From Refugee Inclusion to Shifting Power: Building a Global Refugee Sector that Puts Refugees First

Refugees International, The New Humanitarian, and Asylum Access got together on the sidelines of the Global Refugee forum in Geneva for a candid conversation about refugee inclusion in policymaking. The event chronicled impact made to date and sought to inform and influence stakeholders across the spectrum – from governments and international organizations to the private sector and donors. 

Friday, December 15, 2023


For decades, forcibly displaced people have advocated for their right for self-representation. The refugee leadership movement has embarked on a transformative journey to reshape global refugee governance, challenge the roots of an exclusionary sector, elevate the voices and agency of refugees within the institutions that impact their lives, and to have a direct impact on shaping policies at the institutional, state, and global level.

To advance this mission, forcibly displaced people and allies have worked together to create various approaches and tools, including the establishment of Refugee Advisory Boards at both international and state levels, increasing funding streams for refugee-led organisations, and securing pledges at the Global Refugee Forum to enhance participatory practices.

As the movement advances, it’s essential to assess its trajectory in order to evaluate progress made, impact achieved, challenges ahead, and persistent gaps that need to be filled.

This essential conversation was both insightful and challenging and explored tensions between inclusion, true transformation of the system, and policymaking. 


  • Sana Mustafa, Asylum Access CEO (moderator) 
  • Ana Maria Diez, President of Coalición por Venezuela and Fellow at Refugees International
  • Matai Muon, South Sudanese refugee and graduate student
  • Mohammed Naeem, Deputy Director of Strategy and Partnerships at American Immigration Council, and Advisor on the U.S. Refugee Advisory Board
  • Farhad Shamo Roto, Founder of Voice of Ezidis and Fellow at Refugees International 
  • Hafsar Tameesuddin, Co-Secretary General, Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN)