Property of Melyn McKay, do not reproduce without permission.

Property of Melyn McKay, do not reproduce without permission.


D.Phil. in Social Anthropology 2015 – Current

Oxford University, Exeter College

Alan Coltart Scholar, 2015 – 2018

M.Sc. in Social Anthropology 2014 – 2015

Oxford University, St. Antony’s College

Graduated first in class with Distinction

Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology 2004 - 2008

Colby College

Graduated with Honours & Distinction

Southeast Asian Studies Summer Institute Summer 2016

Intermediate Intensive Burmese, A/B


Tutor in Anthropological Theory - Current

University of Oxford, Exeter College

Independent Research Consultant June 2014 - Current

Sample Projects:

  • Mapping Basic Service Provision in Rakhine State for Search for Common Ground (October 2018 – March 2019) - Research Advisor

  • ‘Engaging the Religious Sector in Humanitarian and Development Programming’, Roundtable for Chatham House (January 2019 – February 2019) – Lead Organiser

  • Study on youth attitudes toward social media use in Kayah and Rakhine States, Save the Children (October 2018 – January 2019) - Research Advisor

  • Exploring community cohesion in Kayah, Kayin, Mon, and Lower Shan States, ACESM Baseline, (July 2018 – December 2018) - Lead Qualitative Researcher

  • Religious Conflict Mapping of Rakhine State, United States Institute for Peace (January 2018 – June 2018) – Lead Researcher

  • International Crisis Group report on Burmese Buddhist nationalism and Ma Ba Tha (June 2017 – August 2017) – Primary Researcher

  • Design of research approach, ‘Promoting sustainable Peace and Resiliency’ program in Kayah State, Myanmar (Oct 2015 – January 2016) – Lead Consultant

  • Conflict analysis for Norwegian Church Aid-Syria (February – March 2015) - Research Analyst

  • Formative research and baseline assessment for UNICEF / Search for Common Ground - South Sudan (June – October 2014) - Lead Evaluator

Integrity Research & Consultancy Jan 2013 – June 2014

Country Director South Sudan / Methods Design & Quality Assurance Manager

Responsible for all South Sudan project activity include client management, local and international staff, legal compliance with South Sudanese authorities (including tax, visa, etc.), managed all in-country funds, business development, project and research design, quality, and delivery. Responsible for safety and wellbeing of staff; managed risk management and eventual extraction of project staff during outbreak of violence in December, 2013. Responsible for company-wide quality assurance and methods design, including rigour, conflict and community sensitivity. Oversaw project work in numerous conflict-affected geographies including: Nepal, South Sudan, DRC, Lebanon, and Syria.

Sample Projects:

  • Assessment of livelihoods programming for Syrian refugees in Lebanon (Save the Children) – Designed research approach, recruited and hired local team, worked with client to finalise research objectives and outputs.

  • Mapping emerging governance structures to inform humanitarian delivery and policy level dialogue in ‘liberated’ Syria (UK Conflict Pool) - Oversaw data quality and final report production evaluating emerging structures for humanitarian delivery in Syria, contributed to report structuring to enable easy reading of complex evaluation results, provided feedback on applicable channels for humanitarian aid distribution and monitoring.

  • Media mapping in Syria (IMS) – Oversaw data quality and final report production, research informed by the context of necessary alignment with armed actors and impact on journalistic integrity, identified opportunities for programming and intervention recommendations.

  • Labor Market Supply and Demand Survey (World Bank) – Designed methodologies, managed recruitment of field team, worked closely with the South Sudan Ministry of Trade & Investment to define objectives.

  • Monitoring and Evaluation of UNDP/World Bank SPLA demobilization campaign (World Bank) – Managed all in-country activities, liaised with clients, oversaw local and international consultants, quality assurance.

  • Evaluation of technical and financial proposals to provide governance programming on behalf of the Dutch MFA in South Sudan (Kingdom of the Netherlands) – Evaluated against EU criteria, applicability to South Sudan and prior knowledge of interventions in the Security and Access to Justice space.

International Conflict & Security Consulting June 2012 – Jan 2013

Research Consultant

Village Health Works/Global Health Corps June 2011 – Jan 2012

Director of Economic Development Programs

Responsible for project design, budget management, project management, and monitoring, for USAID-funded livelihoods program. Worked with women referred through psychosocial support program at the clinic, gender based violence advisory, to create women’s collectives. Designed and conducted a large market assessment for planning purposes. Hired local trainers and oversaw all skills training, procurement, and sales of co-operative goods. Established savings scheme for at-risk women. 75% of co-operatives were profitable within three-months; 100% in six months.


  • "Bad Buddhism", with Hannah Gould, special issue for the Journal of Global Buddhism, expected summer 2019

  • “Bhutanese sportswomen aim for the top”, Nikkei Asian Review, 15/12/2018.

  • “Myanmar’s Gender Paradox”, for Anthropology Today, 02/2018.

  • “Buddhist nationalism challenges Myanmar's government”, with Richard Horsey for Nikkei Asian Review, 30/08/2017.

  • “Rights law the wrong move?” for New Mandala, 17/3/2017

  • “Subcontracting Ethics: Mediating the commodification of ‘local knowledge’ in crisis and conflict” with Alissa de Carbonnel, MPP Blavatnik School of Government for the Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford, Volume VIII, no. 1 (2016): Special Issue on The Ethics of Anthropology in Emergencies.

  • Women and Myanmar’s “Religious Protection Laws” article with Dr. Mathew Walton and Dr Khin Mar Mar Kyi for the Review of Faith and International Affairs, Vol. 13, Iss. 4, 2015

  • Fieldwork Ethics in Crisis Conference, Wolfson College, ‘Anthropology and Compromise: impacts of donor expectations and limitations on methodological innovation and ethical practice in conflict and fragile states’, June 2015.

  • Human Welfare in Conflict Conference, Green Templeton College, Panel Speaker, May 2015

  • War and Peace at Oxford initiative, Member


  • French: Advanced intermediate, near conversational/reading fluency

  • Myanmar: Intermediate

  • Arabic (Darija): Basic

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