“Innovations in Forced Migration” Showcasing research from the Refugee Research Network (RRN) and beyond

Conference Report

On June 15 and 16, 2015, the Refugee Research Network (RRN) hosted a conference entitled, “Innovations in Forced Migration.” The conference brought together 61 scholars (faculty and students), practitioners, and policymakers from across Canada and internationally to mobilize knowledge on innovations in forced migration. Organized in a workshop format, where all participants were able to attend all of the sessions, the conference was comprised of seven panels, one public keynote address, and a book launch where three recent publications were showcased. A public book fair and poster session displayed publications from the field of forced migration from the past five years and highlighted success stories of the RRN’s research clusters and networks. The event concluded with a facilitated session that sought to identify and prioritize next steps in knowledge mobilization support for RRN members as the first round of funding comes to an end. The workshop was supported with a SSHRC Connection Grant.

Presenters focused on new and emerging research on a range of topics in multidisciplinary and cross-sectoral panels. Recordings of most presentations are available on the RRN website (www.refugeeresearch.net). The conference aimed to increase understandings of complex, multi-dimensional forced migration issues and inform effective policy and programming responses. The specific objectives of the event, as identified by the conference organizers, were:

  • To creatively engage researchers, practitioners and students in partnerships across disciplines, sectors, thematic areas and geographic areas;
  • To transform the growing field of forced migration studies; and,
  • To propose innovative solutions to displacement challenges.

The conference was aimed at members of the RRN and key scholars and students in the expanding field of refugee and forced migration studies.

All of the major research centres on forced migration in the world – at York University, Georgetown University, Northwestern University, Oxford University, University of London, University of East London, Makerere University (Uganda), Witwatersrand University (South Africa), Calcutta Research Group (India), University of New South Wales (Australia), Javeriana University (Colombia) and University of Tehran (Iran) – were invited to participate as presenters, panel chairs and/or discussants.

This provided a unique opportunity for innovative collaboration across a range of academic disciplines and geographic regions. Representatives from government, non-governmental organizations, and the United Nations also participated in the conference. These participants on the frontlines of service delivery and policymaking offered different perspectives on forced migration issues and had the opportunity to learn about the newest research on a range of ongoing and emerging themes.

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