1st Global Conference (2017)

1st Global Conference
Migration and Diasporas

Saturday 2nd December 2017 – Sunday 3rd December 2017
Vienna, Austria

In the past few years, humanity has been confronted with what the UN calls “the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the United Nations”: starvation, war and political oppression have forcibly displaced a record number of over 65.6 million people worldwide, leading to major social and political turmoil across the globe. Refugees from developing countries such as Syria, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda and more are risking their lives in perilous journeys to escape certain demise, only to often find themselves trapped in precarious conditions in refugee camps across Europe, facing the ill sentiments of disgruntled locals. At the same time, the EU and USA are struggling to balance their immigration and asylum policies between their professed commitment to upholding human rights and the growing pressures from increasingly popular and vocal nationalistic movements.

All these recent developments have also added to the levels of uncertainty faced by the millions of economic migrants, in search of a better life. Developments built on nationalistic sentiment and aversion towards immigrants, such as the British Brexit or the attempted US travel bans and waves of deportations have made members of Diasporas reconsider their options and renegotiate their identities.

According to the UN and the International Organization for Migration, there are around 250 million migrants worldwide and the number is quickly rising. If they were to make up a nation, it would be the fifth largest in the world. Migration is becoming a more and more pressing social and political matter, one that will reshape the world as we know it and the way governments and societies decide to handle this crisis will be defining a new era for human rights and international relations.

Our first interdisciplinary Migration and Diasporas conference seeks to create a lasting network of professionals in all fields related to this topic, to isolate, 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.

Some of our suggested main issues to be approached include (but are not limited to):

  • Defining and measuring migration – identifying and analyzing trends in migration, defining categories of migration and migrants, presenting relevant data and instruments in migration studies etc.
  • The current refugee crisis – 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 etc.
  • Global and local social responses to migration – attitudes towards refugees and/or economic migrants, social and political movements, debates and controversies based on immigration/emigration related issues
  • Global and local implications of migration – social, political, demographic, economic, religious etc consequences for both the countries of origin and those of destination, for the migrants themselves and for Diasporas.
  • The migrant – case studies, profiles, typologies, integration and identity issues, motivations etc.
  • Narratives of displacement – migration and diaspora stories, folklore, art, community building etc.
  • Diasporas – community structure, struggles and achievements, diaspora relationships with the country of origin or residence, diaspora and power, diaspora social, economic and political contributions etc.
  • Policy and politics – migration policy trends in Western societies and worldwide, impact and effectiveness of existing policies, necessary changes in policy, geopolitical ramifications of national and international migration policies
  • Legal aspects of migration – legal vs illegal immigration, national and international migration laws, legal provisions for obtaining residency or asylum, migrants’ rights in theory and practice, legal status of EU citizens in post-Brexit UK, legality of US travel bans etc.
  • Migration and the media – depiction of refugees, migrants and migration in the media, role of social media and new technologies in facilitating migration and maintaining relationships with the diaspora, role of the press in increasing/defusing social tension between migrants and locals etc.
  • Looking into the future – scenarios for future trends in migration, evolutions of diasporas, challenges for the future generations of today’s migrants, future challenges for the countries of origin/destination etc.
  • Professing in the Field of Migration and Diasporas – 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, protecting country borders from illegal immigration etc.

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, 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)