Tekalign Ayalew
Tekalign Ayalew

Telephone: +46 (0)8 16 20 00
E-mail: tekalign.ayalew@socant.su.se

Dr. Tekalign Ayalew Mengiste is senior researcher in the College of Social Sciences at Addis Ababa University and affiliated researcher at the Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University. His research interests include refugee mobility, diaspora, migration industry, transnationalism, human smuggling, youth, health & wellbeing. He obtained his MA degree from Addis Ababa University PhD degree from Stockholm University. His PhD dissertation entitled “Struggle for Mobility: Risk, hope and community of knowledge in Eritrean and Ethiopian migration pathways towards Sweden” has won Högskoleföreningen’s prize award for outstanding scientific achievement in dissertation work in Stockholm University. He has fieldwork experiences in the Horn of Africa, the Sudan, Italy, Sweden and the UK. Dr. Tekalign has won grants and engaged in and managed several academic research projects during the last 11 years as lead consultant and researcher. Some of these include: “Families of missing migrants in Ethiopia: Assessing the needs of families searching for relatives lost in the Central Mediterranean and on Southern Routes,” consultancy research for Global Migration Data Analysis Centre, International Organization for Migration (IOM); “Children on the move and access to services in Ethiopia”, consultancy research for UNICEF and Ethiopian government, May-November, 2019; “understanding the migration industry in Ethiopia: Migrating out of Poverty Research Program in Africa,” funded by the DFID; “From the Horn of Africa to Sweden Smuggling, trafficking and informal networks and diaspora,” a policy oriented research report for the Swedish government migration studies delegation- Delmi; “countering violent extremism in Afar region of Ethiopia”, consultancy research Funded by USAID, and the Ministry of Federal and pastoral development affairs, august 2017- March 2018; Researcher in EU Marie Curie Initial Training Network Diasporic Construction of Home and Belonging” (CoHaB), (2012 -2015), academic research funded by the European Union and researcher in “Child resilience to adversity and trafficking in Ethiopia”, funded by OAK foundation and ESSWA


Dr. Tekalign’s current research focuses on ‘Migrant Preparatory Training and the Shaping of Circular Migration between Ethiopia and the Gulf States.’, funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet). This study deals with a critical dimension of the intensification and deepening of circular migration, namely the expansion of what we term “migrant preparatory training,” vocational education in the deployment of low-skilled documented international labour migrants from sending to receiving countries. Government-regulated training is part of an expanding migration infrastructure that prepares migrants for work abroad, while aiming to shape their aspirations and channel them into specific labour sectors in destination countries. Importantly, these training programs are becoming formalized through policy transfers from mature sending countries, most notably the Philippines, to countries such as Ethiopia, which is currently developing the most ambitious labour deployment program on the African continent. This project takes the circulation and implementation of these training programs as an empirical entry-point for understanding how the recruitment, preparation, deployment and channelling of documented low-skilled labour migration is evolving through increasingly sophisticated means. This is of great relevance for understanding the future of labour migration across world, not least to Europe. As part of this study,  he is also is exploring the impact of COVID-19 pandemic in disrupting migratory mobility between Ethiopia and the Gulf States including mass deportations form Lebanon and Saudi Arabia .

Selected publications

Peer-reviewed journal articles


  • Tekalign Ayalew Mengiste (2019) Precarious Mobility: Infrastructures of Eritrean migration through the Sudan and the Sahara Desert. African Human Mobility Review, Vol 5, No 1, April 2019: 1482-1509.
  • Tekalign Ayalew Mengise (2019). “The smuggling of migrants from the Horn of Africa through Libya: processes, practices and impacts” in (eds.) Gebriella Sanchez and Luigi Achilli, Critical Insights on Irregular Migration Facilitation: Global Perspectives, 6-11. Florence: European University Institute.
  • Tekalign Ayalew Mengise, Fekadu Adugna and Priya Deshingkar (2018) Social Embeddedness of Human Smuggling in East Africa: Brokering Ethiopian Migration to Sudan. African Human Mobility Review 4(3): 1333-1358.



Chapters in peer-reviewed books

Tekalign Ayalew (in press). “En Route to Exile: Gendered Transition Experiences of Ethiopian and Eritrean Migrants in Sudan.” In a volume edited by Sadia Hassanen and Charles Westin, Trenton: The Red Sea Press Inc.


  • Tekalign Ayalew. “Ethiopian Diasporic Community Networks and Practice of Homemaking in Sweden”. In Emma Patchett and Sarah Keenan (eds), Spatial Justice and Diaspora, pp: 144-164, Oxford: Counterpress.


  • Ayalew Gebre, Tekalign Ayalew & Helmut Kloos. “Gender Inequalities, Power Relations and HIV AIDS: Exploring the Interface in Sub Saharan Africa.” In Getenet Tadele & Helmut Kloos (eds), Vulnerabilities, Impacts, and Responses to HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.




  • Tekalign Ayalew. Risks, Resilience and Adaptations in Child Life: Success Stories of Resilient Children and Youths in Arba Minch Town of Southern Ethiopia, VDM Verlag.

Non peer-reviewed articles


  • Tekalign Ayalew. Smuggling Horn of African migrants through Libya: processes, practices and impacts. When Smuggling Goes Wrong: Empirical advances on smuggling research. UNODC Human Trafficking and Migrant Smuggling Unit, Vienna.


Research networks

Guest research visits


Conferences, workshops


  • Immigrant Transnationalism And Movement Across Closed Borders: Ethio-Eritreans Transnational Journey To Sweden. Paper presented at Transnational Migration: Disciplinary Impacts. Organized by IMISCOE Research Group, Transmig-Transnational Practices in Migration At MIM, Malmö University, Sweden, January 29-30.
  • CoHaB´s third Summer School at the University of London, SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies)
    The Summer School was hosted by Dr. Parvathi Raman and the SOAS Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies. It explored how ideas of diaspora, and migration have travelled, cross-fertilized, and re-emerged across disciplines. The program included keynote speeches by experts in the field, as well as panels on gendering diasporas, law and labour migration, poetry and creative writing in diaspora studies, inter/trans-disciplinary studies and migrant activism. Speakers, panelists and performers included: Prof. Nira Yuval-Davis (UEL), Prof. Janet Wilson (University of Northampton), Dr. Shahram Khosravi (Stockholm University), Prof. Saskia Sassen (Columbia University); Professor Avtar Brah (Birbeck University of London), and Fortune Theatre Group among others, London, UK, April 9-15.


Lectures, seminars, teaching


  • 'Making’ Movement Across Closed Borders: Ethio-Eritreans' Transnational Migration to Sweden, CEIFO seminar paper, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University, March 3.

Information about past activities can be found in the Department’s previous Annual Reports.