Dr Robtel Neajai Pailey | University of Oxford

Dr Robtel Neajai Pailey

Research Associate, Oxford Department of International Development


Dr Pailey is a Liberian academic, activist and author of the anti-corruption children’s book, Gbagba. She is currently an Ibrahim Leadership Fellow at the African Development Bank and a research associate at Oxford's Department of International Development. At Oxford, she previously served as a senior researcher on the project Migrants in Countries in Crisis which examined the migration implications of crises in six countries - Central African Republic, Ivory Coast, Lebanon, Libya, South Africa and Thailand. She will return to Oxford in 2018 as a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow in the Department of International Development. Her core areas of research expertise include migration, development, citizenship, diasporas, transnationalism, conflict, post-war recovery, governance, and the political economy of aid, trade and remittances, all with respect to Africa. 

With over a decade of combined professional experiences in Africa, Europe and North America, she has consulted across a broad range of fields while supporting universities, governments, NGOs, media institutions, and regional and multilateral agencies. She has carried out multi-sited fieldwork in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Denmark, Ghana, Liberia, Niger, Sierra Leone, Somaliland, the USA and the UK. She has expertise in qualitative research, capacity development, policy design and analysis, programme management, report and grant writing, journalism and strategic communications. 


  • Africa (generally) and West Africa (specifically)
  • Liberia
  • Corruption
  • War and conflict
  • Post-war recovery
  • Political Economy
  • Governance
  • Citizenship
  • Transnationalism
  • Migration
  • Diasporas
  • Development
  • Aid
  • Trade
  • Remittances

Media experience

Dr Pailey has provided expert commentary for radio, television, print and online media outlets around the world, including Public Radio International (PRI), The International New York Times, Newsweek, The Guardian (UK), Al Jazeera English, the Mail & Guardian (South Africa), This Is Africa, the Financial Times, the Associated Press, the BBC, Bloomberg News, USA Today, Voice of America, National Public Radio (US), ENCA Television (South Africa), Channels Television (Nigeria), Press TV, Sky News (UK) and Deutsche Welle (Germany).