Ayla Bonfiglio

Principal and Founder, Conflict and Education Learning Laboratory (CELL Foundation), Netherlands

Ayla Bonfiglio is a founder and principal at the Conflict and Education Learning Laboratory (CELL), which works towards the reduction of divisive stereotypes in textbooks and seeks to create opportunities for refugees in higher education. Ayla is also a doctoral fellow at UNU-MERIT/Maastricht University exploring how refugees pursuing higher education in asylum countries make decisions about their forced displacements based on higher education. In this role, she has conducted several hundred in-depth interviews with refugees and migrants from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan who had sought asylum in Kenya, South Africa, and Uganda, and a number of interviews with a wide range of education stakeholders and practitioners. She has held visiting researcher positions at the African Centre for Migration and Society at Wits University in Johannesburg, the African Migration and Development Policy Centre in Nairobi, and Makerere University in Kampala. Formerly, Ayla was a research officer at the International Migration Institute, Oxford. She has worked and carried out research in Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, and Uganda. She has contributed to projects for GTZ, Samuel Hall, IOM, and UNESCO. Ayla holds a B.A. in political science from Columbia University where she wrote an award-winning dissertation on refugee self-reliance. Ayla obtained an M.Sc. in forced migration from the University of Oxford. Her dissertation, published by UNHCR, examined refugee non-formal education programs.

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