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Refugee protection expert Dr David James Cantor appointed to UNCHR

Dr Cantor, one of the programme directors for the MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies, has joined forces with UNHCR Americas.

Written by Keith McDonald |

Dr David James Cantor
Translating research into policy: Dr David James Cantor.

I am very excited at this new opportunity to translate the insights gleaned from working as an academic into assisting UNHCR to develop its policy.

Dr David James Cantor, Director of the Refugee Law Initiative, has been appointed senior advisor to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

He began working part-time with the UNHCR Americas in November, following a three-year research project on refugee protection in Latin America that was informing UNHCR's policy in this region.

Dr Cantor said he was delighted by the appointment and that he will continue to translate his research into policy for the benefit of refugees.

"New waves of displacement include people fleeing from organised criminal violence in Central American countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, as well as the cross-border movement of people caused by natural disasters such as floods, tropical storms and earthquakes", he explained.

"I am very excited at this new opportunity to translate the insights gleaned from working as an academic into assisting UNHCR to develop its policy and strategy for the protection of refugees and displaced persons in this fast-moving regional context."

Cantor to continue with distance learning MA

Dr Cantor will maintain his position as reader at the School of Advanced Study on a part-time basis.

He will also continue to oversee the MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies, the only programme of its type offered by distance learning.

The course, which launched in 2014, provides a rigorous understanding of the field of international refugee law and forced migration – which proves useful to those already in this line of work.

Ann Kamunya, a scholarship holder on the programme, currently works at the UNHCR in Kenya as a Refugee Status Determination case worker.

She said the degree has made a significant impact on her career.

"It has made my work even more interesting as I see and experience practically what I am learning theoretically", she said.

"I have come to learn of other countries who have gone through the same challenges as Kenya and how they handled the situation.

"This is one of the examples of current issues that I enjoy discussing and learning that affects my everyday work."

Video: Refugee Protection an overview
Watch an overview of the MA in Refugee Protection and Forced Migration Studies programme.