Dr. Mais Masadeh

Dr. Mais Masadeh

Associated Member

    A DAAD Research Fellow and a Fulbright Scholar, Mais has held positions at Wellesley College, and the UN-International Organization for Migration (IOM) among others. In the past decade, Mais has worked with humanitarian organisations and research institutes in North America, Jordan, Iraq, Kurdistan Region of Iraq, and Germany focusing on forced migration, irregular migration and integration in post-conflict settings.

    Her area of expertise includes human trafficking and migrant smuggling, protracted displacement, and resilience of ethno-religious minority groups in post conflict. The distinctiveness of Mais’ strategies is that she incorporates art and culture into education on forced migration topics. Currently, she is a research associate at the Institut für Friedenssicherungsrecht und Humanitäres Völkerrecht (IFHV) in Germany. Her work has appeared in numerous general and academic publications such as the Journal of Refugee Studies, Berliner Wissenschafts-verlag, and the Reiss Center of New York University School of Law.


    Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict (IFHV) Ruhr University Bochum (RUB) Bochumer Fenster, 4th floor Massenbergstraße 9 B 44787 Bochum Germany



    Research Interests

    Resilience and innovation of ethno-religious minority groups in post-conflict,  human trafficking and migrant smuggling,  protracted displacement, and humanitarian action and ethics.

    Research Focus

    Forced migration, human trafficking and migrant smuggling, arrival and resilience in post conflict

    PhD Dissertation: Yazidi survivors of ISIS: Strategies, dispositions and resources of social resilience from organized violence to migration in Germany (Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Ludger Pries).


    Since 2017

    PhD Candidate, Faculty of Social Sciences, Ruhr University Bochum (RUB), Germany

    2009 - 2011

    M.A. in International Relations and Comparative Politics. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA; California State University of Chico, CA, U.S.A

    Thesis: Terrorism and Islam: Distortion of Islamic Concepts to Justify Violent Attacks.

    2008 - 2009

    M.A. classes in Human Security; Warlords, Terrorists and Militias, MIT, U.S.A

    2008 - 2009

    B.A. classes in American Studies(major); French (minor), Wellesley College, U.S.A


    B.A. English Literature, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Jordan

    Work Experience and other Activities

    Since 12/2018

    Lecturer, the European Inter-university Center for Human Rights and Democratization, Venice, Italy


    Research Consultant on child labor in Baghdad, a project funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency

    Since 11/2016

    Research Associate at Institut für Friedenssicherungsrecht und Humanitäres Völkerrecht (IFHV), Ruhr University Bochum, Germany

    05/2015 - 07/2016

    Project Manager on Combating Trafficking in Persons, Heartland Alliance International, Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Funded by the U.S. Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP). Program grant: $1,6 Million

    10/2013 - 05/2015

    Capacity Building Program Officer, UN-International Organization for Migration (IOM), Republic of Iraq. Funded by the EU. Program grant: € 4,01 Million. 

    06/2012 - 10/2013

    Project Assistant, Combating Trafficking in Persons, UN-IOM Jordan (2012); short term in Tanzania (2013)

    09/2011 - 06/2012

    Program Coordinator, Jordan Institute of Diplomacy, Jordan

    Summer 2011

    Intern – Scholar Rescue Fund at the Institute for International Education (SRF-IEE), Washington D.C. 

    11/2010 - 05/2011

    Researcher, Research Foundation of California State University, C.A.

    09/2008 - 08/2009

    Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA-Fulbright), Dept. of Middle Eastern Studies, Wellesley College, M.A.

    Grants and Awards


    Wilhelm und Günter Esser Stiftung, completion-of-research grant


    Awarded first place in an international art competition to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, Leiden University, Netherlands. The artwork showed how the Conventions mitigate the effects of armed conflict and limit the suffering of those affected by it: http://kalshovengieskesforum.com/art-competition/


    Research fellowship, European Union Studies Graduate Center, City University New York (CUNY), N.Y. 


    Conference grant by the University of Strasbourg, France

    08/2018 - 09/2018

    The Right Livelihood Junior Scientist Fellowship at the Zentrum für Entwicklungsforschung, Right Livelihood College (RLC) at University of Bonn


    Researching on human security and modern-day slavery, The Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard Kennedy School, M.A.

    09/2016 - 2021

    Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) Award for Doctoral Research, Study grant: € 74,8 Thousand.

    Since 2014

    Appointed member to the “National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking,” Jordan Women Union and Government of Jordan

    05/2010 - 06/2010

    Young Leaders Visiting Program on Social Leadership, Swedish Institute, Stockholm, Sweden

    09/2008 - 08/2009

    Fulbright Award, Wellesley College and MIT, M.A. U.S.A.

