The Barbara Harrell-Bond Foundation

Continuing Barbara Harrell-Bond’s legacy to Refugees & Asylum Seekers

The Barbara Harrell-Bond Foundation has a simple purpose: to keep Barbara’s legacy alive by promoting her work and inspirational views and approaches on Refugee and Asylum Seeker studies, advocacy and assistance, and uniting the many people that Barbara helped throughout her life. Barbara led from the front and led by example setting a high standard for everyone to follow. Here at the Barbara Harrell-Bond Foundation we feel strongly compelled and committed to keep Barbara’s work and ethos alive. We will do so by:

  • Creating and maintaining an online archive of Barbara’s work, pictures and documents, the majority of which does not currently exist in the public domain;

  • Seeking donations and raising funds for refugee and asylum seeker initiative

  • Granting micro-donations on a case by case basis to vulnerable

Barbara accomplished many things in her decades of work and career as an esteemed academic, advocate and activist. It was through Barbara’s determination that the area of ‘refugee studies’ was founded, beginning at academic institutions, such as Oxford University, and continuing on to create and support NGOs and practical resources for lawyers and advocates. Always driving from the front and unafraid to ruffle the feathers of humanitarian organisations, Barbara combined her academic work with vigorous advocacy for refugee and asylum seeker rights.  Never one to shy from a challenge, take ‘No’ for an answer or be told that something was impossible, Barbara fought to give refugees and asylum seekers a voice and a platform and to have their rights upheld.  

The aim of the Foundation is to emulate Barbara’s actions and to operate with the spirit of Barbara at our helm. 


Donate Now

Thank you for considering making a donation to the foundation.

In order to donate, please email us and ask for bank details at:

or click here 

Your donation can help the foundation achieve what we aim to do. Your support of the foundation's mission will make a difference.

The Foundation is operated by unpaid volunteers in resulting in as close as possible to 100%* of donations to be used to supporting, directly and indirectly, individual refugees and asylum seekers. 

(*The Foundation has unavoidable essential costs and expenses such as accountancy and renewal costs)   


How to help

Honoring Barbara's Memory

If you knew Barbara, you know how kind, caring and compassionate she could be. As a Foundation, we aim to continue this compassion in the name of our friend, professor, and mentor. We're looking for volunteers with any and all skill sets.


If you're interested in volunteering, fill out the form linked below.


Latest News


You can read an article on Barbara's legacy in Mental Health and Psychosocial work here


Barbara's book 'Imposing Aid: Emergency Assistance to Refugees' is available to read online here


We were recently contacted by Olivier Rukundo - a Rwandan refugee who reached out to Barbara and wrote about his experiences with her in Forced Migration Review.

You can read about his story in depth here:

Barbara Harrell-Bond: a life not ordinary

Director: Enrico Falzetti

Written by Katarzyna Grabska and Enrico Falzetti

Produced by Katarzyna Grabska in collaboration with AMERA Int. 

Documentary, 58 min.

Through the prism of an extraordinary life, this documentary explores the achievements of Barbara Harrell-Bond - academic, refugee activist and a life-long advocate of refugee rights. 

The film takes us on a personal journey of a not-so-ordinary woman born in a remote town in South Dakota during the Great Depression, and traces her career from her initial engagement with the civil rights in the late Fifties, to her move to the UK in the mid-Sixties where she studied social anthropology at the University of Oxford in the 1960s, and then to her travels in West Africa where she carried out much of her academic research. 

Her first-hand experience of the Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria in 1980, and the humanitarian crisis in Sudan in 1982, led her to establish the first refugee studies centre in Oxford, of which she is a founding director, and numerous others around the world. A very 

strong advocate of legal aid programs for refugees in the Global South, Barbara established a number of these programs including in Uganda, Egypt, South Africa and the UK.  

Far from being only an academic, the focus of Barbara’s life-long work has been on refugee rights, and on keeping refugees at the centre of humanitarian interventions. Issues which resonate even more deeply now, in an age in which safe havens for refugees are increasingly being eroded and violations of human rights are on the rise.

Please see the following series of articles for more information about Barbara:

Guardian Obituary 

Financial Times Obituary 

Forced Migration Review Tribute 

Barbara's profile on Research Gate is also a great insight into her work, you can find it here

Film screenings: Barbara Harrell-Bond: a life not ordinary

  • 2019 - Kampala, Uganda

  • October, 2019 - University of Warsaw, Poland

  • August, 2019 – Refugee Law Summer School, Olmulec University, the Czech Republic

  • July, 2019 – Memorial of Barbara Harrell-Bond, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford, UK

  • June, 2019 - Nottingham University, UK

  • 10 April, 2019 – Urbino University, Urbino, Italy

  • March, 2019 - The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland

  • March, 2019 - Oxford Brookes Human Rights Film Festival, Oxford, the UK

  • March, 2019 - Oxford University, Margrette Hall

  • 2 December, 2018 – The American University of Cairo, Egypt

  • 31 October, 2018 – The VU University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

  • 22 October 2018 – Amman, Jordan – Prince Hassan bin Talal Foundation

  • October 2018 – Slupsk, Poland – diversity days

  • 6 September 2018 - French Research Centre, CEDEJ, Khartoum, Sudan

  • 29 August, 2018 – Humanity House, the Hague, Netherlands

  • 22 August 2018 – Duzy Pokoj, the Ethnographic Lab, Diversity Days, Warsaw, Poland

  • 20 August, 2018 – Refugee Law Summer School, Olmulec University, the Czech Republic

