The Mixed Migration Centre has interviewed Professor Alexander Betts for the Mixed Migration Review 2018 (pdf), and reproduced the interview on their website.
The interview covers topics such as the formal division of the categories of refugee and migrant, the global compacts, the role of UNHCR, public perceptions of refugee and migrant numbers, the rise of populist nationalism, and what the future might hold.
On the subject of the global compacts, Betts says: “One thing we learn from history is that abstract generic commitments by states in the refugee regime rarely lead to significant outcomes especially if they are non-binding. The litmus test for me will be in a three-to-five year period after the compacts, what has actually changed on the ground?”
Betts also talks of the need for visionary leadership, the need to embrace elements of fundamental change, and to reinvent liberalism, nationally and globally.