International Conference on Forced MigrationWith funding from the Luskin Endowment for Thought Leadership

International Conference on Forced Migration

Friday, April 14, 2023
9:00 AM - 5:30 PM (Pacific Time)

International Conference on Forced Migration

April 14-15, 2023

UCLA Center for the Study of International Migration

International Institute

Division of Social Science

Center for European and Russian Studies

Latin American Institute

Promise Institute for Human Rights

Canadian Studies Center

With funding from the Luskin Endowment for Thought Leadership

Across the globe, people are fleeing violence and conflict in search of safety abroad. What seemed exceptional back in 2015 – when hundreds of thousands of displaced Syrians and Afghans crossed through the Balkans to find refuge in Germany and elsewhere – is now a sadly familiar phenomenon, with Venezuela’s economic collapse pushing millions to migrate and war in Ukraine triggering a still larger migration.

And while the pressures generating forced migration have grown in complexity and intensity, policy responses are inadequate, with states in the developing world bearing the burden and states in the developed world willing neither to accept refugees nor provide the financial support that poorer hosting states require.

The International Conference on Forced Migration in the 21 st Century: Causes, Consequences, and Responses – to be held at UCLA on April 14 and 15 – will explore this difficult, often heart- rending reality. Looking at the broad sweep of forced migration around the world, the conference will reap the insights from the most recent social science research.

The conference will begin on Friday, April 14, with a morning session debating a new, pathbreaking book, The Refugee System, which seeks to explain the global structures that shape refugee movements worldwide. On Friday afternoon the conference will segue to a set of keynote addresses, attending homing in on the mechanisms impeding effective refugee protection and charting new, potential paths forward.

Saturday, April 15, will be devoted to a scholarly conference, with papers written by scholars from Europe, Latin America, Canada, and universities across the United States addressing forced migration in its global dimension.

The conference, to be held in person, is open to the public. Register here.

A hybrid option will be available for Friday, April 14th. Zoom Registration Here.




Friday, April 14, 9-11:30 am, Bunche Hall 10383

Author meets critics panel on The Refugee System: A Sociological Approach (Polity Press, 2023)

Authors:  Rawan Arar (Department of Law, Societies, and Justice, University of Washington); David FitzGerald (Department of Sociology, University of California, San Diego)

Critics:  Ahilan Arulanantham (School of Law, UCLA); Cecilia Menjivar (Department of Sociology, UCLA); Margaret Peters (Department of Political Science, UCLA)


Friday, April 14: 1-6 pm, Luskin Conference Center

Plenary sessions on migration governance and the global refugee regime

1:15– 2:15 pm: Tamirace Fakhoury, Department of Politics and Society, Aalborg Universitet, Denmark: “The response to displacement from Syria: a critical appraisal of the architecture of responsibility-sharing in the global refugee regime”


2:30–3:30 pm: James Hathaway, School of Law, University of Michigan, “The De-Legalization of Global Refugee Protection”


3:45–4:45 pm: Gioconda Herrera, FLACSO, Ecuador, “Looking beyond the binary of migrants vs. asylum seekers in South America”



Saturday, April 15: Scholarly Conference, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Chicano Studies Center Library, Haines Hall 144; and
Anthropology Reading Room, Haines Hall 352


Morning sessions, 9:30 AM – 11:30 noon 

Policy: Anthropology Reading Room, Haines Hall 352

Lamis Abdelaaty, Department of Political Science, Syracuse University: “The Emissary Speaks: Political Agency in Refugee-UNHCR Correspondence”

Sabrineh Ardalan, School of Law, Harvard University: “Dragnet Surveillance in Immigration & Emerging Biometric Technologies “ 

Yael Schacher, Refugees International: “A Contradictory Legacy: The Holocaust and the Development of U.S. Refugee Policy and Asylum Law”

Commentator: Ingrid Eagly, School of Law, UCLA

Moderator: Gail Kligman, Department of Sociology, UCLA

Categories: Chicano Studies Reading Room

Luisa Feline Freier, Department of Social and Political Sciences, Universidad del Pacifico: “The Power of Categorization: Reflections on the Category ‘Venezuelans Displaced Abroad’”

