Allaa Barri

Allaa BarriRefugees' integration policies in the EU: A Design Thinking approach

Supervisors: Jenny Phillimore & Laurence Lessard-Phillips 

Twitter: @AllaaBarri


In 2018, Allaa was awarded ESRC (1+3) studentship to do her PhD in Social policy at University of Birmingham. A year after she joined the Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS) at University of Birmingham as a Research Associate/ Co-investigator working on the Early Action Charter Programme, which is an evaluation commissioned by Refugee Action of an early intervention approach adopted in partnership with seven refugee support organisations across England aimed at capacity-building and embedding early action approaches in the sector.

Before that she worked as the MENA Programme Manager for three years at Chatham House (The Royal Institute of International Affairs). She also has been working with refugees since 2011, at the beginning of the Syrian crisis. During her five years’ experience in the humanitarian field, she has worked with different local and international NGOs including the United Nations, Danish Refugee Council, and Minority Rights Group International.

Allaa was also awarded Chevening Scholarship in 2013, and graduated University College London (UCL) with an MSc in Development Administration and Planning. She also holds a BSc in Economics and Business Administration from Damascus University.

Research Overview

Previous studies have examined integration policies, but they have not done so from the perspectives of refugees and host communities. And little has been done to involve these end-users directly in co-designing policies; this research will fill this gap, introducing a new approach to examining integration policies for refugees in the EU through a design thinking approach. It aims to create a deeper understanding of refugee integration systems in Europe at both Member State- and EU-level. The objective is to develop practical policy ideas and recommendations that will support the development of a coordinated and holistic policy for sustainable integration for refugees in Europe. These policies are likely to differ for different countries at a national level; however, the research will also cover the role of the European Union with regard to the principles of integration adopted at EU-level which is used as a guidance tool for Member States in shaping their integration policies.

Research interests

  • Refugees studies (integration, repatriation, and protection)
  • Migration studies
  • Humanitarian provision
  • Social policy


  • Barri, Allaa, “Coming home to Syria?” Chatham House, World Today Article, October 2018. Link:
  • Barri, Allaa, “Calls to Begin Returning Refugees to Syria Must Be Resisted" Chatham House, Expert Comment, May 2018. Link:
  • Barri, Allaa. 2018. “Demystifying the Syrian Conflict: Regime Area Dynamics – Panel Summary” Chatham House, Syria from Within, April 2018. Link:
  • Barri, Allaa. 2018. “Demystifying the Syrian Conflict: Civil Society and Communities – Panel Summary” Chatham House, Syria from Within, April 2018. Link:
  • Barri, Allaa. 2015. “Education for Children in Armed Conflicts: The Case of Syria” Catalytic Action, April 2015.