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York 2010 International Conference

>> About the Participants

Barbara Harrell-Bond

Barbara E. Harrell-Bond

OBE, Director, Refugee Programme, Fahamu, Networks for Social Justice, United Kingdom


Barbara Harrell-Bond is a legal anthropologist with many years of research experience in Sierra Leone and throughout West Africa, specializing in family law, administrative law, and dispute treatment in ‘customary’ courts. From 1967-82, she was employed by the American Universities Field Staff, the Faculty of Law, University of Warwick, the Afrika-Studiecentrm, Leiden, Holland, and University of Edinburgh.  

From 1982-1996, Professor Harrell-Bond founded and directed the Refugee Studies Centre the University of Oxford.  On retirement, she conducted research in Kenya and Uganda on the extent to which refugees enjoyed their rights in exile - with teams of lawyers in both countries.  One of the outgrowths of this action research was the establishment of the Refugee Law Project at Makerere University in Uganda (  From 2000-08 she was Distinguished Adjunct Professor at the American University in Cairo, establishing refugee studies and teaching for this graduate programme.  She also began a refugee legal assistance program in Cairo, AMERA-Egypt in 2000, as well as the Africa and Middle East Refugee Assistance (AMERA) in 2003, as a UK-based charity. She is now the Director of FAHAMU’s Refugee Programme and Coordinator of the Southern Refugee Legal Aid Network, hosted by FAHAMU and currently developing the information platform,

 In 1996, she received the Distinguished Service Award, from the American Anthropological Association; she was also elected Honorary Fellow at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford; and in 2005, and she received the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for her contribution to refugee studies.  Professor Harrell-Bond has a long list of ground-breaking research in the field, of refugee studies, including Imposing Aid: Emergency Assistance to Refugees Oxford University Press, 1984, and is co-author with Dr. Guglielmo Verdirame of Rights in Exile: Janus-Face Humanitarianism, 2005, Berghahn Books.