Core team

Prof. Valentina Mazzucato
Professor of Globalisation and Development Technology & Society Studies

My name is Valentina Mazzucato and I head the MO-TRAYL project. I began my working life by volunteering as a high school teacher in north-eastern Kenya. This sparked my keen interest in Africa and young people. Since then all my working life I have worked in and on Africa. I started working at Maastricht University in 2008 as Professor of Globalisation and Development where I head research projects focusing on migration and young people. In all my work, I want to bridge the boundaries between classical anthropological studies, sociological studies on families, and transnational migration studies to understand how families function under conditions of global migration. I study in particular migration to and from Africa and that means that I often travel to African countries to see how migrants’ origin communities are affected by migration. I am particularly interested in the wellbeing of families and I focus on the members who migrate and those who remain in African origin countries. In the MO-TRAYL project, my team and I are focusing on young people: those who have migrated, those who were born abroad, and those who remained in an African country. We want to understand how young people experience migration and what their mobility patterns between different countries look like. Studying and teaching such topics means bridging boundaries between disciplines and between geographical locations. My passion for this stems from my own transnational family life and the fact that bridging boundaries has always framed both my academic and personal life.

 View Valentina's profile page on Maastricht University's website

Dr. Karlijn Haagsman
Post-doctoral researcher

My name is Karlijn Haagsman and I am responsible for the school survey in the MO-TRAYL project. Throughout my studies of Cultural Anthropology I developed a growing interest in migration & mobility and the consequences of these movements on the people involved. This led me to do a Research Master in Migration Studies and eventually a PhD on Nigerian and Angolan transnational families. Not only does the MO-TRAYL project suit my academic interests, it also is tied to my personal life. During my childhood I lived 2 years in San Francisco (USA), at the end of high school I travelled for 3 months through Ecuador, and at 22 I lived 3 months in Tonga for my Master in Cultural Anthropology. These periods abroad have shaped me into who I am today. 

  View Karlijn’s profile page on Maastricht University’s website

Gladys Akom Ankobrey
PhD researcher, The Netherlands case study

My name is Gladys Akom Ankobrey and I am a PhD researcher in the MO-TRAYL team. My heritage connects Africa, Europe and the Caribbean, and it is the fascination with my personal history of complex diaspora connections that led me to pursue a MA in Migration and Diaspora studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. I was drawn to the MO-TRAYL project because it brings together my interests in the anthropology of youth, transcultural practices and mobility trajectories among other things. Having close family members spread out across national borders has offered intimate insights into the complexity of diaspora experiences. Moreover, my experience of doing research among young people in Ghana and the diaspora, has sparked a desire to explore how youth navigate their worlds and futures.  

  View Gladys' profile page on Maastricht University’s website 

  View Gladys' profile on Instagram

Sarah Anschütz
PhD researcher, Belgium case study

My name is Sarah Anschütz and I am a PhD candidate at Maastricht University. As long as I can remember I have been longing to see and learn more. This curiosity guided my life journey and made me cross many national borders. I lived, studied, worked, and volunteered in Germany, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Canada, Nepal, Belgium, Spain, and China. All these experiences and the many encounters throughout the journey shaped my knowledge and interests and helped me to start my PhD endeavour at Maastricht University. Within the MO-TRAYL project I am interested in the mobility trajectories of Ghanaian youths in Belgium. My research interests are social and emotional well-being, resilience, youth mobilities, discrimination, language and ideology, inequality, and education.

  View Sarah's profile page on Maastricht University’s website

Laura Ogden
PhD researcher, Germany case study

My name is Laura Ogden and I am a PhD researcher on the MO-TRAYL project. Transnationalism has been a constant theme in my own life, and so working on the MO-TRAYL project is an exciting opportunity for me to continue to explore this fascinating topic. I grew up in Australia but have lived in other countries for most of my adult life for work and study, and I have family in the UK, Australia, and Portugal. Before joining the MO-TRAYL team, I worked in arts administration in Australia and then in international development and education in Timor-Leste (East Timor). On the MO-TRAYL project, I will do research in Hamburg, Germany, with youth of Ghanaian background.

