Portrait of Elizabeth Ferris

Elizabeth Ferris

Nonresident Fellow


Elizabeth Ferris, Ph.D., is a nonresident fellow with the Baker Institute Edward P. Djerejian Center for the Middle East. She is also a research professor with the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and an adjunct professor in the Georgetown Law School. She previously served as senior advisor to the UN General Assembly’s Summit for Refugees and Migrants in New York (2016) and as expert advisor to the UN’s High-Level Panel on Internal Displacement (2019-2021).

From 2006-2015, Ferris was a senior fellow and co-director of the Brookings-LSE Project on Internal Displacement where she worked to support understanding and protection of internally displaced persons. Prior to joining Brookings, she spent 20 years working in the field of humanitarian assistance, most recently in Geneva, Switzerland, at the World Council of Churches. Ferris also served as the director of the Church World Service’s Immigration and Refugee Program, research director for the Life & Peace Institute in Uppsala, Sweden, and Fulbright professor at the Universidad Autónoma de México. Her teaching experience has included positions at Lafayette College, Miami University and Pembroke State University.

Ferris has written extensively on refugee, migration and humanitarian issues, including “The Politics of Protection: The Limits of Humanitarian Action” (Brookings Institution Press, 2011) and “Consequences of Chaos: Syria’s Humanitarian Crisis and the Failure to Protect,” with Kemal Kirsici (Brookings Institution Press, 2016). Her latest book, “Refugees, Migration and Global Governance: Negotiating the Global Compacts,” with Katharine Donato, was published by Routledge in 2019. Her current research interests focus on the politics of humanitarian action, the role of civil society in protecting displaced populations and climate migration. She received her bachelor’s degree from Duke University and her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Florida.

Contact at elizabeth.ferris@georgetown.edu.