The 6th Annual Peacemakers Conference and Workshop is organized jointly by the Office of International Programs (OIP) and the Migration Research Center at Koç University (MiReKoç). The Conference will take place on July 8 and the ensuing Workshop on July 9 – 11, 2017 in Istanbul.
Over the past years the world and primarily the Eurasian geopolitical landscape has witnessed unprecedented levels of international migration. The UN statistics estimated that in 2015 the number of international migrants worldwide had reached 244 million, including almost 20 million refugees. The protracted humanitarian crises in the Middle East and Africa continue to drastically increase the number of persons seeking to improve their lives outside of the territories where they were born. One of the repercussions of this situation is the repoliticization of international migration at the host countries and regions within the perspective of securitization, buttressing the rising xenophobic sentiments among the host populations. Associating international migration with national security, the securitization perspective results in the criminalization of migrants, without taking into consideration the fundamental human rights as well as the safeguarding of human security.
The conceptualization of migration as a “problem” and “crisis” breeds the populist narratives of those that are ready to bring up controversial subjects while seeking political gains. In fact, migration issues often dominate a crucial position in the domestic political agenda, particularly in times when the political climate is ruptured by an economic crisis or an election period. Although national governments have responded in different ways to the recent waves of international migration, there has been an ongoing trend among the political elite to adopt the anti-migration discourse. The populist narratives influence the public sentiment by correlating unrestricted migration with concerns on security, cultural identity and competition at the job market. Moreover, they refashion the foreign policies of the nation state, transforming the international political environment.
These discussions demonstrate that the issues of international migration have a strong impact on international and domestic politics. With this in mind, this year’s Peacemakers Conference will juxtapose discussions on the recent waves of migration with the rising political populism in the world, and question how domestic and international politics interact around the topic of migration.
This effort aims to frankly and openly address one of the most salient obstacles in our global efforts toward peacemaking: the prejudices that color and sometimes dictate our interactions with one another.
The previous Peacemakers Events showcased pioneering work in a new age of conflict resolution and were developed out of the idea of dissecting the roots of prejudice and bringing together communities, that have historically experienced conflict from regional dynamics through the lens of dignity and the role dignity plays in the breakdown and restoration of relationships. Last year’s event, namely “Migration and Securitization of Europe: Views from the Balkan Corridor”, discussed securitization and its impact on human security, and generated solutions which go beyond the dilemma between state and human security.