Daphne Engel

Daphne Engel is a PhD candidate at the African Studies Centre. Her research connects & compares country casestudies on the history of conflict, humanitarianism & mobility in the Sahel, the Horn of Africa & the Middle East (e.g. Kenya, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Jordan). Within these countries, she specifically explores large-scale refugee camps, and unravels their development that led to new ways of existing for its residents. She focuses on the economic development-trajectory refugee camps took, whereby camps emerged as a catalyst for (economic) change in their environment via a spillover effect, causing financial, business and, more generally, livelihood opportunities. On the other hand, the expanding refugee camps have come with its own challenges for development, as they are now framed within a Western economic geography. Her research challenges this norm, and aims to offer an African perspective to solutions in refugeehood in (emerging) refugee camps and settlements. Such research is vital, since diaspora movements increasingly expand, and much (economic) development fund is put into solutions to refugeehood in the Global South.

Daphne holds a BA in History from the University of Groningen. She wrote her thesis on a Humanitarian Government (graded with distinction), and she has been hooked on the topic of humanitarianism & issues around refugee camps in the Global South ever since. After her BA she followed a semester in Development Studies at Erasmus University, and did her MA in International Relations - Political Economy at Leiden University. For her MA she dove deeper into issues around humanitarianism, writing her thesis on refugee camp economies in Africa. She followed another semester in LLM International Law - Global Governance at Tilburg University, and ended up working in the energy transition as project manager and policy officer. Next she was asked to teach courses at Leiden University on Africa, which started her current academic career. Daphne teaches courses on economics, politics and (African) history at Leiden University in the International Studies Program, and works towards her PhD with the working title: Novelties in Refugeehood: The Transformation of Refugee Camps to Development Projects. Her project is supervised by Prof. Mirjam de Bruijn (Leiden University), and Dr. Bram Jansen (Wageningen University).