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
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 (with G Loescher, J Milner) (2011) 'UNHCR: The Politics and Practice of Refugee Protection (2nd edition)', London: Routledge
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 (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) '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 (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 (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 (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 (2016) 'Global governance and forced migration'. In Anna Triandafyllidou (ed) Routledge Handbook of Immigration and Refugee Studies , London: Routledge
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) '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 (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 (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
03 Mar, 2016
'How we can fix our failing refugee system'. A talk by Alexander Betts at TED2016
29 Jan, 2016
'We seem to be globally in ethical free fall'. Alexander Betts speaks to CNN's Amanpour
24 Sep, 2015
'Let Refugees Fly to Europe'. Alexander Betts argues for humanitarian visas in NYT article
20 Sep, 2015
'Human migration will be a defining issue of this century. How best to cope?'. Alexander Betts writes for the Observer

Pages

Research interests:

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