a key driver of movement in most societies. We also know that refugees perceive higher education as crucial to rebuilding their lives in host countries. Therefore, this research set out to understand: if a person’s higher education was interrupted, prevented, or simply not possible in his or her home country because of conflict, crisis, or persecution, how might the prospect of higher education elsewhere play a role in that person’s decision-making about where and how to seek asylum? Examining the journeys of Congolese and Somali refugees and migrants, this study finds that higher education impacts how refugees and migrants planned the timing of their exits from origin countries, their choice of destination, and the legal or irregular channels they used to enter and settle in destination countries.

Selected publications by Ayla Bonfiglio

Articles (journal, professional, popular)
Laar, Mindel van de & Ayla Bonfiglio, 2017, `Public policy beyond borders, APPAM Conference Blog, More information

External working papers
Vezzoli, Simona, Ayla Bonfiglio & Hein de Haas, 2017, Global migration futures: Exploring the future of international migration with a scenario methodology, This paper presents the Global Migration Futures (GMF) Scenario Methodology developed at the University of Oxford’s International Migration Institute (IMI). The GMF Scenario Methodology integrates insights from migration theory with techniques from the Intuitive Logics School of scenario planning to enable the simultaneous and systematic examination of relatively certain and uncertain migration determinants, their future evolution as well as their implications for population mobility. In addition, this paper discusses the key insights gained through the application of the GMF Scenario Methodology in different world regions as well as its main limitations, More information
Bakewell, Oliver & Ayla Bonfiglio, 2013, Moving Beyond Conflict: Re-framing mobility in the African Great Lakes region, It is not surprising that conflict and crisis are often seen as the dominant features moving across the across the socio-political landscape in the African Great Lakes. As a result, many areas of life are analysed in its shadow – politics, economics, cult, More information
Bonfiglio, Ayla, 2010, Learning outside the classroom: non-formal refugee education in Uganda, The first part of the paper defines non-formal education (NFE) in the refugee context by synthesising the scholarly literature on non-formal education and the reports and practitioner manuals of organizations working within the field of emergency educatio, More information

Research reports
Bonfiglio, Ayla, Elaine Lebon-McGregor & Melissa Siegel, 2015, Diaspora engagement in development: An analysis of the engagement of the Kenyan diaspora in Germany and the potentials for cooperation, Study commissioned by GIZ, More information

Other (editorship, media appearance, keynote, etc.)
Bonfiglio, Ayla & Mindel van de Laar, 2017, , More information