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The Mediterranean Dimension of the Refugee Crisis: Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities for Cooperation
September 16, 2016

CUNY Graduate Center, New York


The Mediterranean Dimension of the Refugee Crisis: Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities for Cooperation

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Record numbers of people are on the move throughout the Mediterranean region in search of protection or opportunity, placing considerable pressure on national asylum and migration systems and fueling anxiety among publics about their governments’ ability to manage these flows. Just a few days ahead of the UN High-Level Meeting on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants, the Government of Catalonia partnered with the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) and the City University of New York (CUNY) to foster a productive dialogue not only on the root causes and challenges of this crisis, but also on innovative solutions. In particular, the meeting focused on the specific Mediterranean dimension of the current refugee crisis, as well as on how governments and actors in the Mediterranean region can work together to expand durable solutions for refugees in innovative ways and coordinate efforts to build welcoming communities for newcomers. This roundtable event was open to the public and media.


9:00 am                      Coffee and Welcome

9:30 – 10:00 am       Opening Remarks

  • Patrizia Nobbe, Associate Director, European Union Studies Center, City University of New York
  • Raul Romeva, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Institutional Relations, and Transparency, Government of Catalonia
  • Kathleen Newland, Senior Fellow, MPI

10:00 – 11:15 am    Session I: New Regional Perspectives and Solutions to Address the Mediterranean Crisis
This opening session examined how regional cooperation can complement international action to address the refugee crisis in the Mediterranean. What factors are driving current flows of refugees and migrants across the Mediterranean, and how have the routes they are using to access protection and opportunity shifted? What roles are different actors playing at the international, national, regional, and local levels to help manage mixed flows across the Mediterranean, and expand protection for those in need? How can policymakers in the Mediterranean better share responsibility for providing protection and help countries on the frontline manage these flows and meet refugees’ needs?

Moderator: Manuel Manonelles, Director General for Multilateral and European Affairs, Government of Catalonia

Opening Remarks:

  • T. Alexander Aleinikoff, Former United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, and Senior Fellow, MPI
  • Gregory Maniatis, Senior European Fellow, MPI, and Senior Advisor to Peter Sutherland, UN Special Representative for Migration
  • Philip Spoerri, Permanent Observer and Head of Delegation, International Committee of the Red Cross Directorate
  • Roger Albinyana, Director, Department of Euro-Mediterranean Policies, European Institute of the Mediterranean


11:30 am– 1:00 pm   Session II: New Solutions: Forging Alliances for Innovative Integration Models
As record numbers of refugees and migrants undertake journeys across the Mediterranean, policymakers are faced with the challenging tasks of receiving, protecting, and integrating new arrivals—at every stage of their migration journey—while maintaining public confidence in an increasingly immigration-skeptic climate. This session examines what we know about promising approaches to settle and integrate newcomers, including the links between development and stability in the region and integration, and how to garner support for these policies in host communities. A critical component of this is understanding what drives complex public reactions to immigration, and how policymakers and civil society can innovate to combat xenophobia, better understand rising support for populist parties, and assuage fears of loss of identity.  

Moderator: Kathleen Newland, Senior Fellow, MPI

Opening Remarks:

  • Parvati Nair, Director, United Nations University Institute on Globalization, Culture, and Mobility
  • Cécile Riallant, Program Manager, United Nations Development Program Joint Migration and Development Initiative
  • Meghan Benton, Senior Policy Analyst, MPI


Registration deadline for this event has passed.
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