Alexander Betts (academic)

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Alexander Milton Stedman Betts (born 17 January 1980) is the Leopold Muller Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs[1] and William Golding senior fellow at Brasenose College at the University of Oxford.[2] He was formerly director of the Refugee Studies Centre.[3] and a senior research fellow at Green-Templeton College.[4]

He is a British academic, whose research focuses mainly on the politics and economics of refugee assistance.[5] He has also written on migration and humanitarianism. His notable books include Protection by Persuasion: International Cooperation in the Refugee Regime (Cornell University Press, 2009),[6] Global Migration Governance (Oxford University Press, 2011),[7] Survival Migration: Failed Governance and the Crisis of Displacement (Cornell University Press, 2013),[8] Mobilising the Diaspora: How Refugees Challenge Authoritarianism (Cambridge University Press, 2016),[9] and Refugee Economies: Forced Displacement and Development (Oxford University Press, 2016)[10]

His ideas have had a notable impact on refugee policy. He is perhaps best known for his research reframing refugees as economic contributors.[11][12] Together with his colleague, Sir Paul Collier, he has argued for a new approach to refugee assistance based on development rather than just humanitarianism. They developed an idea to employ Syrian refugees in already existing Special Economic Zones in Jordan, first published in a piece in Foreign Affairs.[13][14] The proposal adopted as a pilot project by Jordan, the UK, the EU, and the World Bank, which became known as known as the 'Jordan Compact’.[15] The pilot was described by News Deeply as “one of the most important economic experiments in the world today”.[13]

In 2016, he was named in Foreign Policy magazine's top 100 global thinkers,[16] and as a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader [17]

He was a prolific public commentator during the European migrant crisis. His writing has been published in The Guardian,[18] The New York Times,[19] and Foreign Affairs.[20] He has appeared on CNN,[21] the BBC,[22] and Al Jazeera.[23]

He has given TED talks on refugees[24] and Brexit[25] with combined views in excess of 2.5 million. His TED talk on refugees was named by the curator of TED Chris Anderson as one of the top 10 TED talks of 2016.[26]

He is former European debating champion[27] and has run the London Marathon in 2:42.05.[28]


  1. ^ "Alexander Betts — Refugee Studies Centre".
  2. ^ "Professor Alexander Betts". Retrieved 15 November 2018.
  3. ^ "Welcome — Refugee Studies Centre".
  4. ^ "Two new Senior Research Fellows appointed". 11 January 2017. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  5. ^ "alexander betts - Google Scholar".
  6. ^ "Protection by Persuasion, International Cooperation in the Refugee Regime". 2009-10-08. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  7. ^ "Global Migration Governance - Alexander Betts - Oxford University Press". 2011-01-06. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  8. ^ "Survival Migration, Failed Governance and the Crisis of Displacement". Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  9. ^ "Mobilising the Diaspora | International Relations and International Organisations | Cambridge University Press". Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  10. ^ "Refugee Economies - Alexander Betts, Louise Bloom, Josiah Kaplan, Naohiko Omata - Oxford University Press". 2016-11-17. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  11. ^ Lott-Lavigna, Ruby. "Give refugees basic human freedoms and everyone will be better off".
  12. ^ "4 Innovations That Could Turn Refugees From Burdens Into Assets—And Save Lives - Fast Company". 3 March 2016.
  13. ^ a b "Jordan Experiment Spurs Jobs For Refugees".
  14. ^ Salam, Reihan (16 November 2015). "Resettling Syrian Refugees: An Alternative" – via Slate.
  15. ^ Kingsley, Patrick (3 February 2016). "Syrian refugees in Jordan: 'If they cut the coupons, we will probably die'" – via The Guardian.
  16. ^ "Global Thinkers 2016".
  17. ^ "Young Global Leaders class of 2016".
  18. ^ Alexander Betts. "Human migration will be a defining issue of this century. How best to cope? | Alexander Betts | Opinion". The Guardian. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  19. ^ Betts, Alexander (24 September 2015). "Let Refugees Fly to Europe" – via
  20. ^ Alden, Edward (2016-02-02). "Islam and the Crisis of Liberal Values in Europe". Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  21. ^ "Amanpour, CNN International, 31 August 2015, Alexander Betts discussing the EU refugee crisis". YouTube. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  22. ^ "BBC News, 19 August 2015, Alexander Betts discusses the increasing numbers seeking asylum in Europe". YouTube. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  23. ^ "Al Jazeera's Inside Story: Professor Alexander Betts interviewed on the global refugee crisis". YouTube. 2015-08-31. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  24. ^ "Our refugee system is failing. Here's how we can fix it".
  25. ^ "Why Brexit happened -- and what to do next".
  26. ^ "Curator's Picks: Top 10 TED Talks of 2016".
  27. ^ "Winners & Runner-Ups Grand Final - EUDC Council".
  28. ^ "Athlete Profile".