Dr Paul O'Keeffe

International Development


Education House
(01) 474 7368


Dr. Paul O'Keeffe is an Assistant Professor/Lecturer of International Development at the Maynooth University. His work is interdisciplinary, with a focus on conflict, migration, development and enabling education in emergencies. He completed his PhD research at La Sapienza University in Rome where he researched the burgeoning higher education system in Ethiopia and its role in the country's development trajectory. Following on from this, he worked at the University of Geneva as a post doc and a senior academic developing and managing its higher education in emergencies programme. He has extensive experience of working with refugees in Switzerland, Kenya, Jordan and Thailand, and leading educational development projects in Africa, Asia and Europe. He advises on various refugee-led projects and initiatives and contributes to the international media coverage of refugee, education and development issues.

Research Interests

I specialize in conflict, education in emergencies, migration, refugee studies and development. My work is interdisciplinary with a focus on improving access for refugees and other vulnerable groups, creating inclusive higher education spaces and researching and driving pedagogical innovation. I work with Vijana Twaweza Youth Club in Kakuma refugee camp and advise refugees on creating their own empowerment projects.

Book Chapter

Year Publication
2023 Paul O'Keeffe (2023) 'Higher Education in Refugee Camps via Collaborative Blended Learning: The Impact and Benefits for Refugees and Their Student Tutors' In: Teaching Refugees: What Every Educator Should Know. New York : Springer. [Link]
2023 Paul O'Keeffe and Djemila Carron (2023) 'Education Can’t Wait for LGBTIQ Refugees? Exploring Inclusion and Access to Higher Education in Kakuma Refugee Camp' In: Migration, Displacement, and Higher Education - Now What?. Switzerland : Palgrave MacMillan. [Link] https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-12350-4_6 [Full-Text]
2020 O'Keeffe, P. (2020) 'Flexible and Adaptive Responsiveness – Disruptive Lessons for Higher Education in Refugee Contexts' In: The Impact of COVID-19 on the International Education System. London : Diamond Scientific Publishing. [Link]
2018 ● Aristorenas, Abu-Amsha, and O’Keeffe (2018) 'Jamiya Project 2016: Reconnecting Refugee Higher Education Networks' In: Strategies, Policies and Directions for Refugee Education (Innovations in Higher Education Teaching and Learning). United States : Emerald Publishing Limited. [Link]

Edited Book

Year Publication
2018 Academic Solutions for the Syria Crisis (Ed.). (2018) Academic Solutions for the Syria Crisis. Rome: NRV, [Link]
2016 O'Keeffe, P. and Pasztor, Z (Ed.). (2016) Researchers in Exile. Rome: New Research Voices, [Link]
2016 O'Keeffe, P. and Pasztor, Z (Ed.). (2016) Syrian Academics in Exile. Newresearchvoices.org April 2016. Rome: NRV, [Link]

Peer Reviewed Journal

Year Publication
2022 O'Keeffe, P. and Lovey, T. (2022) 'Meaningful Higher Education in Kakuma Refugee Camp – A Case Study of Why Context and Contextualization Matter'. Prospects, . [Link] [Full-Text]
2021 Lovey, T., O’Keeffe, P. and Petignat, I. (2021) 'Basic Medical Training for Refugees via Collaborative Blended Learning: a Quasi-Experimental Design'. Journal of Medical Internet Research, . [Link]
2020 O'Keeffe, P. (2020) 'The Case for Engaging Online Tutors for Supporting Learners in Higher Education in Refugee Contexts'. ALT-J: Research in Learning Technology, 28 . [Link]
2017 O'Keeffe, P. (2017) 'The Challenges and Societal Consequences of Increased Female Participation at Ethiopian Public Universities'. International Journal of Educational Development, 53 . [Link]
2016 O'Keeffe, P. (2016) 'The Role of Ethiopia's Public Universities in Achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals'. International Review of Education, 62 (6). [Link]

