Keynote abstractsProgramme

The number of forcibly displaced persons is rapidly growing worldwide. While a majority of them are internally displaced, millions have sought refuge across international borders and long geographic distances. The protracted nature of conflicts in countries such as Somalia and Afghanistan means that new diaspora communities are continuously formed and existing ones are expanded by newcomers. Furthermore, diaspora populations are rarely composed of only refugees and asylum seekers: they also include migrants who have moved, for example, for family, work, or education.

The prolonged nature of many conflicts also means that diaspora communities often develop long-standing relations between the country of origin and different diaspora locations. People, resources, ideas, and information circulate between these communities. Diaspora organizations and individuals – sometimes in collaboration with actors of their country of residence or with the international community – may also strive to influence homeland politics or economy in different ways. Modern communication technology has made these connections easier to create and maintain.

The seminar Diasporic Dislocations: Forced Migration in an Interconnected World, to be held on December 4–5, 2017 at the House of Science and Letters in Helsinki, focuses specifically on conflict-induced diasporas. The main questions addressed in the seminar include: to what extent and in what ways do those living in diaspora try to have an impact on their homelands? How do organizations and government officials of the receiving country, as well as international organizations, collaborate with diaspora communities? What role does media, especially social media, play in diaspora communication and politics? Considering the securitizing tendencies of the current public discussions on migration, do diasporic connections to the homelands render communities as suspects of “misplaced loyalty”?

These issues, and many more, will be approached by experts from universities, public administration, NGOs, and the media. The keynote speakers are Dr. Idil Osman (SOAS, University of London) and Dr. Nicholas Van Hear (COMPAS, University of Oxford). In addition to the keynote speeches, the two-day seminar includes a panel discussion and workshops. The first day of the seminar is open to the public and the second day workshops are for invited guests only. The main organizers are the Society for the Study of Ethnic Relations and International Migration (ETMU) and the Migration Institute of Finland (MIF). The event is free of charge.

The workshop is a part of the project Century of Migrations (2017–2018), funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation and coordinated by the MIF. The project's partner organizations are the Research Centre on Transnationalism and Transformation (TRANSIT) at the University of Tampere, the Finland Futures Research Centre at the University of Turku, and ETMU.

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