Jose Riera-Cezanne

 Professor José Riera-Cézanne is Adjunct Professor in the Department of International Law at UPEACE as well as an international consultant (United Nations and non-governmental organizations). He joined UPEACE in 2017 following 32 years of distinguished service with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), most recently as Special Adviser to the Assistant UN High Commissioner for Refugees (Protection), Mr. Volker Türk.

Professor Riera-Cézanne is a seasoned expert in multilateral consultations and negotiations relating to refugees and other populations who are of concern to UNHCR and to the United Nations, as well humanitarian issues more broadly. He brings to UPAZ his in-depth knowledge of international refugee law and protection issues; international humanitarian law and norms relating to the protection of the world’s growing number of internally displaced persons; international law relating to statelessness and nationality; human rights law; international migration and efforts to improve global governance of international migration and refugee flows; international migration and human rights; comprehensive refugee response frameworks as called for in the United Nations General Assembly’s New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants of 2016; climate change and its ramifications for migration, displacement and planned relocation of affected populations; humanitarian accountability; evaluations of humanitarian assistance; fund raising from Governments, Foundations and others; and the UN’s cooperation with faith-based actors in development and humanitarian interventions.

Professor Riera-Cézanne holds degrees from Yale College (BA cum laude, SY ’77), Columbia Law School (JD ’81), the Parker School of Foreign and International Law (Certificate in Foreign and International Law ‘81). He has also worked towards a doctorate from the Graduate Institute in Geneva, Switzerland, and studied at The Hague Academy of International Law (Private international law and Public international law). His principal area of academic research is documenting the impacts of climate change on human mobility and identifying effective adaptation strategies and State policies to promote them. He has lectured in a number of universities over the years, including the NATO School, (Germany) the University of Washington (USA) and the University of Groningen (Neth.).


Lectures and presentations

  • Contribution to the United Nations Global Compact on Refugees: Lessons from the 1989 International Conference on Refugees in Central America (CIREFCA), UNHCR-organized meeting on “Towards a global compact on refugees”, Thematic discussion 1 on Past and current burden- and responsibility-sharing arrangements, Palais des Nations, Geneva, 10 July 2017
  • Recent Developments in International Governance of International Migration and Refugee Flows: The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, Lecture at the University of Washington, Faculty of Geography and Migration, 27 February 2017 (Unpublished – available upon request)
  • The UN’s Cooperation with Faith-based Actors: Recent Developments, Lecture at the University of Washington, Faculty of Geography and Migration, 27 February 2017 (Unpublished – available upon request)}
  • Unsafe Mixed Migration by Sea, 95th Session of IMO Maritime Safety Commission, June 2015,
  • Challenges relating to climate change induced displacement, Conference on Millions of People without Protection: Climate Change Induced Displacement in Developing Countries, Berlin, 29 January 2013,



  • Evaluation of UNHCR’s Returnee Reintegration Programme in Angola, with Jess Crisp and Raquel Freitas, PDES/2008/04, August 2008,
  • Surviving in the City: A Review of UNHCR’s Operation for Iraqi Refugees in Urban Areas of Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, with Jeff Crisp, Jane Janz and Shahira Samy, PDES/2009/03, July 2009,




Policy Documents