International migrations are an intricate part of a more interconnected world in terms of trade, communications and cultural exchanges. There is no question that migrations help improve people’s lives in both sending and receiving states, offering new opportunities for millions of people worldwide to better their lives. However, the causes, scope and complexities of international migrations in the XXI Century are also impacting the lives of millions of people worldwide in ways that many states and communities were ill prepared to deal with. The persistence of extreme poverty in large areas of the world, the impacts of climate change, the continuation of internal conflicts, regional wars and religious or sectarian inspired violence have forcibly displaced a record number of over 68.5 million people worldwide. According to the UNCHR’s 2018 Global Trends, “31 people are newly displaced every minute of the day.” Economic and survival migrants, as well as refugees from the Global South, are desperately looking for new routes and ways to reach a place they can call a safe haven. At the same time receiving and transit states are struggling to balance their immigration and asylum policies between their obligations to uphold the fundamental human rights of migrants and the growing pressures of xenophobic sentiments and nativist attitudes.
The irony of today’s globalisation is that goods and services can move with more freedom, yet the cherished right to freedom of movement for people has come to a dramatic halt: Migrants are perceived as a threat to the security of the state or as criminals if they dare not follow the everyday more restrictive immigration laws and policies. For those migrants who cannot meet the increasing legal requirements, restrictions, barriers, and costs to cross borders, their options to migrate legally have become practically impossible. Those looking for a better life or refuge are being pushed to find new and more perilous journeys putting their lives and those of their loved ones at the mercy of inhospitable environments or unscrupulous smugglers or human traffickers. This includes persons being pushed to use false identities, and otherwise misrepresenting their circumstances to get their foot in the door. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in 2017 the number of migrants who disappeared or died during such journeys were estimated to be more than 5,000 with most incidents occurring in the Mediterranean.
Regardless of the challenges that migrants face, international migrations have not decreased. According to the UN and the IOM, there are around 260 million international migrants worldwide and the number is quickly rising. The push and pull factors that are at the core of such large number of migrants have become more complex and require new perspectives to better understand them. Migrations and the social and economic impacts that accompany them have climbed to the top of the political agendas of most receiving states. While many political and social institutions see in migrations an asset to the economic well-being of ageing societies, others perceive migrations as a threat to the dominant values and institutions of the nation-state. One thing is certain and that is that international migrations will continue to increase and reshape the world as we know it. Moreover, the way governments and societies decide to deal with its causes and impacts will open new debates on the need to redefine the existing international human rights instruments to protect the most vulnerable of our humanity.
Our third interdisciplinary Migrations conference seeks to build on the success of past events and forge a lasting network of professionals in all fields related to this topic. Our aim is to discuss and explore the main issues, pressing matters and recent developments in this field of research and activity, to identify areas to be subsequently explored in further depth and to generate collaborative action that will lead to real, lasting change in the way migration and migrants are perceived and approached in institutional and informal settings with a view to forming a selective publication to engender further research and collaboration.
Some of our suggested main issues to be approached include (but are not limited to):
• Defining and measuring migration – identifying past, present and new push and pull factors for migration, analysing trends in migration, understanding the political economies of migration, defining categories of migration and migrants, presenting relevant data and instruments in migration studies.
• The current refugee crises – refugee situation, struggles, profiles, stories, efforts for integration, international responses, conditions in refugee camps, conditions for receiving asylum, policies, best practices, international responsibilities, human rights issues, media coverage.
• Policy and politics – migration policy trends in Western societies and worldwide, impacts and effectiveness of existing policies, the resurgence of xenophobia and nativism, centralized vs decentralized policies, “immigration federalism,” geopolitical ramifications of national and international migration policies.
• Legal and political aspects of migration – legal vs illegal immigration, the criminalization and securitization of migration, national and international migration laws, legal provisions for crossing borders, obtaining residency or asylum, migrants’ rights in theory and practice, legal status of EU citizens in post-Brexit UK, legality of US travel bans, new and old barriers to migration.
• Smuggling and Human trafficking – definitions, international, regional and domestic instruments combating smuggling and human trafficking, the political economies of human trafficking.
• Climate change and migration – Natural disasters and forced migration, the need for regional and international regimes dealing with those forced to migrate as a result of climate change.
• Local responses to migration – attitudes towards refugees and/or economic migrants, social and political movements, debates and controversies based on immigration/emigration related issues, exclusion vs inclusion, “sanctuary” policies, compassionate migration.
• Global and local implications of migration – social, political, demographic, and economic impacts for sending and receiving countries, for the migrants themselves and for their host communities.
• Sex, gender, and sexual orientation – the significance of these factors in the experience of the migrant; how is migration experienced by women, trans and non-binary individuals, and those identifying as queer, for instance?
