Experts & Staff
Director of Research, MPI International Program and MPI Europe
Meghan Benton is Director of Research for the International Program at MPI as well as for MPI Europe. Her areas of expertise are immigrant integration (especially labor market integration and integration at the local level) and the role of technological and social innovation in immigration and integration policy. She also has an interest in labor migration and mobility; she has written extensively on Brexit and free movement, as well as on how labor market disruption affects immigration and integration. She convenes MPI Europe’s Integration Futures Working Group, which seeks to develop a forward-looking agenda for integration policy 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.
Amid high levels of immigration, the roles of religion, culture, and identity in liberal democratic societies in Europe have come under the microscope. Few have found it easy to identify a core set of shared values and to communicate them evenhandedly to newcomers. Amid clashes over burqas and belonging, this report explores the tradeoffs policymakers face in defining, instilling, and managing disagreement over values.
This MPI webinar explores the recent “tech turn” in refugee protection and integration, and considers whether the tech community's interventions in this area are likely to have a lasting impact. Speakers discuss the most promising innovations and their broader implications for policymakers. They discuss the challenges and opportunities for governments as they seek to work with new actors such as tech companies. And they also consider the broader digital infrastructure needs of refugee camps and services—including the crucial issue of Internet and mobile connectivity for refugees.
As the process of removing the United Kingdom from the European Union gets underway, the rights of the 1.2 million UK citizens or “Brexpats” who have chosen to live in one of the 27 other EU countries have been largely overshadowed. This MPI Europe commentary explores some of the many complexities ahead in negotiating rights for these individuals in a post-Brexit world.
This Transatlantic Council Statement explores the integration questions that the recent refugee and migration crisis in Europe has brought to the fore and their effect on broader governance structures for managing migration. As the immediate pressures have abated, policymakers have refocused their energies on preventing the next crisis and ensuring that newcomers—and the communities in which they settle—have the tools to thrive.
This MPI Europe report examines the challenges that cities across the European Union are facing when helping new arrivals access education and training, including limited funding and need for better monitoring of program outcomes. It also highlights innovative ways municipalities support newly arrived migrants as they enter the education system and local labor force, including two-generation and co-located services as well as "whole-place" approaches.
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.