Zvezda Vankova

Zvezda Vankova


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Dr Zvezda Vankova is associate professor and senior researcher at the Law Faculty of Lund University. She is the principal investigator of the project ‘Refugee protection or cherry picking? Assessing new admission policies for refugees in Europe’ (2023-2026) funded by the Swedish Research Council. Dr Vankova holds a PhD in Law from Maastricht University. The overall focus of her research aims to examine the interface of legal infrastructures pertaining to human mobility and how their enforcement influences the rights and trajectories of people on the move. More specifically, her research interests lie at the intersection of EU law, Public International Law and empirical legal studies with a focus on human rights, migration, integration and complementary pathways for refugees. She is the author of the Open Access book Circular Migration and the Rights of Migrant Workers in Central and Eastern Europe (2020), which has attracted great scholarly attention resulting in over 9000 accesses since its publication.

She is the co-founder and Steering Committee Member of the Øresund Migration Law Initiative (OMiLI) which brings together scholars of migration law and migration studies from the region to identify research synergies and share research findings. Dr Vankova is also one of the co-conveners of the working group ‘Active Refugee Admission Policies (ARAP)’ within the German Network of Forced Migration Studies (Netzwerk Fluchtforschung, NWFF) and member of the research network International Migration, Integration and Social Cohesion in Europe (IMISCOE) - Europe's largest interdisciplinary research network in the field of migration, integration and diversity studies.

Dr Zvezda Vankova teaches and supervises MA students in the field of migration law, EU law and human rights law. She currently co-supervises two PhD candidates: Ehab Alhousari at Lund University and Ruben Tans at Maastricht University.

Prior to joining academia, Dr Vankova worked at the Migration Policy Group in Brussels and Open Society Institute in Sofia. She has acted as a consultant on migrant and refugee rights matters to the European Parliament, the Council of Europe’s Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Refugees, and the UNHCR. Dr Zvezda Vankova is also one of the co-founders of the association Multi Kulti Collective, which aims to support the integration of foreigners into Bulgarian society.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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