My dissertation examines variation in how urban refugees in Uganda understand their rights, restrictions, and responsibilities, and inconsistently understand the state and non-state actors who provide these; as well as examines the effects of having or lacking this knowledge. My broader research centers on refugee representation, migration research ethics, and conceptualizing systematic inclusion of and partnership with refugees for research agenda setting, humanitarian provision, and migration policy and decision-making.
Beyond research, I have extensive experience as an advocate to detained unaccompanied minors seeking asylum, as well as work for family reconnection and reunification with the American Red Cross.
( 01 )
Academic Year 2021-2022
Global Impacts Fellow,
The Buffett Institute for Global Affairs
Oxford University's Refugee Studies Centre
Awarded 2021, deferred due to COVID-19
Kaplan Center for the Humanities,
Public Humanities Fellows Working Group
Academic Year 2020-2021
Kellogg School of Management, Dispute Resolution Research Center Research Grant
Northwestern Graduate School, Graduate Research Grant
Buffett Institute for Global Studies, Graduate Student Dissertation Research Award
2016 and 2017
Hans Panofsky Research Award, Program of African Studies
( 02 )
Northwestern University, PhD
Anticipated Summer 2021
Dissertation title: Refugees' understanding of rights and governance structures: A study of urban refugees in Uganda
Dissertation Committee: Dr. Wendy Pearlman (chair), Dr. Galya Ben-Arieh and Dr. Rachel Riedl
Northwestern University, M.A.Political Science
Major Field: Comparative Politics
Minor Field: International Relations
Second Year Thesis: Theorizing Refugee Agency and Power
DePaul University, M.S.International Public Service
Conferred May 2014
Summa Cum Laude, GPA 4.0
Research Focus: Refugees, forced migration, community-based approaches/ non-profit management
DePaul University, B.A.
Peace, Justice, and Conflict Studies
Conferred May 2012
Summa Cum Laude, GPA 3.9
( 03 )
Refugee-Led Organizations as Emergency Providers During A Global Pandemic.
Contribution for: UNHCR People Forced to Flee
Co-authored with Robert Hakiza
UNHCR and international organizations frequently under-value refugee-led initiatives where the displaced themselves provide critical and life-sustaining material, protection, and rights-based support to their fellow displaced. This article demonstrates the value of these refugee-led efforts and argues for more systematic inclusion of refugees into global policy- and decision-making.
The Importance of Refugee Inclusion in Research Design
Scholars Strategy Network
In this brief memo, I make a theoretical, practical, and moral argument for scholars to consistently and meaningfully partner with refugees, asylum seekers, and other displaced populations to design the research agenda of scholarship. I argue that this intentional partnership will ensure that research made about refugees is useful for their needs and advocacy efforts.
Humanitarian responses to international migration—including to forced migration where individuals have no choice but to leave one country for protection in another—are often able to respond only to migrants’ immediate protection and provision needs. Through their efforts to restore communication between internationally separated family members, the global Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement supplements these humanitarian efforts by responding to migrants’ emotional and psychological needs.
South Sudan: Solutions for moving beyond an “ethnic conflict"
International Research and Review: Journal of Phi Beta Delta Honor Society for International Scholars
Refugees throughout the world are forced from their homes because their country’s government is unable or unwilling to provide them legal protection. In this paper, I argue that even though refugees have been displaced because of politics, displaced persons—including refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and diasporic community members—can meaningfully contribute to peace-building in their home countries.
( 04 )
Presentations & Trainings
Refugee Law and Policy in a Global Perspective
Training for Independent Diplomat
Training on international, regional, and national refugee law and policy given to the Steering Committee of the Global Refugee Led Network, facilitated through Independent Diplomat's "Refugee Skill Up" training.
“What explains variation in tactics and targets of urban refugees’ grievance expression in Uganda?”
Midwest Political Science Association annual conference
Scheduled April 2020- deferred due to Covid
“Examining Variation in Tactics and Targets of Urban Refugee Political Claims Making” Oxford University’s Refugee Studies Centre's Conference on ‘Democratizing Displacement
“Refugees and the ‘state’: How do non-citizens understand and claim rights in exile?” Northwestern University’s AfriSem Conference
“Narrative Representation: Examining Agency & Power of Urban Refugees” Northwestern University’s AfriSem Conference
“South Sudan: Envisioning Ways to Utilize Refugees and Diaspora Networks in Conflict Mediation and Post-Conflict State Buildings” DePaul Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference
( 05 )
International Environmental Politics
TA for Dr. Kimberly M. Suiseeya
TA for Dr. Kimberly M. Suiseeya
Contemporary African Politics
TA for Dr. Martha Wilfahrt
For Expanded Guest Lecture and Teaching Experience
Please see CV
( 06 )
I have curated a google site with resources on global, regional, and national refugee policy. The website additionally contains a wealth of resources on the refugee situation in Uganda, including many humanitarian and open-access academic reports.
This access is envisioned to support refugee leaders and refugee-led organizations when they write concept notes and complete funding applications.
If you would like to access this google site, please email me at ChristaKuntzelman2022@u.northwestern.edu!