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MRU Student Conference 2016

Moving Beyond Borders: Comparative Perspectives on Refuge

3rd June 2016, 10am – 6pm

Shoes and socks belonging to Syrian migrants are hung to dry near the Serbian border with Hungary, near the village of Horgos August 27, 2015. Hungary made plans on Wednesday to reinforce its southern border with helicopters, mounted police and dogs, and was also considering using the army as record numbers of migrants, many of them Syrian refugees, passed through coils of razor-wire into Europe. REUTERS/Marko Djurica

 

2015 has witnessed the largest mass migration of people to and in Europe since the Second World War, partly because of the conflict in Syria which the UN described in 2013 as ‘the most dramatic humanitarian crisis we have ever faced’ (UNHCR, 2013).

However, the EU has struggled to respond to this crisis. States have drifted between hostility and hospitality, pulled apart by the varying demands of domestic and regional politics and the inconsistent perception of refugees within the media and among the public.

In this complex setting reflection is essential if we are to truly understand the reception of refugees within the EU. But more than this, examining the ways in which refugees have been received both in the past and in non-European contexts provide essential insights – how could the EU or states and civil society produce more effective measures for receiving, recognizing and integrating refugees? What informs and underpins media representations of refugees and how does it shape refugee reception? This conference invites a broad discussion on the dilemma of refugee reception in order to gain a better understanding of how and why Europe has struggled to respond to the ‘Refugee Crisis’.

This conference, part of the Refuge in a Moving World series and hosted by the Department of Geography, is being convened by an interdisciplinary team of MSc students affiliated with the Migration Research Unit at UCL with the support of Dr. Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh and Dr. Claire Dwyer.

It will offer a space for students from across UCL and also from other universities in the UK and the EU to present papers that will help us better understand the history, causes, experiences, representations and implications of these shifts in politics, people and perceptions.

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