SOAS University of London

SOAS scholar hosts major international symposium on forced migration and displacement

21 March 2019

Laura Hammond, Professor of Development Studies at SOAS University of London, is hosting experts from around the world meeting in Addis Ababa today to develop solutions to tackle the major political, humanitarian and security challenges caused by forced displacement.

Professor Hammond, GCRF Challenge Leader for Security, Protracted Conflict, Refugees and Forced Displacement said: “This symposium comes at an important time, in which the African Union has designated 2019 the Year of Refugees, Returnees, and Displaced Persons, and the newly signed Global Compacts on Refugees and on Safe, Orderly and Managed Migration are being turned into action. The research community working on the Horn of Africa has a lot to offer as we think together about how best to respond to the challenges of protection of migrants and those who have been displaced.”

Millions of people are forced from their homes every year due to conflict, disease, poverty, natural disasters and hunger - making these individuals, families and communities vulnerable to exploitation, violence and further hardship.

The multidisciplinary ‘Migration and Displacement Symposium’ held over the next two days (21-22 March) is funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), through the UK Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), and is being run in partnership with the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Organisation for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA).

The global research community has a key role to play in working with policy makers, NGOs and communities to address the root causes of people feeling forced to leave their homes. Over 68.5 million people are displaced globally making it a major international development issue:

  • Forced migration one of the most intractable global challenges, thwarting efforts to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Forced migration is both a cause and consequence of other development challenges, including food insecurity, lack of access to quality education, and poor health
  • Forced migration undermines the resilience of individuals, households, communities and nations

The Global Challenges Research Fund supports cutting-edge research and innovation that addresses the global issues faced by developing countries. It harnesses the expertise of the UK’s world-leading researchers, focusing on: funding challenge-led disciplinary and interdisciplinary research; strengthening capability for research, innovation and knowledge exchange; and providing an agile response to emergencies where there is an urgent research or on-the-ground need.