Barbara Harrell-Bond OBE is a leading figure in the field of refugee studies. She founded the Refugee Studies Center at Oxford University, the world's first institution for the study of refugees. It now hosts an annual lecture series in her name. On retirement, she conducted research on the extent to which refugees enjoy their rights in exile in Kenya and Uganda.
She has also founded or helped to found refugee legal aid organizations in several locations, including the Refugee Law Project in Uganda and AMERA (Africa and Middle East Refugee Assistance) in Egypt. In 2000 she was invited to the American University in Cairo to establish another refugee studies programme. In 2005, Harrell-Bond was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for her contributions to refugee studies.In September 2008, she returned to Oxford where she is establishing a website, www.srlan.org, an 'information platform', a web site for legal aid practitioners in the global south as director of the Refugee Programme of the Fahamu Trust, an international NGO working on social justice issues.
Harrell-Bond was born and raised in South Dakota. She attended Asbury College in Kentucky where she studied music, married, had three children, and began studying anthropology at the Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford in 1965 where she earned an M.Litt. and a D.Phil. in social anthropology. Prior to founding the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford, she was employed by the Department of Anthropology, University of Edinburgh, the African Studies Centre, Leiden, Holland, the School of Law, University of Warwick, and the American Universities Field Staff.
- Modern Marriage in Sierra Leone (1975) ISBN 90-279-7871-9
- Community Leadership and the Transformation of Freetown (1978) ISBN 90-279-7525-6
- 4 June: A Revolution Betrayed (1982, as Barbara E. Okeke)
- Imposing Aid: Emergency Assistance to Refugees (1986) ISBN 0-19-261543-2
- Rights in Exile: Janus-Faced Humanitarianism (2005, with Guglielmo Verdirame) ISBN 1-84545-103-1