The Liechtenstein Institute on Self-Determination hosted two lunch seminars focusing on refugees and migration. The first seminar, "How Italy's Humanitarian Corridors Have Created Pathways to Protection in Europe," was held on Thursday, April 19, 2018, featuring guest speaker, Dr. Claire Higgins, Senior Research Associate at the Andrew and Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law. The second seminar, "The Ethics of Return Migration and Education: Transnational Duties in the US-Mexico Corridor," was held on Tuesday, April 24, 2018, featuring guest speaker, Professor Juan Espindola is an Assistant Professor in the Education Program at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) in Mexico City.
Dr. Claire Higgins presented her research on Italy’s “Humanitarian Corridors” program, by which asylum seekers are flown to Italy with the logistical and financial assistance of church communities. She supplemented her own research about the program with interviews with church representatives, in which she asked them to assess the success of the program thus far. The “Humanitarian Corridors” were designed as a ‘middle way’ between refugee resettlement, which frequently leaves refugees in limbo in refugee camps for an extended period of time, and asylum, which usually forces them to undertake a dangerous journey. The pilot of this promising program was limited to 1,000 mostly Syrian asylum seekers in camps in Lebanon, but it has since been expanded in Italy and adopted in France. During the Q&A, Dr. Higgins and the LISD audience discussed the size of the program relative to the total need, the role of church entities such as Sant’Egidio, and the program’s place in the governments’ public relations efforts.
LISD hosted Professor Juan Espindola for a seminar on the ethics of return migration and education in the US-Mexico corridor. Espindola discussed his research with Mónica Jacobo in which they argue that most prominent normative theories on immigration focus on the "right to stay" of immigrant children and neglect to recognize their "right to circulate" or transition between the society of origin and the host society. The realities of circular migration, forced or voluntary, mean that many children of immigrant families move between their parents’ homeland and the nation to which the latter migrated, resulting in disruptions in their education. At LISD, Prof. Espindola argued that these children must receive an education that prepares them to develop fully in both places, and that the duty to provide for this right must be discharged jointly by both nations. The discussion during the Q&A touched on a number of important and controversial matters, including the significance of a "right to circulate" and the extent of the US’s responsibility for the education of migrant children.
Dr. Claire Higgins is a Senior Research Associate at the Andrew and Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law. She is the author of Asylum by Boat: Origins of Australia's Refugee Policy (NewSouth, 2017) and a Fulbright Postdoctoral Scholar at Georgetown University, Washington D.C., in 2018. Claire previously completed doctoral study in History as a Clarendon Scholar at Merton College, the University of Oxford, writing on the development of Australian refugee policy. At the Kaldor Centre Claire’s research concerns refugee status determination in historical context, and alternative policies for processing asylum seekers. Her research on protected entry procedures has received funding under the Margaret George Award at the National Archives of Australia, a Travelling Fellowship from the Australian Academy of the Humanities, and a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Australian European University Institute Fellowship Association Inc.
Prof. Juan Espindola is an Assistant Professor in the Education Program at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics (CIDE) in Mexico City. His research areas include educational equality, transitional justice, and immigration. He is the author of Transitional Justice after German Reunification. Exposing Unofficial Collaborators (Cambridge University Press, 2015).