Teuntje Savannah Vosters

Teuntje Savannah Vosters


PhD student, Leiden University

In my PhD project, which started in January this year, I analyse the history of NGOs and their influence over time. The research question of my project is: to what extend and in what circumstances were NGOs successful in influencing European refugee policy between since 1900? The project builds on my master thesis for which I looked at the largest refugee advocacy organisation in the Netherlands; VluchtelingenWerk Nederland (The Dutch Council for Refugees) and the influence it had on policy. My research showed that VluchtelingenWerk Nederland had an impact on refugee policy. Occasionally, they found or created an opening to advocate their claims successfully. Finding a ‘window of opportunity’ was a strategy in the interaction between officials and NGOs. In my PhD project I will enlarge the scope and look at different NGOs in Europe during five key moments in the twentieth century. The outcomes of my PhD project will be relevant to current academic debates about policy change and the role of NGOs and civil society in a comparative and long-term historical perspective.

I studied European Studies at the University of Amsterdam and did the Migration and Global Interdependence History Masters In Leiden. During my BA and MA, much of my focus centered on refugee-related issues. Previously I worked for an international research and advocacy institute called Transnational Institute and I was an intern at the International Rescue Committee in Oakland.