Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Simon Mercer at the Centre for Public Impact (a not-for-profit foundation working to help improve the positive impact of governments) has been speaking to the RSC Director, Alexander Betts, about the refugee crisis, and about the work of the Refugee Studies Centre.

Betts was keen to bring some perspective to the debate on the ‘crisis’, setting it in the context of the world’s population as a whole. While there are 21.3 million refugees today, this is, as Betts says, “a tiny proportion of the overall global population (over 7 billion).” 

The rise of refugees on the international and national agendas has led to a growing demand from policymakers for evidence. The audience for the Centre’s research, however, is no longer just governments and humanitarian organisations, he says, but also businesses as well, as they engage increasingly in the debate.

On the work of the RSC, Betts highlights the importance that is placed on doing research that will impact people’s lives, and the need for a variety of perspectives from a strong interdisciplinary team to address the diverse and complex nature of the issues encompassed by forced migration.

Speaking about his own research interests, he states, “For me personally, it is about identifying where there are knowledge gaps that can influence policy and practice.” He highlights his research on the economic lives of refugees and their potential contribution, which was one research gap. In another project he has focused on the political lives of refugee diaspora, and how they engage from exile to shape the politics of their home countries.

Betts also comments on the vacuum of “visionary, liberal leadership” in the world today generally, and the need in the humanitarian and refugee sector to bridge idealism and 'the raw reality'.

Read the full article here >>

Related content

Alexander Betts People

Refugee Economics: Forced Displacement and Development Publications

Mobilising the Diaspora: How Refugees Challenge Authoritarianism  Publications

Humanitarian Innovation Project Research

The Politics of the Syrian Refugee Crisis Research

Rethinking Refuge Research