In light of the ongoing European migration crisis, the University of Westminster will be hosting a two-day conference on 18-19 September organised by the charity Migrant Voice in partnership with the University’s new Westminster Migration Network Group. The conference will host discussions about migration and Europe’s response to the humanitarian crisis. It will provide a platform for academics and journalists to share their perspectives on the current debate, and to hear accounts from migrants.

Westminster Migration Network Group has recently been established by Westminster History, Sociology and Criminology academics working on migration research, as an initiative to build links with the NGOs and the wider community. The conference will be the group’s first step in achieving their goals.

The two-day programme will also feature debates and workshops on the current situation in the Mediterranean and Calais, freedom of movement in the EU, and the upcoming referendum.

International Editor for Channel 4 News, Lindsey Hilsum, will chair one of the conference’s key debates entitled ‘the Migration crisis, the migrants, and Europe’s response’ where Maurice Wren, CEO of Refugee Council, and Gonzalo Vargas Llosa, UNHCR representative to the UK, will be among the panellists. Other speakers will include Jean Lambert, Green MEP, Roger Casale, Founder and Director of News Europeans, Parminder Bahra, Executive Producer of the Wall Street Journal Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Harriet Grant from the Guardian, and many more.

An opportunity to hear first-hand accounts of migrant experiences will take place in the ‘Meet a Migrant session’, along with workshops addressing issues around The Human Rights Act and the Immigration Act 2014/Immigration Bill 2015.

Dorrie Chetty, Senior Lecturer in Sociology in the Department of History, Sociology and Criminology has set up Westminster Migration Network Group to bring together academics, journalists and NGOs working on migration issues. She said: “This current crisis has been building up for a long time – media reports of fleeing refugees and drowning migrants are not new. Those working on admission policies need a better understanding of the various reasons why people move. It may be a European crisis but it’s clearly related to global issues.”

The conference will address the most urgent issues around migration in the UK and Europe, the rhetoric on migration, develop actions and strategies, and raise alternative voices and messages.

Migrant Voice is a migrant-led organisation working to strengthen the voice, participation and representation of migrants in the media to encourage more balanced, well-informed and inclusive public debate on migration.

Download the full conference programme (PDF format).

Westminster staff and students are invited to attend the conference. Please register by email at [email protected].

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