Irene Manganini

PhD Researcher in International Law
Spoken languages
Italian, English, French, Spanish
Areas of expertise
  • International Refugee Law
  • International migration law
  • Queer and Feminist Legal Theory
  • International Human Rights Law

PhD Thesis


Title: Queering International Migration Law

PhD Supervisor and Co-Supervisor: Vincent Chetail and Janna Wessels

Expected completion date: 2025

The aim of this research is to apply Dianne Otto's concept of "queer curiosity" to one of the most disputed branches of international law, the international migration one, in order to “reimagine radical possibilities” of changing it. Concretely, my research aims to apply queer (legal) theory to the international migration law framework, to see first if such a reading can contribute to explain many of the system’s shortcomings, such as states’ resistance to its development, overall weak accountability for harm committed against people on the move, incoherence in its application among others. If the research points in that direction, it will then try and suggest a theoretical way to change things. The research question it will try to answer is therefore: “how could a queer reading of the current international migration law framework help unveiling and explaining the reasons behind some of its systemic injustices and suggest a way for a change?”




Irene (she/they) is a PhD candidate in International Law at the Graduate Institute of Geneva, where she was awarded a full scholarship to research on the application of queer theories to the international migration law framework. Prior to that, she worked in different capacities with IOM in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Bangladesh and with UNHCR in Italy. Other relevant work experiences include having been a Legal Assistant with the NGO European Lawyers in Lesvos, an Advocacy Intern with Franciscans International in Geneva and a Volunteers' Coordinator for the intercultural organization AFS in Reykjavík. She holds a master's degree in International Law from the Graduate Institute and a bachelor's degree in International Relations from the University of Trieste. Irene considers herself a queer activist who contributes to a common aim through her research activity.


Research Interests


  • Queer and Feminist Legal Studies

  • Global South Approaches to International Law

  • Critical Political Theory

  • International Migration Law

  • International Human Rights Law

  • International Law of the Sea


Relevant Publications and Works


1. "The Refugee Status Determination of Transgender Asylum-Seekers: a Queer Critique", Global Migration Centre (GMC) Research Paper n°24 (2020)

2. "International Legal Obligations of States Concerning the Search for Missing Migrants: a Possible Way Forward", International Law Blog (2019)

3. "El derecho a un recurso efectivo; el caso de Máxima Acuña", Franciscans International & GRUFIDES (2017)


Fellowships, Grants and Awards


  • Graduate Institute Scholarship (2021 - 2023)

  • UN|DESA Italian Fellowship Programme (2020)

  • Prix Ladislas Mysyrowicz, Graduate Institute (2019)

  • European Voluntary Service Programme (2015)

  • Erasmus University Exchange Scholarship (2013 - 2014)




Global Migration Centre (IHEID)

Gender Centre (IHEID)