• Integration vs assimilation – debating the differences between integrating immigrants to their new communities, including their language and culture or creating policies to assimilate them into their new environments.
• Policies of exclusion vs inclusion – increasing formal and informal barriers¬ and restrictions vs embracing migrants as new members of the state and their host communities
• Discourses and depictions of migration – Migrants are being “othered” or demonized when depicted as “illegal aliens,” “criminal aliens,” “invaders,” “murderers,” and “rapists.”
• Narratives of displacement – migration stories, folklore, art, community building.
• Migration and the media – depiction of refugees, migrants and migration in the media, the role of social media and new technologies in facilitating migration and maintaining transnational migrant networks, the role of the press in creating the “other” and increasing/defusing social tension between migrants and locals.
• Looking into the future – scenarios for future trends in migration, challenges for the future generations of today’s migrants, future challenges for the sending and receiving countries.
• Working in the Field of Migration – issues, hardships, frustrations, communication needs, big and small victories and bright, hopeful moments of professionals working towards the integration and aid of refugees or migrants in general, studying migration and migrants, drafting or applying migration policies or legislation.
Our main goal is to facilitate dialogue and spark innovative collaborations and discussions at an international level, in a dynamic and interactive setting. Thus, we welcome participants from all relevant disciplines, professions and vocations (NGO personnel, aid workers, researchers, mental and physical health professionals, educators, human rights activists, counselors, social workers, policy makers, journalists, lawyers, judges, politicians, business owners, military personnel, customs workers and members of the border patrol, labour specialists, historians, sociologists, psychologists, economists, anthropologists, ethnographers social media experts, artists and many more).
What to Send
The aim of this inclusive interdisciplinary conference and collaborative networking event is to bring people together and encourage creative conversations in the context of a variety of formats: papers, seminars, workshops, storytelling, performances, poster presentations, panels, q&a’s, round-tables etc. Please feel free to put forward proposals that you think will get the message across, in whatever form.
300 word proposals for participation should be submitted by Friday 31st May 2019. Other forms of participation should be discussed in advance with the Organising Chair.
All submissions will be minimally double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Development Team and the Advisory Board. In practice our procedures usually entail that by the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.
You will be notified of the panel’s decision by Friday 14th June 2019.
If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Friday 13th September 2019.
Abstracts and proposals may be in Word, PDF, RTF or Notepad formats with the following information and in this order:
a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in the programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.
E-mails should be entitled: Migrations Submission.
Where to Send
Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to the Organising Chair and the Project Administrator:
Dr William Arrocha: firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Administrator: email@example.com
What’s so Special About Progressive Connexions Events?
A fresh, friendly, dynamic format – at Progressive Connexions we are dedicated to breaking away from the stuffy, old-fashion conference formats, where endless presentations are read aloud off PowerPoints. We work to bring you an interactive format, where exchange of experience and information is alternated with captivating workshops, engaging debates and round tables, time set aside for getting to know each other and for discussing common future projects and initiatives, all in a warm, relaxed, egalitarian atmosphere.
A chance to network with international professionals – the beauty of our interdisciplinary events is that they bring together professionals from all over the world and from various fields of activity, all joined together by a shared passion. Not only will the exchange of experience, knowledge and stories be extremely valuable in itself, but we seek to create lasting, ever-growing communities around our projects, which will become a valuable resource for those belonging to them.
A chance to be part of constructing change – There is only one thing we love as much as promoting knowledge: promoting real, lasting social change by encouraging our participants to take collective action, under whichever form is most suited to their needs and expertise (policy proposals, measuring instruments, research projects, educational materials, etc.) We will support all such actions in the aftermath of the event as well, providing a platform for further discussions, advice from the experts on our Project Advisory Team and various other tools and intellectual resources, as needed.
An opportunity to discuss things that matter to you – Our events are not only about discussing how things work in the respective field, but also about how people work in that field – what are the struggles, problems and solutions professionals have found in their line of work, what are the areas where better communication among specialists is needed and how the interdisciplinary approach can help bridge those gaps and help provide answers to questions from specific areas of activity.
An unforgettable experience – When participating in a Progressive Connexions event, there is a good chance you will make some long-time friends. Our group sizes are intimate, our venues are comfortable and relaxing and our event locations are suited to the history and culture of the event.
Progressive Connexions believes it is a mark of personal courtesy and professional respect to your colleagues that all delegates should attend for the full duration of the meeting. If you are unable to make this commitment, please do not submit an abstract or proposal for presentation.
Please note: Progressive Connexions is a not-for-profit network and we are not in a position to be able to assist with conference travel or subsistence, nor can we offer discounts off published rates and fees.