  • 15 August 2018 – Brazil, University of Sao Paolo

  • 24 July 2018 – University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece, the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration Conference 

  • 20 June 2018 – World Refugee Day, Queen Elisabeth House, Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford, the UK

  • 12 June 2018 – the Institute of International Studies, Erasmus University, the Hague, Netherlands 

In Loving Memory of Barbara-Harrell Bond


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Members of the Board

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Natalie Forcier

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Gail Hopkins

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Effie Voutira

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Kasia Grabska

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Giorgia Donà

Natalie Forcier

Natalie has spent the past ten years conducting research in Mozambique, South Sudan, Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Uganda and Somalia and has overseen data collection, analysis and report writing for more than 100 research projects in her career. She has conducted work for a wide range of institutions including UN agencies, donor governments, development and relief organizations and multi-national corporations. Before moving to South Sudan in 2009, she conducted an ethnographic study with South Sudanese refugee youth for the Center for Migration and Refugee Studies at the American University in Cairo from 2008-2009. 

Her accolades include a BA in International Affairs – Global Public Health from the George Washington University and an MA in International Human Rights Law from the American University in Cairo. She also holds a Graduate Diploma in Forced Migration and Refugee Studies from the American University in Cairo. Natalie met Barbara during her time at the American University in Cairo and worked closely with Barbara until her passing, on the concepts and ideas behind the Foundation.

Gail Hopkins

Gail has an extremely successful career as an independent consultant focusing on refugees and migrants particularly in protracted and self-settled situations. She has great expertise in re-integration, self-reliance and resilience at community, household and individual levels and has also consulted for UNHCR in West Africa and Europe. Barbara and Gail met several years ago, when she provided expertise on The Gambia and Guinea appeal report. They worked together on cases in  the following years together, advocating for the rights of refugees and asylum seekers. During this time, Gail witnessed Babara’s efforts working doggedly for an individual's rights, sometimes battering down the door of UNHCR, and putting her hand in her own pocket for refugees' transport/education/rent/food requests.

Effie Voutira

Eftihia (Effie) studied Philosophy at the University of Chicago, and earned two doctorates from Havard and Cambridge University. In her professional career she has undertaken extensive fieldwork in the former Soviet Union, in South and Central Africa, and in the Middle East. She has also published extensively on issues of refugee protection and humanitarian assistance. 

Effie met Barbara in 1990’s. Since then, she was recruited into the RSP team and taught as a Research Assistant at the Refugee Studies Programme, and then as an RSP Research Officer. In that capacity, Effie collaborated closely with Barbara as a co-author and in a number of key papers. Effie had been a close friend and collaborator of Barbara’s for the last 25 years. Their last common venture was the visit to Elizabeth Colson in Zambia, which reinforced common links with their problematic conception of refugees and forced migration. Barbara’s flats in Oxford and in Cairo have been Effie’s home away from home for all these years.

Katarzyna (Kasia) Grabska:

Kasia is a social anthropologist and a senior lecturer at the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University. Her research focuses include gender,displacement and access to rights for refugees in urban settings. She has researched issues in Egypt, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kyrgyzstan, and Vietnam. Since 2002, she has been carrying out a longitudinal study of gender relation transformations among Nuer from South Sudan in Egypt, Kenya, South Sudan and in Khartoum. Her most recent research focuses on adolescent refugee girls’ experiences in Sudan, and on refugees’ involvement in civic change and hosting refugees in Sudan and in Switzerland. She also has as successful career as a film-maker, and is the writer, producer and co-director of the film Barbara Harrell-Bond: a life not ordinary.

Kasia met Barbara in Cairo in 2002, when she assisted in the running of the Refugees and Forced Migration Programme at the American University in Cairo and subsequently became involved in research on the livelihoods of Sudanese asylum seekers and rejected refugees in Cairo. Inspired by Barbara’s passion for refugee rights, Kasia undertook a PhD in anthropology of development and forced migration. “Babara’s insistence of keeping refugees as the focus of humanitarian interventions and including refugees in research about their own circumstances has inspired me and informed my work and my own commitments. Making the film about her life was my way of saying thank you to her inspiration and long-life commitment to social justice.”

Giorgia Donà:

Professor Giorgia is co- director of the Centre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging at the University of East London and a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy. She has researched and published extensively in the areas of refugee studies, conflict and displacement, child protection, culture, adaptation and well-being, and recently social media and forced migration. Her latest publication is Forced Migration: Current Issues and Debates (ed, 2018 Routledge, with Alice Bloch). Giorgia is a member of the Independent Advisory Group on Country of Origin Information set up by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, and editorial board member of the International Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care and of Critical Childhood Studies.

Giorgia first met Barbara in 1990 when she participated in the Summer School at the then Refugee Studies Program (RSP) as as a young Masters student. Between 1994 and 1996, she worked for and with Barbara at the RSP before moving to Africa where she worked in humanitarian assistance until 2000. It was thanks to Barbara’s generosity and ingenious mind that a fax signed by Barbara reached Giorgia in Kigali, Rwanda, telling her to apply for a position at the University of East London (UEL) where she has been since. Giorgia and colleagues took students enrolled in the Master of Refugee Studies at UEL on field trips to Cairo when Barbara was there, and had remained in contact with Barbara professionally and personally.


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The Foundation takes seriously its responsibilities to avoid inadvertently funding terrorism.  Any information, materials, finance or other matter which we believe may possibly be linked to terrorism will be reported and passed to the police.

Registered Office: Barbara Harrell-Bond Foundation | Chantry Lodge, Pyecombe Street, Pyecombe, Brighton, BN45 7EE | Companies House Number 09893678