Linda Bartolomei is a Senior Lecturer and the a co-convener of Forced Migration Research Network (formerly the Centre for Refugee Research) in the School of Social Sciences, UNSW Arts, Design and Architecture. She lectures in Social and Community Development and Refugee Studies in both the Master of Development Studies and the Bachelor of Social Work (HONS).
Since 2001, Linda has been involved in a series of action-based research projects exploring the challenges associated with identifying and responding to refugee women and girls at risk in Kenya, Ethiopia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka and Australia. The results have had significant impact on research and policy and were instrumental in the introduction of the UNHCR’s Conclusion on the Protection of Women and Girls at Risk in 2006 and the implementation of the Heightened Risk Identification Tool.
Linda has contributed to several missions on behalf of UNHCR Geneva to support the implementation of the Conclusion and further development of the Tool and regularly presents research reports at UNHCR Geneva. One of the most significant international refugee and community development projects Linda undertook was the “Survivors, Protectors, Providers” Project as part of the 60th Anniversary of the UNHCR Refugee Convention. With Professor Eileen Pittaway, she was selected for the project by The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The project included a series of Dialogues with refugee and IDP women and girls, men and boys, from refugee groups from India, Colombia, Jordan, Uganda, Zambia, Thailand, Finland and Australia. Linda previously led a practice based research project in New Delhi India which is modelling refugee led community development and social support. The project, funded by the DIBP Displaced Persons Program, is being implemented in direct partnership with refugee communities from Afghanistan and Somalia with the support of UNHCR and BOSCO Delhi. The Refugee Community Development Project (RCDP) was an innovative refugee community led project based in New Delhi, India. It was developed by the the Centre for Refugee Research) in partnership with the Afghan and Somali Refugee communities and UNHCR in New Delhi. The project incorporated education, livelihoods, and women’s safety and social support initiatives. It has received multi-year funding ( 2012 – 2106) from the Department of immigration’s Displaced Persons Program (DPP) and was jointly managed by CRR and BOSCO Delhi. Over the last year she has worked with UNHCR Geneva and a team of women from refugee backgrounds to advocate for and monitor the inclusion of refugee women and girls’ protection needs and rights in the new Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). She is currently leading a multi-year project in five countries in the Asia- Pacific with colleague Adjunct Professor Eileen Pittaway to support the implementation and monitoring of the commitments to refugee women and girls in the GCR. The project is funded by Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
Postgraduate Research Supervision
Areas of Supervision
Refugees, refugee women and sexual violence, refugee women at risk, gender and community development, ethics of research with refugee communities,
Linda teaches into the Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Development Studies programs.
Undergraduate BSW Program
SOCW2006 Community work
SOCW4003 Social Development
Postgraduate Master Development Studies
SOCW7857 Refugees & Forced Migration
Affiliation and Memberships
- Co-convener Forced Migration Research Network
- Member, Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network
- Member, Australian Refugee Rights Alliance
Linda’s advocacy, human rights and development related research and activities include:
- Since 2000 she has regularly participated in United Nations meetings of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva and The Commission for the Status of Women in New York. In 2011 she was appointed as the official rapportuer for the UNHCR NGO Consultations held in Geneva in June.
- With Eileen Pittaway she has co-convened three major international refugee conferences in 2001, 2005 and 2011.
- She took an active role in the five and ten year reviews of the Beijing Platform for action attending the meetings in New York and presenting research findings related to the impacts and incidence of rape and sexual violence on refugee and conflict affected women.
- She participated in the 2000 Prepcom for the International Criminal Court in New York.
- Outcomes of her work with Eileen Pittaway for the project ‘Women at Risk in camps’ in Kenya and on the Thai Burma Border have been the generation of New International Law on the Protection of refugee women and girls, situational analysis and risk assessment tools. This includes the identification of compounded risk factors, and protection responses for women who have experienced multiple incidences of sexual and domestic violence in refugee situation, and who are in danger of further abuse. They were called to use these tools in Sri Lanka, following the 2004 tsunami, when a high incidence of rape and sexual violence occurred in IDP camps and temporary shelters.
- Based on this experience, working with supportive governments in New York at the CSW meeting, they were able to draft and introduce a resolution addressing gender issues in the tsunami, ECOSOC Resolution number E/CN.6/2005/L.6 March 2005. It was adopted by consensus by all government.
- In 2003, 2004 and 2005 human rights documentation training, advocacy training and technical assistance was provided to the Women’s League of Burma and the Karen Women’s Organisation. This has assisted them to produce three books, Shattering Silences, Systems of Impunity, State of Terror and a number of published advocacy documents