25-6 April: 2015 WUN Migration Conference, Hong Kong

The inaugural WUN Migration Conference explores the issue of migration through the lens of WUN’s identified Global Challenges in public health, in responding to climate change, in understanding cultures and in global higher education. The conference aims to facilitate discourse that will contribute to the Post 2015 Development Agenda discussion. The multi-perspective view the conference will take positions it well to contribute to this important discussion and to give recommendations on how migration can be incorporated into the new agenda.

International migration is frequently discussed in association with development. There are approximately 234 million international migrants in the world (UNDESA, 2013). When internal mobility is included this number becomes almost immeasurable. Although the significance of migration is clear, the topic remains complex. Great variations in the conditions faced by migrants, and consequent impacts on health and well-being, are mirrored in its developmental impacts. In going forward, it is important to consider the role of migration as an enabler of development through a number of different channels: monetary and social remittances, the act of migrating, and the impacts on those left behind. The evidence base for internal migration is often more robust and plentiful than for international migration and thus, where relevant, the impacts of internal migration on development are also considered.

Two ways in which migration could be incorporated in the Post-2015 Development Agenda are: 1) situating migration alongside other ‘enablers’ of migration such as trade in a reformulated version of MDG 8 on global partnerships; and 2) through the inclusion of migration related indicators as a cross-cutting theme in the new development goals. Within the frame of this conference, we will push this discussion further.


Saturday 25 April

09:00-10:30 Opening Session Professor John Hearn, Executive Director, WUNWelcome and introduction. Keynote Address Dr Frank Laczko, Head of Migration Research Division, International Organization for MigrationMigration and the Development Data Revolution. 
10:30-11:00 Morning Tea 
11:00-12:30 Understanding Cultures – Migration & identity Chair: Professor Hildegard Schneider, Maastricht UniversityLarge-scale international migration presents challenges for traditional notions of national identity, cultural belonging and social practices. Migrants may spend extended period of time away from their families, and experience the loss of cultural and religious norms of the country of origin. At the same time, destination countries face rapid societal change, which may cause a backlash against immigration. This panel explores these challenges.Professor Stephen Castles, Research Chair in Sociology, The University of Sydney Migration and culture. A challenge for Asian nations in an era of transnationalism. Associate Professor Nicholas Harney, The University of Western AustraliaThe art of dis-integration: Migrants and sociality in neoliberal times. Professor Qiaobing Wu, Department of Social Work, The Chinese University of Hong KongWhat Really Matters? Who You Are, Where You Live, or What You Have’. 
12:30-13:30 Lunch 
13:30-15:00 Public Health – Health of migrants Chair: Professor Yoav Ben-Shlomo, The University of BristolMigrants face various barriers to accessing healthcare, including entitlement, language and information. Migrant groups are diverse and thus face different physical and mental health problems. Asylum-seekers, for instance, may be traumatised by experiences of conflict; irregular migrants are negatively impacted by detention practices in the countries of destination; and some labour migrants may work in unsafe conditions. Health professionals in countries receiving many immigrants have to deal with new cultural profiles and health perspectives of their patients.Professor Huso Yi, Director of Research, Centre for Bioethics, The Chinese University of Hong KongMigrants and Health in Hong Kong, and Its Neighbouring Countries: Putting It in the Context Global Health Justice and Ethics. Associate Professor Melissa Siegel, Head Migration Studies Training & Research Projects, Maastricht UniversityTopic to be confirmed. Professor Loretta Baldassar, Chair of Anthropology & Sociology, The University of Western Australia

Who Cares? The unintended consequences of migration policy. 

15:00-15:30 Afternoon Tea 
15:30-17:00 Responding to Climate Change – Climate change impacts on habitation Chair: Professor Susan Parnell, The University of Cape TownClimate change is expected to cause large-scale migratory flows in the future, as people seek to escape environmental degradation and natural disasters and adapt to a changing environment. However, large-scale migratory movements can also significantly affect ecosystems and contribute to further environmental degradation. This panel considers the link between migration and climate change.Professor Tim Benton, UK Champion for Global Food Security & Professor of Population Ecology, The University of LeedsFood-water-land and climate change: impacts on people. Mr Andrea Milan, Research Associate, United Nations University – Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) BonnClimate-related stressors and human mobility: insights from recent empirical work in the global South Professor Susan Parnell, African Centre for Cities, The University of Cape Town

Topic to be confirmed 

19:00-21:30 Conference dinner Dinner Speaker Professor Tim Benton, UK Champion for Global Food Security & Professor of Population Ecology, The University of LeedsPolitics, policy and perturbations: reflections on evidence-based policy. 

Sunday 26 April 

Global Higher Education and Researcher 

Global talent flows 

Chair: Professor Kit-Tai Hau, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

The link between migration and education is important in many ways. Migrants’ economic success is influenced by their skills and educational background prior to migration. However, education itself may also be a main motivation for migration. Through remittances, migrations can improve the educational achievements of non-migrants in the countries of origin. Developed countries compete with each other to attract highly-skilled immigrants, but the international emigration of highly-skilled persons has significant implications for human capital and economic development in developing countries.

Professor Hildegard Schneider, Dean of Law, Maastricht University

Student mobility and recognition of qualifications 

Mr Ben Wildavsky, Director of Higher Education Studies, State University of New York Mobility and the global university ecosystem. 

Dr Metka Hercog, Department of Cultural Studies and European Ethnology, The University of Basel

What’s the best place for me? Choice of a destination country for the highly skilled 

10:30-11:00 Morning Tea 
11:00-12:30 Plenary Session Conclusions and Ways Forward Professor Hildegard Schneider, Dean of Law, Maastricht UniversityProfessor Yoav Ben Shlomo, School of Social & Community Medicine, The University of BristolProfessor Susan Parnell, African Centre for Cities, The University of Cape TownProfessor Kit Tai Hau, Professor of Education Psychology, The Chinese University of Hong KongMelissa Siegel, Head Migration Studies Training & Research Projects, Maastricht UniversityMigration in the post-2015 development agenda 
12:30-13:30 Closing Lunch 

Should you have any queries regarding the WUN Conference & AGM 2015, please do not hesitate to contact Nicholas Haskins (nhaskins@wun.ac.uk)or Bee Nortje (amnortje@wun.ac.uk) in the WUN Secretariat.