Skip to main contentSkip to footer
finger pointing scan
Brighton & Sussex Medical School

Our staff

BSMS > About BSMS > Contact us > Staff > Dr Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson

Dr Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson

Sonja Ayeb Karlsson

Dr Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson (BA, BSc, MA, PhD)

Lecturer in Global Health
E: S.Ayeb-Karlsson@bsms.ac.uk
Location: Arts C308, Arts Road Building C, University of Sussex Falmer Campus BN1 9SJ

Areas of expertise: Climate change, health and wellbeing; Development Studies; Disaster (displacement) and mental health; Environmental changes, loss of natural resources and conflict, Limits to adaptation and livelihood resilience; Migration, (im)mobility decision-making, and Trapped Populations; Non-economic losses and damages; Socio-cultural perceptions of risk, identity and gender; Storytelling methodology, life histories and discourse analysis 

Research interests: Health and wellbeing in the context of environmental shocks and climatic changes; Migration, (im)mobility and mental health; Socio-cultural understandings of human behaviour, (ill)health, disease and healing

Other faculty positions: Senior researcher, UNU-EHS; Expert member of WG1 and WG2, Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change

BACKGROUND IMAGE FOR PANEL

Biography

Dr Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson is a Lecturer in Global Health at BSMS, University of Sussex, who researches migration, (im)mobility decisions, health and wellbeing in the context of climatic changes. She is also a Senior Researcher at UNU-EHS and part of the Lancet Countdown.

Prior to this, she was involved in a community-led initiative in Argentina that focused on the empowerment and human rights of ethnic minority groups in the northern areas of the country. She was selected to represent Stockholm on the national board of the Swedish Association of International Affairs in 2008. While completing her university studies in Brazil, Dr. Ayeb-Karlsson dedicated a considerable amount of time to urban development and educational initiatives in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. At the Swedish Embassy in Brazil, she was responsible for organising a seminar on Corporal Punishment of Children with the Ministry of Human Rights and Save the Children Sweden in the Brazilian National Congress in 2011. Discussions following the seminar lead up to the agreement of a new article on Corporal Punishment Prohibition in 2014 which made Brazil the largest country in the world to sign such a prohibition.

Including Bangladesh, Germany, Argentina and Brazil, Dr. Ayeb-Karlsson has also lived, worked, and studied in England and Australia. She also has extensive international experience, having visited about 65 countries and has spent a large amount of time in South America, South- as well as Southeast Asia. She is fluent in English, Swedish, Spanish and Portuguese with basic language skills in German and Bengali.

Research 

Dr Ayeb-Karlsson researches (im)mobility decisions, migration, health and wellbeing in the context of environmental stress and climatic changes. She is also a Senior Researcher at UNU-EHS and part of WG1 and WG2 in the Lancet Countdown of health and climate change.

Between the years of 2013 and 2018 she worked in Bangladesh as a project manager in collaboration with ICCCAD and MRF. Her research combined quantitative and qualitative methods such as Q, survey design, storytelling methodology, personal life history interviews and discourse analysis with the aim to further develop anthropological research approaches that support the interaction with people facing climatic stress, while exploring alternative ways to communicate research findings through mediums of photography, visual communication and photo films.

In 2015 she joined the work of the Lancet Commission and the Lancet Countdown that is tracking the connections between climate change and public health until 2030. Here she is part of WG1 and WG2 and mainly studies the linkages between climate change, mental health, migration and disasters, she is also the Latin- and South American spokesperson and work closely with the Brazilian partner organisations in SP and POA.

BACKGROUND IMAGE FOR PANEL

Teaching

Teaching at University of Sussex, BSMS, the Institute of Development Studies in the area of Global Health, Geography and Development Studies include the following Undergraduate courses: Environmental Management and Sustainable Development (L7003), Disaster, Environment and Development (005DA), Skills and Concepts in Geography I-II (002GR / F8509) and the Postgraduate Master courses Climate Change: Impacts and Adaptation (838F8), and Climate Resilient Development (CRD), at University of Sussex and IDS, as well as the Postgraduate Master courses: Global Health Msc (BSMS), Risk Management in the Context of Climate Change (UM6 / JM9-2) at University of Bonn and UNU-EHS.

