Prof Naohiko Omata

Associate Professor

Naohiko Omata is Associate Professor and Senior Researcher at the Refugee Studies Centre (RSC). Prior to joining the RSC, Naohiko was Senior Teaching Fellow in Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London. Previously, he worked as a practitioner and consultant for UNDP, UNHCR, and international and local NGOs in various Sub-Saharan African countries. 

Based on extensive research in West Africa, Naohiko has published widely on refugee livelihoods, rights and repatriation including articles in the Journal of Refugee Studies, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies and Community Development Journal. Before starting his career in forced migration and international development, he worked in the private sector in Japan and the United States.

Naohiko received his PhD in Development Studies at SOAS, University of London; he also holds an MA in Forced Migration and Humanitarian Aid from the Fletcher School at Tufts University and a BA in Law from the University of Tokyo.


Books and monographs

Omata, Naohiko (with A Betts, L Bloom, Josiah Kaplan) (2016) 'Refugee Economies: Forced Displacement and Development', Oxford: Oxford University Press

Journal articles and special issues

Omata, Naohiko (forthcoming) 'The Complexity of Refugees' Return Decision-making in a Protracted Exile: Beyond the Home-coming Model and Durable Solutions', Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Omata, Naohiko (2021) '"Over-researched" and "Under-researched" refugee groups: Exploring the phenomena, causes and consequences', Journal of Human Rights Practice 12 (3) 681-95
Omata, Naohiko (2020) 'The Kalobeyei Settlement: A Self-Reliance Model for Refugees?', Journal of Refugee Studies 33 (1) 189–223
Omata, Naohiko (2020) 'Self-Reliance and Social Networks: Explaining Refugees’ Reluctance to Relocate from Kakuma to Kalobeyei', Journal of Refugee Studies 62-85 33 (1)
Omata, Naohiko (2012) 'Repatriation and Integration of Liberian Refugees from Ghana: the Importance of Personal Networks in the Country of Origin', Journal of Refugee Studies
Omata, Naohiko (2011) 'Who Receives Remittances? A Case Study of the Distributional Impact on Liberian Refugees in Ghana', Development Viewpoint (Centre for Development Policy and Research, SOAS) 61
Omata, Naohiko (2011) 'Forgotten or Neglected? Non-registered Liberian Refugees in Ghana: Their Rights and Protection', Oxford Monitoring of Forced Migration 1 (2)
Omata, Naohiko (2011) 'Online Connections for Remittances', Forced Migration Review 38


Omata, Naohiko (2010) 'The Significance and Limitations of Remittances from the West for a Liberian Refugee Population and the Local Host Community in Buduburam Village, Ghana'. In T Aoyama (ed) Migration, Mobility and Globalization , Tokyo: Office for International Academic Strategy, University of Foreign Studies


Omata, Naohiko (with A Betts, L Bloom, Josiah Kaplan) (2014) 'Refugee Economies: Rethinking Popular Assumptions', Oxford: Humanitarian Innovation Project
Omata, Naohiko (2007) 'Empowering Rural Women through Strengthening Shea Butter Industry', The Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning of Ghana
Omata, Naohiko (2004) 'Alchemy Field Report on FCC Micro Credit Programs to Refugees in Mozambique.', Feinstein International Famine Center, Tufts University

Working papers

Omata, Naohiko (2016) 'Micro-finance in Refugee Contexts: current scholarship and research gaps', Refugee Studies Centre Working Paper No 116 Oxford: University of Oxford
Omata, Naohiko (2012) 'Struggling to Find Solutions: Liberian Refugees in Ghana', UNHCR Research Paper 234
Omata, Naohiko (2011) ''Repatriation Is Not for Everyone': The Life and Livelihoods of Former Refugees in Liberia', UNHCR Research Paper 213
01 December, 2017
New RSC article explores variation in economic outcomes for refugees
14 August, 2017
New article by Naohiko Omata explores political dynamics in Liberian refugee camp
20 July, 2017
New book: The Myth of Self Reliance by Naohiko Omata
21 November, 2016
New book on refugee economies by HIP team
20 June, 2014
On World Refugee Day, RSC Launches Report Showing Positive Impact of Refugees on Host Countries
07 March, 2014
New Blog Post: Naohiko Omata and Josiah Kaplan on Refugee Livelihoods
04 March, 2014
Humanitarian Innovation Project Team Write on Improving Work with Refugees for Guardian
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


Research interests: