Prof Alexander Betts

Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs

Alexander Betts is Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs, William Golding Senior Fellow in Politics at Brasenose College, and Associate Head (Doctoral and Research Training) of the Social Science Division, at the University of Oxford. He served as Director of the Refugee Studies Centre between 2014 and 2017.

His research focuses mainly on the political economy of refugee assistance, with a focus on Africa. He is co-author, with Paul Collier, of Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System (Penguin Allen Lane and Oxford University Press, 2017), which was named by the Economist as one of the 'Best Books of 2017'. His other books include Survival Migration: Failed Governance and the Crisis of Displacement (Cornell University Press, 2013), Protection by Persuasion: International Cooperation in the Refugee Regime (Cornell University Press, 2009), Mobilising the Diaspora: How Refugees Challenge Authoritarianism (Cambridge University Press, 2016), Global Migration Governance (Oxford University Press, 2012), Refugee Economies: Forced Displacement and Development (Oxford University Press, 2016), and Refugees in International Relations (Oxford University Press, 2011).  

He is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, was named by Foreign Policy magazine in the top 100 global thinkers of 2016, and his TED talks have been viewed by over 3 million people. He has previously worked for UNHCR and has served as a Councillor on the World Refugee Council. His writings have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Guardian.

He currently leads the IKEA Foundation-funded Refugee Economies Programme, which undertakes participatory research on the economic lives of refugees in Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia.

He received his MPhil (with distinction) and DPhil from the University of Oxford. 

Publications
News
In the media

Books and monographs

Betts, Alexander (with Paul Collier) (2017) 'Refuge - Transforming a Broken Refugee System', London: Allen Lane
Betts, Alexander (with Will Jones) (2016) 'Mobilising the Diaspora: How Refugees Challenge Authoritarianism', Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Betts, Alexander (with L Bloom, N Omata, Josiah Kaplan) (2016) 'Refugee Economies: Forced Displacement and Development', Oxford: Oxford University Press
Betts, Alexander (with Phil Orchard) (2014) 'Implementation and World Politics: How International Norms Change Practice', Oxford: Oxford University Press
Betts, Alexander (2013) 'Survival Migration: Failed Governance and the Crisis of Displacement', Ithaca: Cornell University Press (Monograph)
Betts, Alexander (ed) (2011) 'Global Migration Governance', Oxford: Oxford University Press
Betts, Alexander (with G Loescher) (eds) (2011) 'Refugees in International Relations', Oxford: Oxford University Press
Betts, Alexander (with G Loescher, J Milner) (2011) 'UNHCR: The Politics and Practice of Refugee Protection (2nd edition)', London: Routledge
Betts, Alexander (2009) 'Protection by Persuasion: International Cooperation in the Refugee Regime', Ithaca: Cornell University Press
Betts, Alexander (with Gil Loescher, James Milner) (eds) (2008) 'The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR): The Politics and Practice of Refugee Protection into the 21st Century', London: Routledge

Journal articles and special issues

Betts, Alexander (2015) 'The normative terrain of the global refugee regime', Ethics & International Affairs 29 (4) 363-75
Betts, Alexander (with Gil Loescher) (2014) 'Introduction: Continuity and Change in Global Refugee Policy', Refugee Survey Quarterly 33 (1) 1-7
Betts, Alexander (with Gil Loescher) (eds) (2014) 'Special Issue: Emerging Issues in Refugee Policy Around the World', Refugee Survey Quarterly 33 (1)
Betts, Alexander (2013) 'Regime Complexity and International Organizations: UNHCR as a Challenged Institution', Global Governance 19 69-81
Betts, Alexander (2010) 'The Refugee Regime Complex', Refugee Survey Quarterly 29(2) 12-37
Betts, Alexander (2010) 'Towards a Soft Law Framework for the Protection of Vulnerable Irregular Migrants', International Journal of Refugee Law 22(2) 209-36
Betts, Alexander (2010) 'Soft Law and Vulnerable Migrants', Georgetown Journal of Immigration Law 24(4)
Betts, Alexander (2010) 'Survival Migration: A New Protection Framework', Global Governance 16(3) 361-82
Betts, Alexander (2009) 'Institutional Proliferation and the Refugee Regime', Perspectives on Politics 7(1) 53-8
Betts, Alexander (2008) 'North-South Cooperation in the Refugee Regime: The Role of Linkages', Global Governance 14(2) 157-78