Selected publications

Ayeb-Karlsson, Sonja, Kniveton, Dominic, Cannon, Terry, van der Geest, Kees, Ahmed, Istiakh, Derrington, Erin M, Florano, Ebinezer and Opiyo Opoyo, Denis (2019) I will not go, I cannot go: cultural and social limitations of disaster preparedness in Asia, Africa, and Oceania. Disasters. ISSN 1467-7717  

Ayeb-Karlsson, Sonja, Fox, Gino and Kniveton, Dominic (2019) Embracing uncertainty: a discursive approach to understanding pathways for climate adaptation in Senegal. Regional Environmental Change. ISSN 1436-3798 
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007%2Fs10113-019-01495-7

Ahmed, Istiakh, Ayeb-Karlsson, Sonja, van der Geest, Kees, Huq, Saleem and Jordan, Joanne Catherine (2019) Climate change, environmental stress and loss of livelihoods can push people towards illegal activities: a case study from coastal Bangladesh. Climate and Development. ISSN 1756-5529      

Watts, Nick, Amann, Marcus, Arnell, Nigel, Ayeb-Karlsson, Sonja, Belesova, Kristine, Berry, Helen, Bouley, Timothy, Boykoff, Maxwell, Byass, Peter, Cai, Wenjia, Campbell-Lendrum, Diarmid, Chambers, Jonathan, Daly, Meaghan, Dasandi, Niheer, Davies, Michael, Depoux, Anneliese, Dominguez-Salas, Paula, Drummond, Paul, Ebi, Kristie L, Ekins, Paul, Fernandez Montoya, Lucia, Fischer, Helen, Georgeson, Lucien, Grace, Delia, Graham, Hilary, Hamilton, Ian, Hartinger, Stella, Hess, Jeremy, Kelman, Ilan, Kiesewetter, Gregor, Kjellstrom, Tord, Kniveton, Dominic, Lemke, Bruno, Liang, Lu, Lott, Melissa, Lowe, Rachel, Odhiambo Sewe, Maquins, Martinez-Urtaza, Jaime, Maslin, Mark, McAllister, Lucy, Jankin Mikhaylov, Slava, Milner, James, Moradi-Lakeh, Maziar, Morrissey, Karyn, Murray, Kris, Nilsson, Maria, Neville, Tara, Oreszczyn, Tadj, Owfi, Fereidoon, Pearman, Olivia, Pencheon, David, Pye, Steve, Rabbaniha, Mahnaz, Robinson, Elizabeth, Rocklöv, Joacim, Saxer, Olivia, Schütte, Stefanie, Semenza, Jan C, Shumake-Guillemot, Joy, Steinbach, Rebecca, Tabatabaei, Meisam, Tomei, Julia, Trinanes, Joaquin, Wheeler, Nicola, Wilkinson, Paul, Gong, Peng, Montgomery, Hugh and Costello, Anthony (2018). The 2018 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: shaping the health of nations for centuries to come. Lancet. pp. 1-36. ISSN 0140-6736

Ayeb-Karlsson, Sonja, Smith, Christopher D and Kniveton, Dominic (2018). A discursive review of the textual use of ‘trapped’ in environmental migration studies: The conceptual birth and troubled teenage years of trapped populations. Ambio, 47 (5). pp. 557-573. ISSN 0044-7447

Watts, Nick, Amann, Markus, Ayeb-Karlsson, Sonja, Belesova, Kristine, Bouley, Timothy, Boykoff, Maxwell, Byass, Peter, Cai, Wenjia, Campbell-Lendrum, Diarnid, Chambers, Johnathan, Cox, Peter M, Daly, Meaghan, Dasandi, Niheer, Davies, Michael, Depledge, Michael, Depoux, Anneliese, Dominguez-Salas, Paula, Drummond, Paul, Ekins, Paul, Flahault, Antoine, Frumkin, Howard, Georgeson, Lucien, Ghanei, Mostafa, Grace, Delia, Graham, Hilary, Grojsman, Rébecca, Haines, Andy, Hamilton, Ian, Hartinger, Stella, Johnson, Anne, Kelman, Ilan, Kiesewetter, Gregor, Kniveton, Dominic, Liang, Lu, Lott, Melissa, Lowe, Robert, Mace, Georgina, Sewe, Maquins Odiambo, Maslin, Mark, Mikhaylov, Slava, Milner, James, Latifi, Ali Mohammad, Moradi-Lakeh, Maziar, Morrissey, Karyn, Murray, Kris, Neville, Tara, Nilsson, Maria, Oreszczyn, Tadj, Owfi, Fereidoon, Pencheon, David, Pye, Steve, Rabbaniha, Mahnaz, Robinson, Elizabeth, Rocklöv, Joacim, Schütte, Stefanie, Shumake-Guillemot, Joy, Steinbach, Rebecca, Tabatabaei, Meisam, Wheeler, Nicola, Wilkinson, Paul, Gong, Peng, Montgomery, Hugh and Costello, Anthony (2018). The Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: from 25 years of inaction to a global transformation for public health. The Lancet, 391 (10120). pp. 581-630. ISSN 0140-6736

