Tesfalem H. Yemane


I studied Political Science at the University of Asmara, Eritrea and worked as a Graduate Assistant at the College of Arts and Social Sciences in Eritrea Institute of Technology. My roles as a Graduate Assitant involved conducting tutorial classes, teaching the course 'Introduction to Political Science and International Relations' to first year students and taking part in exam coordination.

After spending two years in Sudan as a refugee, I went to China and completed an MA in International Relations at Tsinghua University; and for my final dissertation, I attempted to examine the evolution of the principle of non-interference (as it applies in Chinese Foreign Policy) in China-Sudan relations during the North-South Civil War and the Darfur Crisis. I also hold a second MA in African Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Bradford. Taking Eritrea as a case study, my dissertation sought to provide a critique of EU's Development Aid to human rights violating states in the context of the politics of development aid, migration and security.

After completing my studies, I worked as an Education and Employment Adviser with Refugee Education, Training and Advice Service (RETAS) in Leeds and now I work as an Operations Director with Growing Points, a UK based small charity. 

Research interests

My PhD project aims to examine the link (if any) between a receiving country's soft power and destination preference of asylum seekers, refugees and other forced migrants. By transposing Joseph Nye's notion of Soft Power and Simon Anholt's concept of Nation Branding to the existing debate about asylum destinations, this project seeks to examine why, for example refugees prefer to go to a particular destination country than another. By taking the case of Eritrean forced migrants in the UK, the analysis of destination preference is farmed in the context of British Soft Power. The majority of the existing literature on destination preference of asylum seekers and/or refugees focuses on social networks, the work of human smugglers, the nature of migration policies of receiving states, employment opportunities, colonial links and concomitant cultural affinity and welfarism. 

Even though these analytical frameworks provide us with invaluable insights about destination preferences, I believe the political act of a state in projecting itself as a model to emulate and the potential of this nation branding to inspire the dreams and aspirations of asylum seekers is not fully explored. And I hope my research will pioneer further research into this area. Moreover, I have research interest in other topics and research areas such as the politics of migration, international-migration relations, development aid and migration, migrants' integration, international relations and peace studies. 


  • MA African Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Bradford, UK
  • MA International Relations, Tsinghua University, China
  • BA Political Science, University of Asmara, Eritrea