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Heather Alexander

IDRC Research Chairs Network Coordinator

Degrees:Ph.D. (Tilburg), J.D. (Golden Gate University)

Heather Alexander is an expert on refugee law, forced displacement, and statelessness. Her academic work focuses on statelessness among nomadic and mobile peoples, legal identity, refugee law and climate change. She has a PhD from Tilburg University in the Netherlands, a JD from Golden Gate University School of Law, and a BA from Boston University in the United States. She was an Associate Protection Officer for UNHCR in Chad and Sri Lanka. She has served as a consultant for UNHCR, the US State Department, the University of Melbourne and the GlobalCit project at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies. She is also a former US Peace Corps volunteer in Gabon and a co-founder of United Stateless, an advocacy group for stateless people in the USA.


The United Nations and Robot Rights, Comment, Canadian Journal of Law and Technology, 20 Can. J. L. & Tech. 257 (2023).

The Ethics of Quantifying Statelessness, in ‘Statelessness, Governance, and the Problem of Citizenship’ (T. Bloom and L. N. Kingston, eds, Manchester UP, 2021).

Nomads and the Struggle for a Legal Identity, 2 Statelessness and Citizenship Rev. 338 (2020).

Report on Citizenship Law: Mali, Global Citizenship Observatory (GLOBALCIT), Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, European University Institute (2020).

The U.S. Supreme Court in ‘Sessions v. Morales-Santana’: Preventing Statelessness for Children Born Abroad, 1(2) Statelessness and Citizenship Review 330 (2019).

Refugee Advocates are Losing the War of Ideas, Refugees Deeply (12 May 2017).

The Open Sky or a Brick and Mortar School? Statelessness, Education and Nomadic Children, The World’s Stateless: Children, Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion (2017).

No Port, No Passport: Why Submerged States Can Have No Nationals, Wash. Int’l L.J. 26.2 (2017).

Unable to Return in the 1951 Refugee Convention: Stateless Refugees and Climate Change, Florida Journal of International Law 26 Fla. J. Int’l L. 531 (2014).

Sinking into Statelessness, Tilburg Law Review Vol. 19, Statelessness Special Issue (2014).

Justice for Rwanda: Toward a Universal Law of Armed Conflict, 44 Golden Gate U.L. Rev. 427 (2004).