  View Laura's profile page on Maastricht University’s website

Onallia Esther Osei 
PhD researcher, Ghana case study

My name is Onallia Esther Osei. I am a human geographer from Ghana. My motivation for doing a PhD within the MO-TRAYL project is driven by the fact that I am the daughter of a Ghanaian mother who is living in the USA, which has shaped me as a person and an academic. As a child, I blamed my mother for being far away from me. Today, having a long distance relationship with my family in Ghana and my boyfriend in a military camp in South Sudan, I have come to appreciate my mother’s transnational lifestyle. Through my research, I hope to be able to give a voice to the experiences of children of migrant parents. 

   View Onallia's profile page on Maastricht University’s website

Yleen Goffin - Simonis
Project officer

In September 2017, Yleen started working as project officer at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASoS) at Maastricht University. She provides support for the ERC-funded research projects MO-TRAYL (led by prof. Valentina Mazzucato) and MiLifeStatus (led by prof. Maarten Vink). Furthermore, she supports the research and training programme New Approaches in the Conservation of Contemporary Art (NACCA) (led by prof. Renée van de Vall), funded by the European Union H2020 Programme, and the Maastricht Centre for Arts and Culture, Conservation and Heritage (MACCH) (led by dr. Vivian van Saaze).

  View Yleen's profile page on Maastricht University’s website

Affiliated researchers

Sara Fürstenau
PhD co-supervisor

My name is Sara Fürstenau and I am a professor of Intercultural Education at the University of Hamburg, Germany. My main research interests are multilingualism and language education, school and curriculum development in the migration society and transnational migration and education. I am currently working on a research project about the transnational educational careers of youth between Brazil and Europe, with a focus on the significance of educational careers for social positioning in transnational social realms.

  View Sarah's profile page on the website of Universität Hamburg

Joan van Geel
PhD researcher

My name is Joan van Geel and I am a PhD researcher studying Ghanaian youth who grow up within and between Ghana and The Netherlands. My project started in 2014 and is very similar to the MO-TRAYL project. We therefore collaborate. For my Research Master I conducted 6 months of ethnographic fieldwork amongst African migrants in Athens, investigating their coping strategies in times of crisis and racist violence. There, I became aware of the challenges faced by and crucial potential of migrant children. My deep conviction that every young person is part of this world’s future, made me embark this PhD, during which I felt privileged that 30 Ghanaian youth wanted to share their everyday experiences with me. My thesis investigates Ghanaian youth’s mobility trajectories, and what makes these youth do well educationally.

  View Joan's profile page on Maastricht University’s website

Prof. Noel Clycq
PhD co-supervisor

My name is Noel Clycq and I am a research professor of Education in the research group EduBROn at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. My main research interests are diversity, multiculturalism, identity and inequality in education. Currently, and together with several PhD researchers and colleagues, I am working on research projects about the initiatives taken by ethnic minority communities to support the educational trajectories of their children, about the role of emotions in (school) belonging and citizenship education, about the role of teacher academic optimism to tackle inequalities, about collective and Muslim identities in education and about issues of early school leaving and student engagement.

 View Noel's profile page on the website of University of Antwerp


Alice Prior

My name is Alice Prior and I am an intern in the MO-TRAYL project at Maastricht University from May 2018. Since 2012, I have been a student at The University of Padua, Italy, where I did a B.Sc. in Occupational psychology. In April 2018 I finished my master in Community Psychology with my thesis on the subject: "Income inequality and life expectancy in Italy" in line with my major interests: identifying the psychosocial and behavioural factors that affect health, health inequity and wellbeing at the local, national and global levels. In previous years, I've have spent a lot of time abroad. Immediately after high school, I went to live in London for a year. In 2016, I did an Erasmus at the University of Bucharest for seven months and a five month internship at the “Policy Center for Roma and Minorities” in Bucharest working with a gypsy community/school. I find it important to expose myself to different cultures: experiencing unfamiliar cultures and trying new languages is something I got accustomed to, I think it enriches life. These periods abroad have shaped my current interests which are diverse, widespread and interdisciplinary. Hence my excitement joining the MO-TRAYL team.


From left to right: Sarah Anschütz, Valentina Mazzucato, Karlijn Haagsman, Laura Ogden, Onallia Esther Osei, Gladys Akom Ankobrey.

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