Other Journal

Year Publication
2022 O’Keeffe, P. and Luundo, D.M. (2022) (2022) 'Fishing in the Desert: Empowering Sustainable Development with Higher Education in Kakuma Refugee Camp' Journal on Education in Emergencies, 8 (1) . [Link]
2021 O'Keeffe, P. and Niyonkuru, S. (2021) 'Resilience and Empowerment through Higher Education in Kakuma Refugee Camp: A Conversation' Global Research in Higher Education, . [Link]
2020 Bolon, I., Mason, J., O’Keeffe, P. et al. (2020) 'One Health Education in Kakuma Refugee Camp (Kenya): From a MOOC to Projects on Real World Challenges' One Health, . [Link]

Conference Publication

Year Publication
2022 O'Keeffe, P. et al. (2022) MIT Refugee React Migration Summit Fishing in the Desert: The Story of Vijana Twaweza [Link]
2021 O'Keeffe, P. (2021) Edulearn21: Connecting Technology with Education Refugee-led Management in Higher Education in Refugee Contexts: Learning from Experience in Kakuma Refugee Camp [Link]

Conference Contribution

Year Publication
2023 Paul O'Keeffe (2023) Comparative and International Education Society Educating in emergency contexts: Schooling, curriculum, and innovation Washington, .
2019 O'Keeffe, P. (2019) Education in Emergencies Data Summit NORRAG 2019 Geneva, .
2019 O'Keeffe, P. (2019) OER 2019 Enabling Equity and Inclusion for Refugees and Asylum Seekers Through Open Education 2019 NUI Galway, .
2019 O'Keeffe, P. (2019) NETHOPE 2019 Building Resilient Higher Education Spaces for Displaced Populations Geneva, .

Published Report

Year Publication
2021 O'Keeffe, P. et al. (2021) InZone Kakuma and Kalobeyei Higher Education Needs Assessment. INEE, . [Link]


Year Publication
2020 O'Keeffe, P. (2020) Refugee Students Lead Resistance to Virus in their Camp. ED [Link]
2020 O'Keeffe, P. and Carron, D. (2020) Refugees in Camps Need Agency to Fight the Pandemic. ED [Link]
2020 O'Keeffe, P. (2020) Refugee students battle to access education due to COVID-19. ED [Link]
2020 O’Keeffe, P. and Carron, D. (2020) Potemkin Villages and Refugee Camps during the Coronavirus Crisis. ED [Link]
2020 O’Keeffe, P. and Akkari, A. (2020) University Education for Refugees Must Meet Refugees’ Needs. ED [Link]
2016 O'Keeffe, P. (2016) Empowering Syrian Refugees with Higher Education. ED [Link]

Newspaper Articles

Year Publication
2014 O'Keeffe, P. (2014) Ethiopia Crackdown on Student Protests Taints Higher Education Success. NEWSA [Link]

Video recording / TV

Year Publication
2015 O'Keeffe, P. (2015) ESAT Special Interview on Higher Education in Ethiopia and Oromo Students Movement with Paul O'Keeffe. VID [Link]


Year Publication
2020 O'Keeffe et al. (2020) Pasha: Higher Education in Refugee Camps Podcast. PODCAST [Link]


Year Publication
2022 O'Keeffe, P. (2022) Facilitating Inclusive Education in Refugee Camps. WEBN [Link]
2021 O'Keeffe, P. (2021) How to Become an Online Tutor for Refugees. WEBN [Link]
2021 O'Keeffe, P. et al (2021) Queering Integration in Higher Education. Switzerland: WEBN [Link]
Certain data included herein are derived from the © Web of Science (2023) of Clarivate. All rights reserved.

Honors and Awards

Date Title Awarding Body
01/01/2016 PhD Con Lotte La Sapienza University of Rome

Teaching Interests

KD154  - Understanding development: States, Civil Society and Transnational Actors (Semester 2)
KD 211 - Migration and Development (Semester 2) 
KD 616 -  Human Rights and Advocacy (Semester 2)

KD353 - Development & Conflict (2022-23:Semester 1)
KD618 - Conflict, Development and Security (2022-23:Year-long)

Consultation Hours
Tuesdays 2pm - 4pm
Thursdays 10.00am - 1 pm
Please mail Paul.OKeeffe@mu.ie to make an appointment