Arezo Malakooti is an independent researcher and a senior advisor to IOM GMDAC. She has over ten years of experience conducting social research in countries as diverse as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Rwanda, Italy, Spain, Greece, Malta, East Timor, Australia, Cambodia and a range of countries across the MENA region.

This has mainly involved primary field research across a number of topics including sub national governance, gender, rule of law, independent media, and migration. She has a particular expertise in qualitative research and has trained and managed teams of local researchers in sensitive areas of Afghanistan to conduct ethnographic studies on social behaviour, many of which she also conducted herself. In Afghanistan, she has also coordinated a number of program monitoring and evaluation (M&E) projects and large-scale assessments of the civil society and media sectors.

In her previous role as the Director of Migration Research at Altai Consulting, Arezo focused primarily on migration-related research for a range of clients including IOM, UNHCR, national governments and international NGOs and developed an expertise on the movements to North Africa and across the Mediterranean. Her research focused on topics such as irregular migration and smuggling; statelessness; the return and reintegration of migrants; asylum frameworks and the reception and protection of asylum seekers, refugees and vulnerable migrants; and the comprehensive management of mixed migration. This involved formative research, socio-economic assessments, program design and the monitoring and evaluation of existing programs. She has spent considerable time conducting interviews with migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean region, particularly in Libya. Within this role, she also trained and managed field teams across a number of countries.

Some of Arezo’s previous studies include “Mixed Migration: Libya at the Crossroads” (Altai Consulting for UNHCR Libya, 2013) and “Migration Trends Across the Mediterranean: Connecting the Dots” (Altai Consulting for IOM MENA, 2015). She also contributed to IOM’s Fatal Journeys publication in 2014 and authored the chapter on North Africa for IOM’s Global Smuggling Report in 2016.

Arezo is an Australian trained lawyer and holds a BA in economics. She speaks fluent Dari/Farsi.