Changing face of research into refugees and migration

At the current time, almost 80 million people throughout the world are fleeing violence, catastrophes, conflicts, wars and persecution, a new record. For several years now, refugees and migration have been a major topic of discussion in the media, politics and society. Many of the questions raised are now being dealt with in a collaborative project on migration and refugee research launched at the Centre for Human Rights Erlangen-Nürnberg (CHREN) at FAU.

Over a period of five years, FAU researchers led by Prof. Dr. Petra Bendel will work together with three other partner institutes, the Institute for Migration Research and Intercultural Studies (IMIS) at Osnabrück University, the Bonn International Center for Conversion (BICC) and the German Development Institute in Bonn, on the topic of ‘Forced Migration and Refugee Studies: Networking and Knowledge Transfer (FFVT).’ The project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research aims to strengthen interdisciplinary collaboration in the field of research into refugees and migration.

‘Since the significant rise in the numbers of asylum seekers in Germany in 2014/2015, many individual projects have been set up dealing with the various aspects of refugee and migration research, but we are lacking structure, networks and an institutional foundation such as institutes, professorships or degree programmes,’ says Dr. Lorenz Wiese. That is what the collaborative FFVT project hopes to change. Dr. Wiese, a political scientist involved in the Erlangen-based project, explains: ‘We aim to considerably improve the international visibility of German research into forced migration and refugees, establish research collaborations, set up degree programmes and encourage dialogue between academia, media, politics and current practices.’

Online workshop on 9 and 10 July

The researchers hope to achieve their objectives by offering fellowship programmes, summer schools and graduate centres, participating in international conferences and initiating forums and workshops. ‘It is also up to academia to offer decision-makers room to work together to tackle what is undoubtedly one of the greatest global challenges of our time,’ stresses Dr. Lorenz Wiese. The new project will kick off in Erlangen with an online workshop on 9 and 10 July, aimed at the general public, students and experts from politics, think tanks and administration.

Academics and politicians will focus on the challenges at a global, European and national level related to migration, government and human rights in respect of forced migration and consider the questions of where do the Global Compacts on Migration and Refugees lead to? What ought to be done about the common European asylum system? What can reasonably be expected from the German EU Council Presidency, starting in July, in the area of migration and refugees, and in view of the coronavirus pandemic?

On 9 July, the internationally acclaimed human rights expert, Prof. Dr. Thomas Gammeltoft-Hansen, will hold a keynote speech on evolutions in international refugee law and governance. On 10 July, Erik Marquardt (MdEP, Die Grünen/EFA), Prof. Dr. Lars Castellucci (MdB, SPD), Dr. Sylvie Nantcha (chair of the African Network of Germany, CDU) and Ulrich Weinbrenner (Head of the Migration Department at the Federal Ministry of the Interior) will discuss which role Germany’s presidency of the EU Council can play in this respect in the second half of 2020.


Thursday 9 July 2020

  • 2:15pm-2.30pm Welcome (Prof. Dr. Markus Krajewski)
  • 2:30pm-4:30pm The Global Compacts for Migration and on Refugees: current challenges (Ambassador retired David Donoghue, Catherine Woollard, Samir Abi, Prof. Dr. Cathryn Costello, Dr. Anne Koch; Presenter: Dr. Franck Düvell)
  • 5pm-6:30pm Evolutions in International Refugee Law and Governance (Prof. Dr. Thomas Gammeltoft-Hansen; Presenter: Dr. Lorenz Wiese)

Friday 10 July 2020

  • 9:15-9:30 Opening (Prof. Dr. Anuscheh Farahat)
  • 9:30am-11:00am The CEAS and the Brussels playing field (Prof. Dr. Sergio Carrera, Prof. Dr. Daniel Thym, Prof. Dr. Anuscheh Farahat; Presenter: Prof. Dr. Petra Bendel)
  • 12:30pm-2pm The CEAS under Germany’s EU Council Presidency (Prof. Dr. Lars Castellucci, Dr. Sylvie Nantcha, Ulrich Weinbrenner, Erik Marquardt; Presenter: Dr. Jörn Grävingholt)

Participation is free of charge and open to anyone, but you do need to register online.

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