Alexander is Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs, William Golding Senior Fellow in Politics at Brasenose College, and Associate Head (Graduate and Research Training) of the Social Sciences Division, at the University of Oxford. He served as Director of the Refugee Studies Centre between 2014 and 2017. His research focuses on the political economy of refugee assistance, with a regional focus on Africa.
His authored and co-authored books include 'Protection by Persuasion: International Cooperation in the Refugee Regime' (Cornell University Press, 2009), 'Survival Migration: Failed Governance and the Crisis of Displacement' (Cornell University Press, 2013), 'Mobilising the Diaspora: How Refugees Challenge Authoritarianism' (Cambridge University Press, 2016), 'Refugee Economies: Forced Displacement and Development' (Oxford University Press, 2016), and 'Refuge: Transforming a Broken Refugee System' (Penguin Allen Lane), which was named by the Economist as one of the 'Best Books of 2017'. His articles have been published by, among others, Global Governance, Foreign Affairs, Perspectives on Politics, Ethics and International Affairs, and Journal of Refugee Studies.
He is a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, was named by Foreign Policy magazine in the top 100 global thinkers of 2016, and by Thinkers50 as an emerging business influencer. His TED talks have been viewed by over 3 million people, and he has written for the New York Times, the Guardian, and the Washington Post. He has previously worked for UNHCR, and as consultant to UNDP, UNICEF, and OCHA, for example. He currently serves as a Councillor on the World Refugee Council and on DFID's contact group on migration. He received his M.Phil (in Development Studies, with Distinction) and D.Phil (in International Relations) from the University of Oxford.