Profile picture of: Estella Carpi




Gower Street

UCL – Main Quadrangle

Institute of Risk and Disaster Reduction, South Wing, 2nd Floor

WC1E 6BT, London

Research Interests

Humanitarianism; Development; Human Displacement; Welfare; Identity Politics; Urban and Rural Sociology


Topics to speak on:

Humanitarianism; Development; Human Displacement; Syria; Lebanon; Identity Politics; Turkey

Words of Wisdom

Personality is the greatest source of happiness (Wolfgang Goethe)


Estella Carpi is a social anthropologist who loves researching places that are part of her life. She is a Lecturer and Researcher in Humanitarian Studies in the Institute of Risk and Disaster Reduction at University College London (UCL). Between 2017 and 2022, she has worked as a Research Associate in the Department of Geography (UCL) on South-South humanitarianism in the framework of an ERC-funded project (no. 715582) focusing on displacement from Syria in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan. In 2016 and 2017, she has worked as a Research Associate in the Bartlett Development Planning Unit (UCL) and Humanitarian Affairs Advisor at Save the Children-UK, working on the urban-humanitarian nexus. She received her PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Sydney (Australia), with a study on the social response to humanitarian assistance provision in Lebanon. After studying Arabic in Milan and Damascus (2002-2007), she worked as a researcher for many institutions in the Middle East region, such as the New York University (Abu Dhabi), Lebanon Support (Beirut), Trends Research & Advisory (Abu Dhabi), UN-Habitat (Beirut), the American University of Beirut, UNDP (Cairo), and the International Development Research Center (Cairo), mostly focusing on forced displacement and the identity politics of humanitarianism. She has also lectured extensively in the Social Sciences in Italy and Australia. She has published in English, Italian, Arabic, French, and Brazilian Portuguese in several international journals, such as Middle East Critique, the Journal of Refugee Studies and Third World Quarterly. She is the author of Specchi Scomodi. Etnografia delle Migrazioni Forzate nel Libano Contemporaneo, published with Mimesis in Italian. She is also a consultant in safeguarding for Portuguese and Arabic speaking NGOs. She is presently working on her second manuscript The Politics of Crisis-Making. Forced Displacement and Cultures of Assistance in Lebanon, which will be published with Indiana University Press (US). From June 2020, she has been a Global Young Academy member, presently co-leading the At-Risk Scholars Initiative.


2019 British Academy Early Career Travel Grant

2016 Georgetown University-Qatar (CIRS) Grant on “Mobility, Displacement, and Forced Migration in the Middle East”

UCL Research Culture Award 2022