Amaya Valcarcel, a Spanish refugee lawyer, worked as a Protection Officer with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Spain and in Kakuma refugee camp, Northern Kenya, between 1995 and 1997.
In 1998, she joined the Jesuit Refugee Service as Policy Coordinator, focusing her work on the Great Lakes region of Africa and South Asia, with regular missions to Rwanda, Burundi and Sri Lanka.
While working at JRS, she lectured on Refugee Law at the Pontifical University of Comillas, Spain.
Between 2002 and 2003, she was the Coordinator of the Master's Degree on Humanitarian Aid and Development Cooperation at the Pontifical University of Comillas, Spain.
Amaya worked in Cambodia between 2003 and 2005. At the Arrupe Center for People with a Disability, a Jesuit mission in the Northwest of the country and a heavily mined area, she organized a microcredit program for young landmine survivors. She is still involved in supporting that mission and visits Cambodia on a yearly and voluntary basis.
Between 2006 and 2008 she was the Secretary General of the Spanish Commission for Refugees (CEAR).
In 2009 she again joined the Jesuit Refugee Service, where she works at present as International Advocacy Officer.
JRS is an international Catholic NGO whose mission is to serve, accompany and advocate on behalf of refugees and forcibly displaced people in 50 countries (www.jrs.net). Amaya is based in the JRS' international office in Rome and coordinates the organization's efforts to defend the rights of refugees worldwide, especially the most forgotten ones.
Amaya has a degree in Law and Economics by the University of Comillas, Madrid, with an Erasmus scholarship at the Liberà Università di Studii Sociali, in Rome. She has a diploma in Refugee law and sociology by the diploma by the Migration Diocesan Delegation, Spain.