Akiko Okudaira commenced her PhD studies at the Asia-Pacific College of Diplomacy in February 2010, under the support of the ANU Japan Alumni PhD Scholarship. Her thesis revisits the notion of ‘protection’ which lies at the heart of the international refugee regime since its inception in 1951 but one that is undergoing a critical transformation in today’s prolonged nature of human displacement. Drawing on a case from the Thai-Myanmar borderland – one of the extraordinarily protracted refugee situations (PRS) existent in the Asia-Pacific region and the world’s largest multilateral resettlement initiatives underway – it brings focus to a question: what might protection mean to refugees themselves and what consequences arise from this? In addition to the international system and the states that have played predominant roles in shaping the conventional discourse of protection over the past decades, the thesis situates the refugee population as another major actor, whose knowledge could substantially be incorporated into the conceptual horizons of this crucial term of our time.
Akiko’s experience, prior to joining the APCD, includes working as a research analyst on South East Asian affairs for the Ministry of Foreign Affair of Japan; a manager for Japan Association for UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees); and a refugee protection/resettlement intern for the UNHCR Filed Office in Mae Sot, Thailand.
She holds an MIS (Adv) in Peace and Conflict Resolution from the University of Queensland, as a Rotary World Peace Fellow, and an MA in International Communication from Aoyama Gakuin University.
Protection on Whose Terms? An Interpretive Inquiry into protracted Refugee Situations: The Case for the Thai-Myanmar Borderland