Conference on "The Human Face of Migration"
Presenting an analysis of historical contexts, testimonies, experiences and lessons learned will be the focus of this joint UNESCO-United Nations University (UNU) conference on "The Human Face of Migration: Historical Perspectives, Testimonies and Policy Considerations", organized at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris, on 15 June 2017. Its aim will be to inform ongoing reflection on sharpening migration policies that place human dignity at their center.
For the majority of the 244 million international migrants across the world in 2015, including some 20 million refugees, migration was a necessity not an option. The circumstances underlying their movement generate additional challenges to their inclusion in receiving societies.
Developing appropriate policy frameworks at the local, national and global levels requires a better understanding of the implications of human mobility for its protagonists. Listening to their stories not only reveals the human face of this global phenomenon but also contributes, through a ‘cathartic’ experience, to delegitimize established prejudices and stereotypes.
Equally important is the understanding of the root causes of migration and displacement, which can be obtained through a careful analysis of historical contexts and processes. This knowledge, combined with the experiences and lessons learned of the broad array of actors working on migration, has the potential of informing global agendas towards the full realization of human rights by all migrants and refugees, irrespective of their gender, identity or status.
This conference which UNESCO and UNU jointly organize coincides with the broader process of developing the global compact on migration mandated by the New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants (UN General Assembly, September 2016). Ongoing work by UNU and by UNESCO, notably the Welcoming Cities for Refugees and Migrants initiative with the M. V. Vardinoyannis Foundation and the International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities – ICCAR, will provide illustrative examples.
The conference will be opened by the Director-General of UNESCO and the Rector of the UNU. It will feature representatives of governments, city authorities, the academia, civil society organizations, artists and philanthropists well-known for their commitment for human rights and respect for diversity.