    Most recent Publications

    Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals


    Masadeh M. “Resilience at times of Coronavirus Pandemic: A comparison case between Syrian refugees residing in camps and urban areas living in Jordan,” under review


    Masadeh M. and Pries L., “Similar History, Different Strategies of ‘Arrival’: Female Yazidi Survivors of the Islamic State in Germany,” Journal of Refugee Studies. Oxford University Press, available at https://doi.org/10.1093/jrs/feaa134


    Masadeh M. “IS-affiliated Children: A Ticking Pendulum Between Criminalization and Victimhood/ IS-verbundene Kinder: Ein tickendes Pendel zwischen Kriminalisierung und Opferschaft.” Humanitäres Völkerrecht: Journal of the International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict. Berliner Wissenschafts-verlag. 3(3-4): 223–235, available at: http://doi.org/10.35998/huv-2020-0012

    Online Publications


    Masadeh, M. “Resilience in Pandemic Alteration”. The Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst Alumniportal Deutschland, Coronvirus Focus Topics, Forthcoming in September


    Masadeh, M. “Germany’s commitment to international justice – On the groundbreaking first trial addressing genocide against Yazidis”. Der Völkerrechtsblog, June 2020, available at: doi:10.17176/20200623-123834-0


    Masadeh, M, “A Lost Phone Brings a Female ISIS Returnee to Trial for Crimes Against Humanity”.  Just Security, Reiss Center of New York University School of Law, May, available at: https://www.justsecurity.org/70280/a-lost-phone-brings-a-female-isis-returnee-to-trial-for-crimes-against-humanity/

    International Conference Presentations


    Life in a limbo: a protracted displacement or disruptive arrival for Yazidi survivors. In the Protracted Displacement Conference: Hopes, Perspectives and Solutions. Amman, Jordan. 


    ISIS wives and children: between returning home, stranded in Syria or future refugees. In the Forum of Global Refugee Protection in the age of Securitization. Institute of Development Research and Development Policy, Bochum.


    Resilience in Post migration: Case study of an ethno-religious group from Iraq settling in Germany. In the Politics, Identities, and Relationships in the Transatlantic World. Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies, City University of New York, NY. U.S.A. 


    Migration of Female Yazidi Survivors of the Islamic State to Germany. In the conference of Belongings and Borders: Biographies, Mobilities, and the Politics of Migration. European Sociology Association Conference. University of Strasbourg, France. 


    Coping beyond the Camp(s): Examining the lives of survivors enslaved by the Islamic State. In Mobilization for Change: Promoting and Defending Justice for Marginalized People. Right Livelihood College – University of Bonn, Germany.


    Documenting Narration of Refugees in Forced Migration Contexts. In Narrative Research and Biographical Methods. Aarhus University, Denmark.

    Teaching Seminars


    The application of the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees by Brazil to protect Venezuelans forced migrants, at the European Inter-University Center for Human Rights and Democratization, Venice, Italy.


    Introduction to Humanitarian Aid: Women Peace and Security, RUB.


    Refugee Law and the Protection of Women, at the European Inter-University Center for Human Rights and Democratization, Venice, Italy. 


    Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling, at the European Inter-University Center for Human Rights and Democratization, Venice, Italy. 


    Gender, Peace and Security in Humanitarian Action, RUB.


    Gender, Peace and Security in Humanitarian Action, RUB.


    Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons and Humanitarian Action, Summer School, IFHV.


    Project Management: how to design and manage projects in humanitarian aid, NOHA, IFHV. 



    Wiener Zeitung, "Gib mir deine Niere/ Give me your kidney- on trafficking in Iraq", https://www.wienerzeitung.at/nachrichten/chronik/welt/820213-Gib-mir-deine-Niere.html


    Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker, Podcast, "Der Völkermord an den Yeziden"


    Global Detention Project, “Immigration Detention in Jordan,” https://www.refworld.org/pdfid/556738404.pdf 2015

    Language Skills

    Arabic (mother tongue)

    English (fluent)

    French (intermediate)

    German (intermediate)

    Social Engagement

    Launching The JourneyDie Reise – a series of paintings at the main library of Ruhr University Bochum as part of the main exhibition Tagebuch  (January-March, 2020). Die Reise aimed to raise awareness on the difficulties and uncertainties of forced migration routes which émigré take while fleeing conflict, in transit and at destination. Photographs from the exhibition