Mohammad Abdul-HwasPhD Candidate



Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance


Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis at the University of Canberra


Mohammad’s PhD thesis is titled ‘The governance of refugees from a deliberative system perspective: The case of Syrian refugee crisis.’ The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) describes the Syrian refugee crisis as ‘the largest displacement crisis of our time’. Using a deliberative systems approach, the research demonstrates the various ways in which decisions that impact the lives of refugees are made. Deliberative system is a fitting approach to understand the relationship between vulnerable communities and decision-makers, particularly its normative emphasis on inclusiveness, authenticity, and consequentiality. 

The deliberative systems approach is useful to map how spaces of governance involve exchanges of justifications between refugees and decision-makers, among decision makers, and among refugees. There are two key reasons for this research benefit. First, humanitarian actors hold power in managing the lives of refugees. It is worth investigating how they conduct politics, and whether their practices serve to promote decisions that are justifiable to those who will experience their impact. Second, refugee governance and deliberative democracy emerge from different traditions. These two fields are running on parallel tracks and they need to be connected to identify pathways by which refugees can gain voice and influence in shaping their future, and to investigate whether humanitarian actors can do better.

Supervisory Pannel

  • Dr Nicole Curato (primary supervisor)
  • Dr Brendan McCaffrie (secondary supervisor)




Mohammad is a PhD student at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance. His research focusses on refugee governance and deliberative democracy.

Before moving to Australia, Mohammad completed his Bachelor of Business from Auckland University of Technology, a Postgraduate Diploma in Banking and Postgraduate Certificate in Business from Massey University in New Zealand. He then completed his Master of Management from University of Canberra. Mohammad is currently working on an embassy’s cultural mission and is completing his PhD part-time.


  • Co-organizer, Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance’s Book Harvest 2020
Conference and Seminar Presentations
  • ‘The role of deliberation in governing the Syrian refugee crisis: Insights from the field.’ Deliberative Democracy Seminar Series, 6 October 2020. University of Canberra, Australia.
  • ‘Governing the Syrian refugee crisis: A deliberative assessment.’ Australian Political Studies Association (APSA) Conference. 18 September 2020. Virtual Conference.
  • ‘The role of deliberation in governance of the Syrian refugee crisis.’ Deliberative Democracy Summer School. 5 February 2020. University of Canberra, Australia.
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