Migration as a Global Challenge:
Interdisciplinary Perspectives on a Complex Field

CeMig Opening Conference

21 - 23 June 2018

A Short Retrospect:

From 21 to 23 June 2018 the Centre for Global Migration Studies (CeMig) hosted its opening conference “Migration as a Global Challenge: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on a Complex Field”.

As a global challenge, migration is a complex field. From the contributions to this conference, it is clear that a number of different aspects of migration require further academic study. These areas include the material dimensions of places and objects; immaterial dimensions such as discourses, imaginations and anticipations, and the regimes of governance; as well as actors, activities, acts and events, goals, emotions and agency.

Migration takes on many forms (internal and international movement), has multiple causes, trajectories and directions, and involves numerous collective and single actors. Moreover, it takes place at different levels (micro, medium and macro) and is intricately intertwined with multiple factors that mutually influence one another.

Migration has to be researched in connection with multiple topics – one of which is law (which again has to be seen on multiple levels). Moreover, as it affects different regions, the study of migration requires transregional and transnational perspectives. As such, migration is ideally studied from a multidisciplinary perspective in which different theories are brought to and discussed at the table, and it requires the application of a range of different research methods.

The conference participants made a number of recommendations as to their own responsibilities, and to the role of politicians and practitioners. These included the following: that there should be a right not to have to migrate, but that if people opt to or are forced to migrate, it is of utmost importance that academics “stir the pot”, pursue a holistic approach, and create and promote a discourse on empathy and the obligation to protect migrants. In any case, we have to consider that migration needs careful planning and the sharing of responsibilities on the part of all actors involved as well as their willingness to engage in dialogue.

As the organizers of the conference, we would like to thank the participants, panel organizers and speakers for their enriching contributions, as well as Prof. Dr. Steven Vertovec (MPI-MMG) and journalist Eva Völker for moderating the roundtables.
We would like to thank the assistants who helped to organize and run the conference. Many thanks also go to Tanja Wehr (Sketchnotelovers), Udo Caspari and Florian Michaelsen (SUB-Video-Team), Gordon Mehmert (E-Learning-Team), and Christoph Mischke and Alciro Theodoro da Silva for keeping records of the conference’s outcomes.
We are extremely grateful to the University of Göttingen’s President Prof. Dr. Ulrike Beisiegel, to Vice-President Prof. Dr. Hiltraud Casper-Hehne and to the deans of the six member faculties for their support, from the very beginning, for the foundation of the Centre for Global Migration Studies. We are also very grateful to the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity for their collaboration.

We would also like to thank the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) and the Ministry for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony for sponsoring the conference.