María Gabriela Trompetero Vicent

Maria Gabriela Trompetero Vicent is a Doctoral candidate and a lecturer at Bielefeld University with an M.A. in Inter-American Studies. She researches the categorization process of displaced people, focusing on Venezuelan forced displacement and its impact on social cohesion and migration policy development in the Americas, as well as the Colombian response to Venezuelan forced displacement.

Interview with

Current affiliation
  • Bielefeld University
Hosting institute
German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS)
Key expertise

Profile according to FFVT taxonomy

Fields of research
Scientific topics

Academic education / CV

Doctoral Candidate in Sociology

M.A. InterAmerican Studies

Relevant publications


Q1. Who are you?

I am a Venezuelan Doctoral candidate in Sociology at Bielefeld University with an M.A. in Inter-American Studies. I have worked as a research assistant at the Faculty of Sociology at Bielefeld University, where I am currently a lecturer in migration studies. I have also worked as an independent consultant for UNHCR and Equilibrium SDC and as an intern at the Migration Policy Institute. I have also supported Venezuelan refugees in Germany with different integration activities. I am a member of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) and the Center on Migration, Citizenship and Development (COMCAD) at Bielefeld University.

Q2. What was your motivation for applying for the FFVT fellowship? Why Germany?

I participated in the FFVT Summer School in Nuremberg in July 2022, where I was fascinated by the project and its aim to bring together academics, practitioners, and migrants and refugees from all over the world with different experiences in the field of forced displacement. Therefore, I am delighted that as a Fellow of IDOS I will now have the opportunity to expand my German research network on forced displacement and connect with colleagues with similar research interests to develop future collaborations and exchange expertise and experiences. 

Q3. What do you expect from the fellowship? 

With brainstorming, discussions, and presentations, I expect to contribute to IDOS's ongoing projects on multilevel migration governance and social cohesion in Colombia, my current case study, while receiving ideas and comments to improve and strengthen my current research. I also look forward to expanding my network on forced migration studies in Germany and learning from scholars with different backgrounds and at different levels of their academic careers.

Q4. What is the focus of your work, and what is innovative about it? / What are your planned outcomes and activities for the fellowship period? And how do they relate to your FFVT hosting institution/ the FFVT cooperation project? 

My current research focuses on the categorization processes of people on the move. Specifically, I look at why some displaced people are considered refugees and others are not, and what lies behind this labeling process from the perspective of policymakers and international cooperation through the lenses of political sociology, sociology of institutions, migration governance and forced displacement studies. In Latin America, the question is even more relevant since the Cartagena Declaration expanded the definition of refugee not only to people fleeing persecution but also to those fleeing generalized violence and massive human rights violations, among other reasons. By following this declaration, most countries in the region could classify Venezuelans as prima facie refugees, but so far, only Brazil has done so. My dissertation discusses why this is happening in Colombia, the country that has received the largest number of Venezuelans to date (almost 3 million) and has decided to go beyond the dichotomy of migrants vs. refugees by creating a temporary protection status with lessons for the world to learn.

During my stay at IDOS, I would like to present the results of my current research related to two projects my colleagues at IDOS are working on: multilevel governance and migration policy, and social cohesion and displacement. In addition, I will present the root causes of Venezuelan forced displacement and their impact on social cohesion and migration policy development in the Americas, as well as the Colombian response to Venezuelan forced displacement.

I also intend to produce a paper with colleagues from FFVT as a result of these discussions. Last but not least, I look forward to meeting colleagues at the other FFVT institutions, where I see opportunities for common research interests.