Learn More About Alexander Betts
In media and in public debate, refugees are routinely portrayed as a burden. Alexander Betts explores ways societies might empower refugees rather than push them to the margins, and provides actionable solutions proven to benefit refugees as well as host countries and businesses. His new book, “The Wealth of Refugees: How Displaced People Can Build Economies” (OUP Oxford, April 2021), provides a road map for how countries can create sustainable refugee policies that enable displaced people to live in safety and dignity, while operating at scale.
Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs and Fellow of Green-Templeton College at the University of Oxford, Betts is also the director of its Refugee Studies Centre (RSC), the world’s leading refugee research institution. Recently, he was named the director of Refugee Economies, an interdisciplinary non-profit organization that combines economics, anthropology, history, and political science to explore the conditions under which refugees can become self-sufficient and make positive economic contributions to their host states and societies. Betts and his work are garnering international attention: Named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, he is an engaging and powerful speaker. His TED talk, titled “Our Refugee System is Failing,” received rave reviews – for provocative content and performance. His book, “Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System,” (Penguin, April 2017) further explores ways to improve outcomes for refugees and host countries. Betts was also named to the Thinkers50 2017 Radar list of scholars most likely to shape the future.
Oxford’s youngest British professor since World War II, his research is focused on the politics and economics of refugees. He also founded the Humanitarian Innovation Project (HIP) with an initial aim of exploring the role of technology, innovation and the private sector in refugee assistance. The project has undertaken pioneering work on Refugee Economies, developing cutting-edge thinking on how the conceptualize a people-centered approach to humanitarian innovation. The project also led to the creation of the annual Humanitarian Innovation Conference.
An equally talented writer, his book books include “Protection by Persuasion: International Cooperation in the Refugee Regime” (Cornell University Press 2009), “Survival Migration: Failed Governance and the Crisis of Displacement” (Cornell University Press 2013), “Mobilising the Diaspora: How Refugees Challenge Authoritarianism” (Cambridge University Press, 2016) and “Refugee Economies: Forced Displacement and Development” (Oxford University Press, 2017).
In addition to many academic publications, Betts has written for Foreign Affairs, the New York Times, and the Guardian, and appeared regularly on the BBC, Al Jazeera and CNN. He has worked for UNHCR and has served as consultant to a range of international organizations, including OCHA, UNICEF, UNDP, and the World Bank.
Alexander Betts is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.