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Elizabeth Ferris

Research Professor

Institute for the Study of International Migration, Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University

Elizabeth Ferris is Research Professor with the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. From January-September 2016, she also served as Senior Advisor to the UN General Assembly’s Summit for Refugees and Migrants in New York. 

From 2006-2015, she was a Senior Fellow and co-director of the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement where she worked to support understanding and protection of internally displaced persons.  Prior to joining Brookings, she spent 20 years working in the field of humanitarian assistance, most recently in Geneva, Switzerland at the World Council of Churches. She has also served as the director of the Church World Service’s Immigration and Refugee Program, as research director for the Life & Peace Institute in Uppsala, Sweden and as a Fulbright professor at the Universidad Autónoma de México. 

Her teaching experience has included positions at Lafayette College, Miami University and Pembroke State University. She has written extensively on refugee, migration and humanitarian issues, including The Politics of Protection: The Limits of Humanitarian Action (Brookings Institution Press, 2011) and Consequences of Chaos: Syria’s Humanitarian Crisis and the Failure to Protect, with Kemal Kirsici (Brookings Institution Press, 2016).  Her newest book, Refugees, Migration and Global Governance: Negotiating the Global Compacts, co-authored with Katharine Donato, will be published by Routledge Press in 2019.  She has done extensive work on environmental migration and displacement, with a particular focus on planned relocations in order to protect people from the effects of disasters and environmental change, including climate change. In this regard, she has written on such diverse issues as displacement in the Arctic and the Pacific. She received her BA degree from Duke University and her MA and PhD degrees from the University of Florida. 

Baidoa, Somalia

Makeshift, temporary shelter made of plastic and clothing at a refugee center in Baidoa, Somalia.