Margaret Peters, Department of Political Science, UCLA: “Who's Deserving? How People Experiencing Displacement View Migrant Identity and Asylum Policy”

Abigail Weitzman, Department of Sociology, University of Texas-Austin: “It’s Complicated: Migration Motivations Among Asylum Seekers and Other Migrants in Need of International Protection in Costa Rica”

Commentator: Ruben Hernandez-Leon, Department of Sociology, UCLA

Moderator: Inmaculada Garcia-Sanchez, Department of Education, UCLA

Afternoon sessions, 1 pm – 3:00 pm 

Repression/exclusion: Anthropology Reading Room

Patricia Ehrkamp, Department of Geography, University of Kentucky: “Quiet geopolitics: the everyday practices of exclusion in the admission and resettlement of refugees”

Alethia Fernandez de la Reguera, Institute of Legal Studies at UNAM: “Militarization of migration governance and policing by the Armed Forces: the effects on institutions and migrants’ access to rights in Mexico”

Lama Mourad, Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University: “Local Politics Beyond Borders: The Diffusion of Anti-Syrian Curfews in Lebanon”

Commentator: Kevan Harris, Department of Sociology, UCLA

Moderator: Cecilia Menjivar, Department of Sociology, UCLA

Deservingness: Chicano Studies Reading Room

Sophia Balakian, School of Integrative Studies, George Mason University: “Creating Fraudulent Families: DNA Testing in Refugee Resettlement from Kenya”

Kimberly Beaudreau, Department of History, University of Illinois, Chicago: “Moral Obligations and the Economic Migrant Category in Southeast Asia, 1975-1981”

Laura Madokoro, Department of History, Carleton University: “Power in Sanctuary: Exploring the Role of Time in Shaping Refugee Experiences in the late 20th and early 21st centuries”

Commentator: Laurie Kain Hart, Department of Anthropology, UCLA

Moderator: Jamie Goodwin-White, Department of Geography, UCLA

Afternoon sessions, 3:30-5:30

Migration Management:  Anthropology Reading Room, Haines Hall 352 

Rawan Arar, Department of Law, Societies, and Justice, University of Washington: “The Paradox of Illiberal Sanctuary”

Maciej Duszczyk, Centre of Migration Research, University of Warsaw: “Political and social challenges related to the influx of war refugees from Ukraine to Poland and illegal crossings of the Polish-Belarusian border. Similarities and differences”

Kelsey Norman, Baker Institute for Public Policy, Rice University: “Migration Management Aid, Governance, and Repression”

Austin Kocher, TRAC, Syracuse University: “The Withering Away of Refugee Protection: Depoliticizing Asylum Seeking Through Managed Migration Policies Along the US-Mexico Border”

Commentator: Rogers Brubaker, Department of Sociology, UCLA

Moderator: Min Zhou, Department of Sociology, UCLA

Adaptation: Chicano Studies Reading Room

Marta Pachocka, SGH Warsaw School of Economics; Karolina Łukasiewicz, Centre of Migration Research, University of Warsaw; Dr Karolina Podgórska (Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin & Centre of Migration Research, University of Warsaw); Naranovich, SGH Warsaw School of Economics Multilevel migration governance in a crisis context. Polish cities’ response to the arrival of forced migrants from Ukraine”


Blair Sackett, Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University: “Shattered Dreams: Protracted Displacement and The Role of Institutions in Economic Pathways in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya”

Thomas Soehl, Department of Sociology, McGill University: “The Paths to Refuge: Syrians’ Migration Trajectories to Germany and Canada”

Commentator: Roger Waldinger, Department of Sociology, UCLA

Contact: Valentina Floegel

Sponsor(s): Center for Study of International Migration, Latin American Institute, UCLA International Institute, Center for European and Russian Studies, Canadian Studies Program, The Promise Institute for Human Rights at UCLA School of Law