Beyond Cities of Refuge: Final Conference


Over the past years, academics and policymakers have increasingly pointed towards the key role of local authorities in the reception and integration of forced migrants. Such attention runs the danger of glossing over the complex and highly contextualized character of the processes by which forced migrants arrive – and find and are granted a place in a given local context.

At the end of a five-year research project on ‘Cities of Refuge’, the researchers involved host an in-depth discussion with prominent scholars and policymakers, seeking to move  beyond generalizations and easy conclusions, explicitly focusing on the complexities at hand but also on the best practices.

During this two-day event, on the 30th and 31st of May, panels of selected academics and policymakers will discuss some of the key themes and findings that emerged from research into local reception policies in Europe. The conference will take place in Middelburg, the human rights city in the South West of the Netherlands where the Cities of Refuge team was based.

Those seeking to attend the conference in-person or online can register via:

‘Cities of Refuge’ Conference Programme

Monday 30th of May

10:00                Walk-in & registration, coffee/tea

10:30                Formal opening: Harald Bergmann (Mayor of Middelburg), Barbara Oomen

11:00                Panel 1: Local divergence beyond discretion and shadow politics

                        Chair: Barbara Oomen

                        Presenters: Maurizio Ambrosini, Jonathan Darling, Sarah Spencer, Sara Miellet

12:30 - 13:30    Lunch

13:30 - 15:00    Panel II: What can local governments do? Domestic competences of local government

                       Chair: BarbaraOomen

                       Speakers: Martha Davis, Elif Durmuş, Giovanni Boggero, Delphine Burriez

15:00 -15:30     Coffee/tea

15:30 - 17:00    Panel III: Local authorities and civil society: Partners, competitors, strangers (or all at once)?

                       Chair: Moritz Baumgärtel

                       Presenters: Maurizio Artero, Federico Alagna, Christiane Heimann, Gülce Şafak Özdemir

17:00               Aperitivo

19:00               Conference dinner

Tuesday 31st of May

09:00               Walk-in, coffee/tea

09:30 - 11:00    Panel IV: If mayors ruled migration: Local political leadership in migration governance

                       Chair: Barbara Oomen

                       Presenters: Tihomir Sabchev, Franziska Ziegler, Miriam Haselbacher, Juan Carlos Triviño-Salazar

11:00 - 11:30    Coffee/tea

11:30 - 12:30    Roundtable I: The role of local authorities in community sponsorship of refugees

                       Chair: Tihomir Sabchev & Moritz Baumgärtel

12:30 - 13:30    Lunch

13:30 - 15:00    Panel V: Symbolism, city branding and the long afterlives of local refugee solidarity models

                       Chair: Sam Wong (UCR)

                       Presenters: Antje Missbach, Karin Geuijen, Lefteris Papagiannakis, Sara Miellet

15:00 - 15:30    Coffee/tea

15:30 - 17:00    Roundtable II: Inter-city networks: Fruitful marketplace or competitive scramble for resources?

                       Chair: Elif Durmuş

                       Participants: Merve Agca, M. Murat Erdogan, Anouk Flamant, Dirk Gebhardt, Frederique Hanotier, 

                       Christiane Heimann, Thomas Lacroix, Agusti Fernandez de Losada, Lefteris Papagiannakis, 

                        Jaume Puigpinos Serra, Colleen Thouez, Octavi de la Varga Mas, Bob White

17:00 - 17:30    Closing: Barbara Oomen & Bert van den Brink (Dean, UCR)