Kayly Ober

Research Associate / PhD Candidate

Department of Geography, Bonn University
Meckenheimer Allee 166
D-53115 Bonn

Meckenheimer Allee 176,
3. Floor, Room 3.009

Mobile: +1 (202) 763-1374
Email: kaylyo [at] gmail.com

Personal Websitekaylyober.org

Social mediatwitter - researchgate -  academia -  linkedin


I am a policy analyst and researcher with over eight years of professional experience on issues related to climate change, adaptation, migration, gender, and governance. I'm currently a research associate/PhD candidate at the University of Bonn with the TransRe Project. My research in this capacity focuses on the governance of the climate-adaptation-migration nexus. I'm also the editor of the blog Connecting the Spots

Prior to joining the TransRe Project, I worked at the World Bank, Overseas Development Institute, Woodrow Wilson Center, and World Resources Institute, among others. I hold an MSc in environment and development (Distinction) from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and a BA in international studies with a focus on Latin America (cum laude) from American University. I am a native of Washington, DC and fluent in Spanish.

Research Interests

Conceptual : adaptation, resilience, translocality, governance
Thematic : migration, adaptation, gender, governance
Regional : Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Peru); Southeast Asia (Thailand)

PhD Dissertation

Governing the climate-migration-adaptation nexus. A multi-level stakeholder and policy analysis in Thailand 


Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

Ober, K. and Sakdapolrak, P. (2017) How do social practices shape policy? Analysing the field of ‘migration as adaptation’ with Bourdieu's ‘Theory of Practice.’ The Geographical Journal183(4), 359-369.

Sterly, H., Ober, K., Sakdapolrak, P. (2016) Migration for Human Security? The Contribution of Translocality to Social ResilienceGeorgetown Journal of Asian Affairs, 3(1), 57-66.

Sakdapolrak, P., Naruchaikosol, S., Ober, K., Peth, S., Porst, L., Rockenbauch, T., Tolo, V. (2016) Migration in a changing climate. Towards a translocal social resilience approachDIE ERDE147(2), 81-94.

Additional Publications

Kumari Rigaud, K., de Sherbinin, A., Jones, B., Bergmann, J., Clement, V., Ober, K., Schewe, J., Adamo, S., McCusker, B., Heuser, S., Midgley, A. (2018). Groundswell: Preparing for Internal Climate Migration. World Bank, Washington, DC.

Fuenfgeld, H., Sterly, H., Sakdapolrak, P., Naruchaikosol, S., Ober. K, Peth, S., Porst, L., Rockenbauch, T. (2018) Migration for Adaptation - A Guidebook for Integrating Migration and Translocality into Community-Based Adaptation. TransRe Project, University of Bonn, Germany.

Ober, K. (2014). How the IPCC views migration. An assessment of migration in the IPCC AR5. TransRe Fact Sheet No. 1, Department of Geography, University of Bonn, Germany.

Ober, K. (2014). Migration as adaptation: exploring mobility as a coping strategy for climate change. UK Climate Change and Migration Coalition, Oxford, UK.

Ober, K. (2010). Meeting the Needs of Latin America's Rural and Urban Populations, Point of View, Centerpoint. Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC

Selected Popular Press

Ober, K. and Sakdapolrak, P. (2015, 3 Dec). The links between climate change and migrationChinadialogue.

Ober, K. (2014, 1 Oct). Risk Assessment Reigns in Budgeting, Except When it Comes to ClimateTruthout

Ober, K. (2012, 19 Jul). Center for American Progress Takes on Climate Change, Migration, and Why They Matter to U.S. National SecurityNew Security Beat.

Ober, K. (2011, 14 Nov). In Colombia, Rural Communities Face Uphill Battle for Land RightsNew Security Beat.

Ober, K. (2011, 11 Feb). Catastrophe or strategy? Chinadialogue.

Ober, K. (2010, 11 Nov). No Peace Without WomenNew Security Beat.

Ober, K. (2010, 29 Jul). Drug Barons, Poachers, Ranchers, Oh My! Guatemala’s Forests Under SiegeNew Security Beat.

Ober, K. (2010, 8 Jul). Time to Give a Dam: Alternative Energy as Source of Cooperation or Conflict? New Security Beat.

Ober, K. (2010, 21 Jan). Water: The Next Climate Negotiation Tool? New Security Beat.


Ober, K. (2018). "Whose climate change adaptation 'barriers'? Towards decolonizing Thailand's climate change adaptation policy assemblages", Rural Futures of Southeast Asia, Bangkok, Thailand, 2.08.2018

Ober, K. (2017). "Challenging the Constructs of Climate-Migration Policymaking", Kolloquium, Institut für Geographie und Regionalforschung, Universität Wien, Austria, 18.10.17

Ober, K. (2017). "The King, Coups, and IOs...Oh my! Climate change adaptation policy assemblages in Thailand", American Association of Geographers Annual Conference, Boston, MA, 8.4.17

Ober, K. (2016). "The governance of "migration as adaptation": (dis)entangling power and politics with Bourdieu's Theory of Practice", American Association of Geographers Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA, 28.03.16

Ober, K. & Porst, L. (2014). “Building Resilience Through Translocality, Climate Change, Migration and Social Resilience in Rural Thailand”, Multilocality in the Global South and North: Factors, features and policy implications, TU Dortmund, 18.9.2014

Ober, K. (2014). “Migration as Adaptation: reality or rhetoric? The influence of sedentary bias on climate adaptation funding”, Parallel Worlds? Environmental Change, Regional Adaptation and the Role of Migration, University of Cologne, 4.7.2014


TransRe Short Course | "Does Migration Move You? The impacts of climate change on migration and the concepts, methods, and policies behind them”, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 26.06.15

Featured publication:


Ober, K. and Sakdapolrak, P. (2017) How do social practices shape policy? Analysing the field of ‘migration as adaptation’ with Bourdieu's ‘Theory of Practice.’ The Geographical Journal183(4), 359-369.

Featured blog post:


Let’s Get Graphic: Three Maps that Show the Tensions of Climate & Migration Research 
by Kayly Ober 
Blog: Connecting the Spots

Sponsored by

Who we are

We are a BMBF supported research group seeking to decipher the relationships between migration, translocality, and social resilience to climate change in Thailand. Our working group is based at the Department of Geography at the University of Bonn, Germany. Get to know our team...



เรา คือ กลุ่มวิจัยฯ ภายใต้การสนับสนุนของกระทรวงศึกษาและวิจัยแห่งสหพันธ์รัฐ (BMBF) มีความสนใจในการสร้างความเข้าใจเกี่ยวกับความสัมพันธ์ระหว่างการโยกย้ายถิ่นฐาน การเชื่อมโยงระหว่างพื้นที่ และความยืนหยัดทางสังคมจากการเปลี่ยนแปลงสภาพภูมิอากาศในประเทศไทย โดยทางกลุ่มวิจัยฯ เป็นส่วนหนึ่งของภาควิชาภูมิศาสตร์ มหาวิทยาลัยบอนน์ สหพันธ์สาธารณรัฐเยอรมนี รายละเอียดเพิ่มเติม ...




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