All seminars take place at 5pm in Seminar Room 1, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford Department of International Development. No registration is required* and all are welcome to attend.

Seminar Series on Global Refugee Policy

Global refugee policy is a formal statement of, and proposed course of action in response to, a ‘problem’ relating to protection, solutions or assistance for refugees or other persons of concern to the global refugee regime. It is discussed and approved within UNHCR’s governing structures, and is intended to either limit the behaviour of governments or guide UNHCR’s activities. Despite the time and resources invested in the making, implementation and evaluation of global refugee policy, and concerns about the elements and implications of particular policies, our understanding of the process that leads to these policies at the global level, and factors affecting their implementation at the local level, is surprisingly limited.

Building on discussions at the RSC’s 30th Anniversary Conference and the December 2014 Special Issue of Journal of Refugee Studies on the topic, this seminar series will examine particular aspects of the global refugee policy process to further our understanding of how global refugee policy is made, implemented and evaluated, and the extent to which a more critical understanding of this process contributes to our ability to influence outcomes.

Despite the attention paid to new examples of ‘global refugee policy’, we know surprisingly little about the process by which it is made and implemented. Building on the December 2014 special issue of the Journal of Refugee Studies, this seminar introduces the concept of ‘global refugee policy’ and argues for a more critical and systematic examination of the interests and actors that shape the process of making and implementing policy. Drawing on efforts to implement global policy with respect to protracted refugee situations in the context of Tanzania, the seminar considers the range of national and local factors that limited efforts to realise naturalisation for Burundian refugees, and outlines an approach to the future study of global refugee policy.

about the speaker

Dr Milner is Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, Carleton University, Canada, and a Research Associate with the Refugee Studies Centre. He has been a researcher, practitioner and policy advisor on issues relating to refugees, peacebuilding, African politics and the United Nations system. He was Co-Director of The PRS Project: Towards Solutions for Protracted Refugee Situations, an international RSC research project focusing on the plight of refugees in situations of prolonged exile in Africa and Asia.

In recent years, he has undertaken field research in Burundi, Guinea, Kenya, India, Tanzania and Thailand, and has presented research findings to stakeholders in New York, Geneva, London, Ottawa, Bangkok, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam and elsewhere. He has worked as a Consultant for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in India, Cameroon, Guinea and its Geneva Headquarters. He is author of Refugees, the State and the Politics of Asylum in Africa (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), co-author (with Alexander Betts and Gil Loescher) of UNHCR: The Politics and Practice of Refugee Protection (Routledge, 2012), and co-editor of Protracted Refugee Situations: Political, Human Rights and Security Implications (UN University Press, 2008). Before joining Carleton University, he was an SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto (2006-08) and a Trudeau Scholar at the University of Oxford (2003-06).