Refugee crisis in Europe

migration crisis

Migration is an increasingly salient and controversial topic within the European social and political space. This is particularly true since the beginning of 2015, when an influx of migrants led to a surge in popularity amongst radical right parties in many countries.

The Einaudi Center and Cornell’s Institute for European Studies (CIES) launched a migration initiative in the fall of 2015 that seeks to connect these issues and address the question of how European societies, and Europe as a whole, are addressing the opportunities and challenges that accompany their increasing diversity.  

Past events

Amara Lakhous, 2014-15 Luigi Einaudi Chair in European and International Studies, delivers a Messenger Lecture on October 22, 2015 in Kaufman Auditorium answering the question of, “Why is Europe Failing at the Issue of Immigration?”  In his lecture Dr. Lakhous argued that immigration, particularly from the Muslim world, has become a “bargaining chip” in politics and the media.  “If the immigrant is a ‘bargaining chip,’ it’s not hard to enlarge the metaphor by saying that politicians and journalists are merchants, and citizens are simply customers.”

“We have 60 million people on the move… It’s the population of Italy or more than the population of the Roman Empire at its highest that has been displaced. We need to start thinking of it in a different way. It is not a refugee crisis but a global population redistribution.” Mostafa Minawi, Assistant Professor of History and Director of the CIES' Ottoman and Turkish Studies Initiative (OTSI), presenting at the Cornell Trustee-Council Annual Meeting (TCAM) in October 2015.

Together with Satchit Balsari, Assistant Professor at Weill Cornell Medical College, and Laura Spitz, Associate Dean for International Affairs at the Law School and Interim Vice Provost for International Affairs, he intoduced the conference: "Beyond Survival: Livelihood Strategies for Refugees in the Middle East", Nov. 6-8, co-hosted by the Clarke Initiative for Law and Development in the Middle East and North Africa, Cornell University Law School, Weill Cornell Global Emergency Medicine Division, and Ottoman and Turkish Studies Initiative.

On November 18th, 2015 noted Greek journalist John Psaropoulos delivered a lecture titled, “Open Door or Fortress? Greek and European Responses to the Refugee Crisis.” Combining anecdotal evidence, personal experience and hard facts, Mr. Psaropoulos discussed the validity and sustainability of the Greek and European responses to the refugee crisis. The lecture was hosted by the Einaudi Center and the Cornell Institute for European Studies as a part of the Foreign Policy Distinguished Speaker Series. Click here to watch the video of his talk.

On March 14, 2016, Turkish Parliamentarian Safak Pavey delivered a lecture titled "Humanitarian Disasters and the Refugee Crisis: Turkey-European Struggles for European Consensus." Ms. Pavey's talk was rich with anecdotes from her own experiences while making references from Turkish politics and culture. She detailed out how the solution to the present crisis lay in investing in peace & security, development and human rights. The lecture was held at 165 McGraw Hall from 5:00PM - 6:30PM and was a part fo the Foreign Policy Distinguished Speaker Series. The video of this talk is available here

A roundtable discussion entitled, "Syria and the Middle East: Refugees, Internally Displaced Persons and Asylum Seekers in Long-term Global Crises" was held on March 22, 2016. It featured leaders and scholars including Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi, former U.N. Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General; Chantal Thomas, Professor of Law at Cornell Law School and Director of the Clarke Initiative for Law and Development in the Middle East and North Africa, Alex Aleinikoff, former UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva, Visiting Professor of Law at Columbia University; and Lisel Hintz, Post Doctoral Fellow at the Einaudi Center. The event highlighted the challenges relating to protracted conflict and displacement, focusing on Syria and the Middle East. Click here to watch the video of the discussion. 

On May 2, 2016, Dr. Andreas Wüst delivered a lecture entitled, “Integration of Refugees in Germany: The Refugee Crisis and Beyond.” Dr. Wüst is the head of the refugee integration unit in the Ministry of Integration in the German state of Baden – Württemberg. He discussed the legislations, policy and politics behind this crisis present to Europe and the world, the Dublin Agreement, the role of Germany and chancellor Merkel and the practical issues related with reintegration. This lecture was also a part of the Foreign Policy Distinguished Speaker Series.