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Amali Tower          

Climate Displacement, Migration & Refugee Expert; Founder of Climate Refugees

Amali Tower is a refugee and migration expert and the Founder and Executive Director of Climate Refugees, an independent non-profit organization created to help people who have displaced across borders as a result of climate change.

Tower has extensive global experience in refugee protection, refugee resettlement, and forced migration and displacement contexts, having worked for numerous NGOs, the UN Refugee Agency, and the US Refugee Admissions Program. Years of interviewing refugees fleeing conflict afforded her the chance to hear their stories of also fleeing climate change. Through this, Climate Refugees was born. She has conducted country and regional visits, case studies, and research in climate-induced displacement contexts, including in urban and camp settings. Her research on climate, conflict, and displacement in the Lake Chad Basin in the African Sahel has been selected as evidence of loss and damage presented at COP 26 in Glasgow. Tower is a member of the World Economic Forum Expert Network in Migration, Human Rights, and Humanitarian Response.

From being asked to respond to Afghan evacuations to overseeing UNHCR operations for Syrian resettlement to the United States, Tower is frequently consulted for her expertise, including in rapid emergency, deployment, humanitarian, and high-profile contexts. She also frequently consults in areas of human rights, campaigning, advocacy, legislation, and public policy. Tower serves displaced populations as an experienced defender, and her clients as a partner and advisor.

Tower developed her work ethic, world views, and deep commitment to forcibly displaced populations through a lived experience of instability as an immigrant, migrant, and even once as an asylum-seeker. She’s born of that education, life in multiple countries, and also her time at Columbia University and UCLA. She holds a Master of International Affairs focused in Human Rights from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, a Bachelor of Arts in International Development Studies from UCLA, and an International Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance from Fordham University.

Tower has lived and worked in 18 countries throughout Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, and has helped refugee and migrant populations in the United States. She currently resides in New York City.

Speech Topics

International and Humanitarian Affairs

  • Peace & Security
  • UN Affairs

Environmental Justice

  • Environmental Racism
  • Human Rights
  • Climate Justice

Refugee Protection and Resettlement

  • Border Policy
  • Asylum
  • Human Security
  • Immigration

Climate Migration and Displacement

  • Climate Change
  • Forced Displacement


New climate threats force U.S. to reassess security, migration challenges
A climate report released by the Biden administration last month offers a stark warning about the effects climate change could have on migration and security around the world. The report said that migration caused by climate change could exacerbate existing geopolitical tensions, displace millions of people and deepen political instability in parts of the world.
Op-Ed: If Black Americans were to seek asylum, they could qualify
I have evaluated countless refugee cases. The oppression Black Americans face in the US would qualify as persecution.
Op-Ed: US border crisis is born of failed climate and migration policies
The US itself has created, and is now perpetuating, this humanitarian crisis by insisting on implementing short-sighted and ineffectual migration and environmental protection policies.
‘Disappointing’: The US’s first climate migration report falls flat
On Thursday, the National Security Council released a long-anticipated report on what environmental advocates are calling one the most pressing issues of our time: climate change-induced migration. While many organizations praised the fact that the document exists, others also pointed out how it failed to include actual policy prescriptions and pathways to move forward. “It’s really disappointing,” said Amali Tower, founder and executive director of the nonprofit advocacy group Climate Refugees. “We went from a bold call and vision to, well, nothing.”

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