Center for Forced Migration Studies (CFMS)

Galya Ben-Arieh

Galya Ben-Arieh is the founding Director of the Center for Forced Migration Studies, Buffett Institute for Global Studies and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Political Science at Northwestern University. She completed a J.D. at Northwestern University and a Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. Ben-Arieh’s  current research centers on the rights and processes of refugee protection, citizenship and inclusion, the use of information and communication technologies in refugee protection and the connection between refugee protection and post-conflict recovery. She has been awarded grants from the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council and the Kellogg Center for Dispute Resolution. She is a 2016 Senior Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research (University of Duisburg-Essen) with a focus on the question “Does the Refugee Convention Regime Contribute to Refugee Protection? Understanding ‘Success’ in the Implementation of Refugee Status Determination Systems.” She has conducted field research in Europe and East Africa and has published on testimony and justice in the DR Congo, asylum law and policy, human rights litigation in transnational courts and immigrant incorporation and integration in Europe. Her books include Adjudicating Refugee and Asylum Status: The Role of Witness, Expertise, and Testimony (co-edited with Benjamin Lawrance), Cambridge University Press (2015) and Prosecution, Persecution, Protection: Doing Justice for Sexual Violence (forthcoming). She serves on the executive committee of the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration. Aside from her academic work, she has worked as an immigration attorney representing political asylum claimants both as a solo-practitioner and as a pro-bono attorney. 


  • Adjudicating Refugee and Asylum Status: The Role of Witness, Expertise, and Testimony (co-edited with Benjamin Lawrance), Cambridge University Press (2015)

Select Publications

Journal Articles

  •  “Harnessing Community Goodwill in Refugee Resettlement,” Journal on Migration and Human Security, (Oct-Nov 2016)
  • “Testimony of Sexual Violence in the DR Congo and the Injustice of Rape: Moral Outrage, Epistemic Injustice and the Failures of Bearing Witness,” Oregon Review of International Law (Spring 2014).
  • “Pushed Beyond Recognition? The Liberality of Family Reunification Policies in the EU,” Journal of Ethnic Migration Studies (July 2011).
  • “The Cosmopolitics of Asylum Seekers in the European Union,” New Political Science, 27:3 (September 2005).
  • “Courts Across Borders: The Implications of Judicial Agency for Human Rights and Democracy,” (with David Jacobson), Human Rights Quarterly, 25:1 (February 2003).
  • Reprinted in:
“Agency on a Global Scale: Rule, Rights and the European Union,” (with David Jacobson), in Alison Brysk and Gershon Shafir, editors, Citizenship and Human Rights in an Age of Globalization (University of Rutgers Press, 2004).
  • “Agency on a Global Scale: Rule, Rights and the European Union,” (with David Jacobson) in Marco Giugni and Florence Passy, editors, Dialogues on Migration Policy (Lexington: Lanham, MD, March 2006).

Contributions to Edited Volumes

  • “Informational components of refugee status determination,” in Carleen Maitland, editor, ICTs for Refugees and Displaced Persons (MIT Press Information Policy, 2017).
  • “Is the U.S. Gaming Refugee Status for Central Americans? A Study of the Screening and Refugee Status Determination Process for Central American Women and Children Detained in Artesia, New Mexico,” in Idil Atak and James Simeon, Advancing Protection and Fostering Belonging in an Era of the Criminalization of Migration, (McGill-Queens University Press, 2017)
  • “Research and Testimony in the ‘Rape Capital of the World’: Experts and Evidence in D.R.C. Asylum Claims,” in Benjamin Lawrance and Galya Ben-Arieh Ruffer, editors, Adjudicating Refugee and Asylum Status: The Role of Witness, Expertise, and Testimony (Cambridge University Press, 2014).
  •  “Legal Forms and Democratic Citizens in Republican Theory,” in Andreas Niederberger and Philipp Schink, editors, Republican Democracy: Liberty, Law and Politics (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013)
  • Encyclopedia entry on “Citizenship,” in Mark Juergensmeyer and Helmut K. Anheier, editors, Encyclopedia of Global Studies (Sage Publications, 2012)
  • “Transformationen der Bürgerschaftlichkeit,” in Andreas Niederberger and Philipp Schink, editors, Globalisierung: Ein interdisziplinäres Handbuch (Metzler-Verlag, 2011)

 Other Publications

  • “What Ushahidi can do to track displacement,” Forced Migration Review 38 (Sept. 2011).
  • Review of Vicki Squire, The Exclusionary Politics of Asylum, in Contemporary Sociology: A Journal of Reviews, Vol. 40, no. 1 (January 6, 2011).

Courses taught

  • POLI_SCI 380/INT_ST 390 Refugee Crises and Human Rights
  • POLI_SCI 395 Critical Perspectives on Human Rights
  • POLI_SCI 332/LEGAL_ST 332 Constitutional Law I
  • POLI_SCI 3890/LEGAL_ST 390 Global Constitutionalism
  • Refugee Crises and Human Rights
  • INT_ST 398 1,2,3 International Studies Honors Seminar