Christa Charbonneau Kuntzelman

PhD Candidate, Political Science, Northwestern University
Chapter Member: Chicagoland SSN
Areas of Expertise:

Connect with Christa

About Christa

Kuntzelman's doctoral research examines variation in political knowledge of rights, responsibilities, restrictions, and governance actors and processes among urban refugees in Uganda. Kuntzelman's research overall, intersects with studies of refugees as protection and service providers, the roles of refugee-led organizations that serve their fellow displaced, and African politics. Kuntzelman has extensive experience beyond research, as an advocate to unaccompanied minors seeking asylum, as well as work for family reconnection and reunification with the Red Cross. Kuntzelman also has extensive mentorship experience to undergraduate students.


"Refugee Review: Re-Conceptualizing Refugees and Forced Migration in the 21st Century" Refugee Review (2020).

Discusses humanitarian responses to international migration—including to forced migration where individuals have no choice but to leave one country for protection in another—are often able to respond only to migrants’ immediate protection and provision needs. Mentions through their efforts to restore communication between internationally separated family members, the global Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement supplements these humanitarian efforts by responding to migrants’ emotional and psychological needs.

"Explaining Variation in Political Knowledge Among Uganda’s Urban Refugees," Northwestern University, Forthcoming 2021.

Argues that everyone needs political knowledge of their rights, restrictions, responsibilities, and of who decides and upholds these. Finds through survey and archival review, that refugees with higher political knowledge are more resilient to access available employment, educational, and other opportunities while those with lower knowledge are likelier to fall victim to exploitation, such as costly schemes that falsely promise resettlement.

"South Sudan: Solutions for Moving Beyond an “Ethnic Conflict" Eric 3, no. 1 (2013): 81-118.

Argues that even though refugees have been displaced because of politics, displaced persons—including refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and diasporic community members—can meaningfully contribute to peace building in their home countries.

"Examining Variation in Tactics & Targets of Refugee Political Behavior in Uganda," New College, Oxford, 18-19 March 2019.

Analyzes Ugandan newspapers to demonstrate variation in the tactics how refugees express their protection and provision grievances (e.g., protest, letter-writing, or illegal actions), and variation in the governmental or humanitarian actors to whom refugees make their claims. Findings support that refugees sometimes fail to obtain vital rights and protection assistance in Uganda because they lack knowledge on their rights and on who upholds their rights.

"Forging a New Path, RLOs as Partners: Lessons From the Africa Refugee Leaders Summit," (with Hakiza R.), Submission for United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ State of the World’s Forcibly Displaced, Forthcoming.

Demonstrates the value of these refugee-led efforts and argues for more systematic inclusion of refugees into global policy- and decision-making.