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Joanne Van Selm

Migration & Refugees


Joanne is a very experienced policy researcher, writer, evaluator, editor and teacher, with particular expertise in migration and refugee policies as well as humanitarian affairs in a broad international context. 

She has a very strong background in research on migration issues, with strong experience in desk research and some fieldwork. Joanne has a strong track record in various types of publications, from short snappy pieces to full length books; policy briefs to edited volumes; working papers to journal articles; very targeted expert pieces to broad informational texts, such as for the National Geographic Atlas.


Over the past decade Joanne has worked as an Independent Consultant during family postings in Skopje, North Macedonia and Kingston, Jamaica as well as from Washington DC. While in Skopje, she served as Senior Advisor to the Director of MARRI, looking at regional migration issues in the Balkans. SheI worked on projects for the European institutions, UNHCR, UNDP and IOM as well as some national authorities and several NGOs. In several cases Joanne collaborated with a consortium of staff from Eurasylum and Ramboll Consulting.


When in Washington DC between postings Joanne has also been an adjunct professor in Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, teaching on a Graduate Programme on Humanitarian Issues. She is a member of the Migration and Development Cluster based at SALISES at the University of the West Indies – Mona, Kingston, Jamaica.

Prior to the international postings Joanne had a career path between Higher Education and the Think Tank policy worlds. She was Senior Policy Analyst at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington DC, and taught at the University of Amsterdam and the Vrij Universiteit in the Netherlands following her PhD in International Relations at the University of Kent in Canterbury, UK.


While researching her PhD thesis on refugee protection in Europe Joanne spent six months at the European Commission in the unit dealing with asylum and migration within the Secretariat General. Between her BA and MA studies she spent three years in rural Japan teaching English.

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