Experts & Staff
Senior Policy Analyst; Assistant Director for Research, International Program
Meghan Benton is a Senior Policy Analyst and Assistant Director for Research for the International Program at MPI. She is also a Nonresident Fellow with MPI Europe. Her areas of expertise include immigrant integration (especially labor market integration and integration at the local level), free movement and Brexit, and the role of technological and social innovation in responses to the refugee and migration crisis in Europe.
Dr. Benton previously was a Senior Researcher at Nesta, the United Kingdom’s innovation body, where she led projects on digital government and the future of local public services. Prior to joining Nesta, she was a policy analyst at MPI from 2012-15, where she co-led an MPI-International Labor Organization six-country project on pathways to skilled work for newly arrived immigrants in Europe. She also worked on Project UPSTREAM, a four-country project on mainstreaming immigrant integration in the European Union. Previously, she worked for the Constitution Unit at University College London and the Institute for Public Policy Research.
Dr. Benton received her PhD in political science from University College London in 2010, where her PhD research focused on citizenship and the rights of noncitizens. She also holds a master’s degree in legal and political theory (with distinction) from University College London, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and literature from Warwick University.
2016 saw the emergence of a "whole-of-society" approach to the refugee crisis, with a number of new actors, including many from the private sector, engaging with humanitarian protection issues in creative ways. This engagement and the energy and diversity of these partners, in the tech sector and beyond, creates both opportunities and challenges for governments and more traditional civil-society organizations.
With the seemingly endless flows of asylum seekers and migrants abated, at least for the present, Europe is now faced with the long-term and complex challenges of integration of these newcomers. This report examines the political, social, and economic contexts and immigration histories of European countries and how the current integration challenges are complicated by existing challenges of fragmentation and social unrest. Still, the authors find some cause for optimism.
Tech communities in Europe and North America have been spurred into action by the refugee crisis, developing apps and other tools that can be used along the journey, immediately upon arrival, and for longer-term integration into the host society. This report maps several types of emerging tools and considers how policymakers responsible for refugee integration might play a more active role in supporting the most promising.
Despite the broad appeal of the concept of "mainstreaming" in integration policy in Europe, few agree on its exact meaning. This report synthesizes the findings of the UPSTREAM project's country case studies, which examined the extent to which governments in France, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom are employing mainstreaming to meet the needs of rapidly diversifying populations.