Fleeing Conflict—Trajectories of Displaced Persons
On 3 November 2016, BICC hosted its annual International Academic Conference, focussing this year on the pressing global issue of internal displacement and refugee movements. Almost 65 million people are currently displaced worldwide, most of whom have been displaced for more than five years. Entitled “Fleeing Conflict—Trajectories of Displaced Persons”, the conference brought together academics from around the world to present and discuss conceptual and empirical research on the causes, consequences of and solutions for forced migration in current conflicts and displacement settings.
In his welcome address, Thomas Grünewald, State Secretary at the Ministry for Innovation, Science and Research of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia stressed the importance of innovative research on displacement and integration. Unlike some of the discourse in this field, the conference focussed on the issue of displacement from the perspective of the displaced themselves, highlighting their agency in the sometimes cyclical and often interrupted processes of departure, transit and arrival. Three consecutive panels were convened, beginning with scholarly presentations on the “Causes and Conditions of Displacement”, “(Interrupted) Transit and Forced Immobility” and finally, “Durable Solutions for Protracted Displacement”. A concluding panel summarized some of the key points of the day, including the need for more political solutions that target the root causes, and not only the consequences, of protracted displacement.
The conference was generously funded by the Foundation for International Dialogue of the Savings Bank in Bonn and the US Consulate General in Düsseldorf.