Heather Alexander

Expert on Refugee Law, Statelessness and Nationality

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Heather Alexander is an expert on nationality, statelessness and refugee law. Her current work focuses on how statelessness, land management and the legacy of colonialism affect nomadic peoples. Her work highlights the relationship between settlement, state sovereignty and nationality law. She also works on climate change, statelessness and migration.

She has a JD and is completing a PhD in law at Tilburg University.

Heather has ten years of experience working with refugees and stateless people in Cote d'Ivoire, Australia, Gabon, Chad, Sri Lanka, Kosovo and the United States. She has worked for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Peter McMullin Centre on Statelessness at the University of Melbourne. She began her career as a US Peace Corps Volunteer.

Heather is a founding member of United Stateless, an advocacy network for stateless people in the United States. She is a member in good standing of the District of Columbia Bar Association. She is also proficient in French.

Academic Publications:

"The Open Sky or a Brick and Mortar School? Statelessness, Education and Nomadic Children," World's Stateless Report, 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," 26 Fl. J. of Int'l L. 531 (2014)

"Sinking Into Statelessness," 19 Tilburg U. L. Rev. 20 (2014)

"Justice for Rwanda: Toward a Universal Law of Armed Conflict," 34 Golden Gate U. L. Rev. (2004)

(Unpublished early draft of dissertation available here.)


"Refugee Advocates Are Losing the War of Ideas" Refugees Deeply (May 2017)

"Open Borders or Build a Wall? The Democratic Party’s Crisis of Vision" International Affairs Forum; International Policy Digest (March 2017)

Her Erdős Number is 6.