Watts, Nick, Adger, W Neil, Ayeb-Karlsson, Sonja, Bai, Yuqi, Byass, Peter, Campbell-Lendrum, Diarmid, Colbourn, Tim, Cox, Peter, Davies, Michael, Depledge, Michael, Depoux, Anneliese, Dominguez-Salas, Paula, Drummond, Paul, Ekins, Paul, Flahault, Antoine, Grace, Delia, Graham, Hilary, Haines, Andy, Hamilton, Ian, Johnson, Anne, Kelman, Ilan, Kovats, Sari, Liang, Lu, Lott, Melissa, Lowe, Robert, Luo, Yong, Mace, Georgina, Maslin, Mark, Morrissey, Karyn, Murray, Kris, Neville, Tara, Nilsson, Maria, Oreszczyn, Tadj, Parthemore, Christine, Pencheon, David, Robinson, Elizabeth, Schütte, Stefanie, Shumake-Guillemot, Joy, Vineis, Paolo, Wilkinson, Paul, Wheeler, Nicola, Xu, Bing, Yang, Jun, Yin, Yongyuan, Yu, Chaoqing, Gong, Peng, Montgomery, Hugh and Costello, Anthony (2017). The Lancet countdown: tracking progress on health and climate change. Lancet, 389 (10074). pp. 1151-1164. ISSN 0140-6736

Ayeb-Karlsson, Sonja, van der Geest, Kees, Ahmed, Istiakh, Huq, Saleemul and Warner, Koko (2016). A people-centred perspective on climate change, environmental stress, and livelihood resilience in Bangladesh. Sustainability Science, 11 (4). pp. 679-694. ISSN 1862-4065.

Books

Kniveton, Dominic, Ayeb-Karlsson, Sonja and Smith, Christopher D. (2018). Environmental migrants, climate ‘refugees’ and sun-seeking expats: capturing the larger context of migration in a changing climate through appropriate and effective behavioural research. In: McLeman, Robert and Gemenne, François (eds.) Routledge handbook of environmental displacement and migration. Routledge, pp. 151-160. ISBN 1138194468

Reports and working papers

van der Geest, Kees, Kreft, Sönke, Zommers, Zinta, Huq, Saleemul, Quandt, Amy, Preato, Alberto, Chandra, Alvin, Mulla, Ava, Chaffin, Brian, Koto, Camari, Barthelt, Christian, Carter, Christopher J., Corendea, Cosmin, Wrathall, David, Opondo, Denis Opiyo, Florano, Ebinezer, Yustiningrum, Emilia, Boyd, Emily, Derrington, Erin, Roberts, Erin, Rabbani, Golam, Khan, Hafijul Islam, Islam, Ina, Ahmedi, Istiakh, Bolland, Jack, Rhyner, Jakob, Junghardt, Jana, Warner, Koko, Schäfer, Laura, Nijzink, Laurens, Mukherjee, Nandan, Jha, Nimisha, Serdeczny, Olivia, James, Rachel, Granados, Rocio, De Souza, Roger M., Henry, Sabine, Ayeb-Karlsson, Sonja, Schwan, Susanne, Cannon, Terry, Loster, Thomas and Pathak, Vishal (2016). Loss and damage livelihood resilience. Other. UNU-EHS, Bonn.

Ayeb-Karlsson, Sonja, Tanner, Thomas, van der Geest, Kees, Warner, Koko et al. (2015). Livelihood resilience in a changing world - 6 global policy recommendations for a more sustainable future. Working Paper. UNU-EHS, Bonn.

Thesis

Ayeb-Karlsson, Sonja (2018). When the disaster strikes: (im)mobility decision-making in the context of environmental shocks and climate change impacts. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex. 

Read more >