MiReKoc 10th Year Symposium “Border, Mobility and Diversity: Old Questions, New Challenges”
Douglas S. Massey (Princeton University)
Nermin Abadan-Unat (Boğaziçi University)
Joaquín Arango (Complutense University of Madrid), Ibrahim Awad (The American University in Cairo), Elizabeth Collett (Migration Policy Institute), Michael Collyer (University of Sussex), Franck Düvell (University of Oxford), Ahmet İçduygu (Koç University), Ayhan Kaya (Istanbul Bilgi University), Frank Kalter (University of Mannheim), Kemal Kirişci (Brookings Institution), Tara Brian (International Organization for Migration), Eva Østergaard-Nielsen (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), Ferruccio Pastore (International and European Forum for Migration Research), Rinus Penninx (University of Amsterdam), Yasemin Soysal (University of Essex), Deniz Yükseker (Koç University)
Migration studies is a relatively new field of academic scholarship which, in spite of its novelty, has gathered exceptional momentum in understanding the real-world situations through theory. Over the last two years the questions of ethnic diversity, integration problems, demographic demise and the management of refugee movements indicate that there is a growing need for a policy making process which utilizes the findings of both theory and research. However, the field of migration studies is also marked by shortcomings and biases, leaving room for improvement. These include the over accumulation of research about certain topics, aspects of migration and geographies, the domination of the receiving country’s perspective in the theoretical frameworks and the lack of extensity of the systematic and sound research methodologies. Within this context, research centers play a central role in promoting studies on theory and research, and in linking them with policy.
The international migration symposium with the theme of “Border, Mobility and Diversity: Old Questions, New Challenges” took an inter-disciplinary approach to draw on the past and current state of migration studies and to determine a vision and direction for its future. It was aimed to bring together a wide range of scholars, researchers, policy makers and organizations to discuss various aspects of migration studies.
Three main themes of the symposium were determined as:
Borders and Border Regimes
Borders are being defined and redefined in this global age, reflecting on the patterns and dynamics of migration. Many states today are adopting policies to facilitate the mobility of certain populations in their territories, while implementing strict border and visa regimes to regulate or restrict the movement of others. Under the current conditions, the issues of borders and irregular migration emerge as new challenges to the growing “management” rhetoric in the debate over immigration and asylum policies.
Migration and Mobility: Conceptualizing the Movement of Persons
Technological innovations in transportation and communications facilitate the potential for international migration around the world. As the movement of persons across borders increased, accelerated and diversified based on structural factors and/or individual motives, scholars began questioning the convenience of the concept of migration as a way of capturing different patterns and categories. In the current age new concepts, such as mobility have risen to prominence to better illustrate the fluidity of movements across geographies.
Diversity and Integration
Over the past decades, the concepts of diversity and integration have served as prominent research lenses through which to elaborate the consequences of migration for the local, national and international settings. These two concepts are essential for analysis, development and evaluation of migration and refugee policies. Within this context the following questions are crucial: How will policy makers maintain diversity while developing policies to integrate incoming migrants? Is it possible to move beyond the zero-sum approach on diversity and integration?
The discussions were based on these three main themes, touching upon a wide range of topics in the field of migration studies. The symposium was hosted by Migration Research Center at Koç University (MiReKoc) in Istanbul, On the occasion of its 10th year anniversary in the field of migration research. Established in August 2004, MiReKoc provides an institutionalized hub for migration research in Turkey, encompassing domestic, regional and global facets of migration. The two-day symposium included four roundtable sessions on migration theory & research, migration policy, the Turkish migration regime and migration research centers with prominent guest speakers. Moreover, a call for papers (CfP) was open to all scholars, researchers and graduate students, from various disciplines including political science, international relations, economics, sociology, anthropology, history and demography who are interested in presenting their cutting-edge research on: borders and border regimes; migration and mobility; diversity and integration.