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Public Seminar Series, Hilary term 2019

Series convenor: Dr Naohiko Omata

about the seminar series

This public seminar series consists of two separate themes: 1) Refugees in the United Kingdom and 2) Urban Refugees. Speakers come from diverse backgrounds, including both practitioners and academics, to consolidate existing empirical and theoretical knowledge of the proposed themes.

1)  Refugees in the United Kingdom

At the end of 2016, the United Kingdom hosted nearly 120,000 refugees from a range of countries. While the available literature on this population has been growing, many areas of refugees’ post-resettlement/asylum lives remain under-explored. This seminar series will offer insights into the ways in which refugees in the UK have adapted to their new lives, with a focus on understanding the lived experiences of their economic and socio-cultural integration – or lack thereof.

2)  Urban Refugees

Currently, more than half of the world’s refugees live outside of designated refugee camps or settlements, surviving with varying degrees of independence and success, and often living under the radar of aid organisations. This seminar series will enable audiences to cultivate a better understanding of the day-to-day lives of ‘self-settled’ refugees around the world, particularly in the Global South.

About the seminar

Ethiopia is host to the second largest refugee population in Africa, with over 930,000 refugees, the majority from South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan. Most are located in Tigray Regional State and the four Emerging Regions of Ethiopia (Afar, Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambella, and the Somali Regional State), which are the least developed states in the country. In 2016, the Ethiopian government made Nine Pledges to comprehensively respond to refugee needs in the country. These nine pledges broadly correspond to the main objectives of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), officially rolled out in Ethiopia in late 2017.

The government has increasingly pursued a sustainable response that moves beyond care and maintenance of refugees towards promoting their self-reliance. This approach combines wider support to host communities, fostering peaceful coexistence and greater inclusion of refugees in national development plans. The government has quickly sought to establish a governance structure for the CRRF, which includes a Steering Committee, a National Coordination Office, and Technical Committees. However, it has become apparent that greater focus on local government engagement and capacity building is needed to ensure successful implementation in refugee-hosting regions. A National Comprehensive Refugee Response Strategy, currently under development, recognises the importance of decentralising refugee responses so as to create the space for local actors, including host communities, local administrations and other non-governmental entities, to lead in response design and implementation. In practice, this is not yet happening.

This seminar considers the complexities of planning and implementing comprehensive responses for refugees at a sub-national level in Ethiopia. It presents some examples of ongoing practices that might inform this process, and outlines key challenges, with the aim of initiating a discussion on how local authorities and other stakeholders can best respond to the challenges of managing refugee responses.

Registration is not required. Refreshments will be served after the seminar.

Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture

The Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture is named in honour of Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond, the founding Director of the Refugee Studies Centre. It is held each year in Michaelmas term.

Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture

The Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture is held in Trinity term. It is named after Professor Elizabeth Colson, a renowned anthropologist.

Public Seminar Series

Each term the RSC holds a series of public seminars, held on Wednesday evenings at Queen Elizabeth House. Click here for details of forthcoming seminars.

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Forthcoming events

Ukraine: Insights and Implications

Tuesday, 17 October 2023, 1pm to 2pm @ Online via Zoom

Book launch: Time and Power in Azraq Refugee Camp

Wednesday, 01 November 2023, 5pm to 6pm @ Seminar Room 2, Queen Elizabeth House, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TB

Who Gets Believed? A conversation with Dina Nayeri | Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture 2023

Monday, 20 November 2023, 5pm to 6.30pm @ St Anne's College, 56 Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6HS