Chapters

Betts, Alexander (forthcoming) 'UNHCR, Autonomy and Mandate Change'. In J Oestreich (ed) International Organizations as Self-Directed Actors , London: Routledge
Betts, Alexander (2016) 'Global governance and forced migration'. In Anna Triandafyllidou (ed) Routledge Handbook of Immigration and Refugee Studies , London: Routledge
Betts, Alexander (with Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar & Aparna Surendra ) (2016) 'Humanitarian innovation, integration, and the architecture of refugee protection'. In R Hsu & C Reinprecht (eds) Migration and Integration: New Models for Mobility and Coexistence , Vienna: Vienna University Press
Betts, Alexander (with N Omata, L Bloom) (2015) 'Humanitarian Innovation and refugee protection'. In K Brennan (ed) Making Global Institutions Work , Oxford: Routledge
Betts, Alexander (2014) 'From Persecution to Deprivation: How Refugee Norms Adapt at Implementation'. In A Betts, P Orchard (eds) Implementation and World Politics: How International Norms Change Practice , Oxford: Oxford University Press
Betts, Alexander (with Phil Orchard) (2014) 'The Normative Institutionalization-implementation Gap'. In A Betts, P Orchard (eds) Implementation and World Politics: How International Norms Change Practice , Oxford: Oxford University Press
Betts, Alexander (2014) 'Survival Migration: Conflicting Refugee Identities in Africa'. In S Kneebone, D Stevens, L Baldassar (eds) Refugee Protection and the Role of Law: Conflicting Identities , London: Routledge
Betts, Alexander (2014) 'International Relations and Forced Migration'. In E Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, G Loescher, K Long, N Sigona (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies , Oxford: Oxford University Press
Betts, Alexander (2014) 'The Global Governance of Crisis Migration'. In S Martin, S Weerasinghe, A Taylor (eds) Humanitarian Crisis and Migration: Causes, Consequences and Responses , London: Routledge
Betts, Alexander (2014) 'Commentary: The UK and Immigration Policy'. In J Hollifield, P Martin, P Orrenius (eds) Controlling Immigration: A Global Perspective , Palo Alto: Stanford University Press
Betts, Alexander (2014) 'Commentary: The European Union and global migration governance'. In J Hollifield, P Martin, P Orrenius (eds) Controlling Immigration: A Global Perspective , Palo Alto: Stanford University Press
Betts, Alexander (2012) 'The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees: Autonomy and Mandate Change'. In J Oestreich (ed) International Organizations as Self-Directed Actors: A Framework for Analysis , London: Routledge
Betts, Alexander (2011) 'The Refugee Regime and Issue-Linkage'. In R Koslowski (ed) Global Mobility Regimes , Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Reports

Betts, Alexander (with C Costello, Natascha Zaun) (2017) 'A Fair Share: Refugees and Responsibility-Sharing', Delmi report 2017:10
Betts, Alexander (2016) 'Humanitarian Innovation: The State of the Art', OCHA Occasional Policy Paper United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Betts, Alexander (with Louise Bloom, Nina Weaver) (2015) 'Refugee Innovation: Humanitarian innovation that starts with communities', Oxford: Humanitarian Innovation Project
Betts, Alexander (with L Bloom, N Omata, Josiah Kaplan) (2014) 'Refugee Economies: Rethinking Popular Assumptions', Oxford: Humanitarian Innovation Project
09 January, 2015
'Transformation through innovation': Forbes Reports on Recent Paper by RSC's Alexander Betts and Louise Bloom
20 June, 2014
On World Refugee Day, RSC Launches Report Showing Positive Impact of Refugees on Host Countries
10 March, 2014
New Special Issue: Emerging Issues in Refugee Policy Around the World
09 July, 2013
New Book: Survival Migration by Alexander Betts
19 November, 2012
RSC's Humanitarian Innovation Project Features in The Independent
12 November, 2012
Humanitarian Innovation Project Launch Event
17 September, 2012
RSC Launches $600,000 Project on Role of Innovation, Technology and Private Sector in Refugee Protection

Pages

18 Oct, 2016
'Why Uganda is one of the world’s most hospitable refugee destinations'. Alexander Betts speaks to PBS Newshour
20 Sep, 2016
'The question that remains is what kinds of pledges will be made and followed through on'. Alexander Betts quoted in Guardian article on US-led Leaders Summit on Refugees
20 Sep, 2016
'UN summit on refugees fails to offer solutions'. Alexander Betts writes for Irish Times
18 Sep, 2016
'UN and White House summits could offer a ray of hope to those stuck in camps'. Alexander Betts writes for the Observer
12 Sep, 2016
'UN Refugee Summit: abstract discussions in the face of a deadly crisis'. Alexander Betts writes for Refugees Deeply
05 Aug, 2016
'Destination Europe: Final Thoughts'. Alexander Betts interviewed on BBC World Service's The Compass
13 Jul, 2016
'Brexit: avoiding the wrong conclusions'. Alexander Betts interviewed by Refugees Deeply
11 Jul, 2016
Four post-Brexit steps toward a more inclusive world. Alexander Betts on TEDTalks
08 Jun, 2016
'If we empower refugees, they will help themselves and their host societies'. Alexander Betts talks to PBS Newshour
16 May, 2016
'Smuggling doesn’t cause migration, it responds to an underlying demand to migrate'. Alexander Betts interviewed on BBC about Operation Sophia

Pages

Research interests:

International politics of asylum and migration, with particular regard to Sub-Saharan Africa