International Refugee Research: Evidence for Smart Policy

A joint project between The Akademie für Politische Bildung, the University of the Bundeswehr Munich and the Virginia Tech, Blacksburg

International experts met at The Akademie für Politische Bildung in Tutzing on 23 and 24 March 2018 to discuss the highly charged topic "International Refugee Research - Evidence for Smart Policy".

The international conference is the result of many years of cooperation between the School of Public and International Affairs of the Virginia Tech in Alexandria near Washington  D.C., the Universität der Bundeswehr München and The Akademie für Politische Bildung.

Several panels examined the topics of flight and migration as a worldwide and multifaceted phenomenon from the perspective of various disciplines. Causes of flight were just as much a topic as questions of successful or failed integration; legal and organizational obstacles were discussed as well as the psychological effects of flight and expulsion.

Expertise from the UN and BAMF

The conference attracted proven experts. Kelly T. Clements, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, Geneva, spoke on the refugee crisis in 2015 and Katrin Hirseland, Head of Department at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, provided important background information on why the number of refugees rose so dramatically in 2015 and how the Federal Republic of Germany has reacted to the challenge since then.

Other prominent guests included Virginia Tech's Vice President for Outreach and International Affairs, Dr. Guru Ghosh, and the German representative of the High Commissioner for Refugees in Berlin, Dominik Bartsch, who enriched the program, which was largely designed by scientists from Virginia Tech and the Universität der Bundeswehr München.

Reception of the City of Munich

A special feature of the conference was the preliminary program. Here the American participants had the opportunity to inform themselves about various projects for the integration and support of refugees at Caritas Munich City Center. Julia Ilca vividly presented the project "NUR", a psychological counselling center specifically designed to meet the requirements and needs of foreign clients. In the afternoon Benjamin Maierhofer presented the project "Culture Bridge" at the Academy of Nations, which offers numerous intercultural networking opportunities within the city of Munich.

The pre-program was rounded off with the reception of the City of Munich in the New Town Hall at Marienplatz, one of the most beautiful halls of the city. City councillor Manuela Ohlhausen and Dr. Franziska Szoldatits from the Munich Social Department presented the "Munich Master Plan" for the integration of refugees in the state capital. This brings together numerous local actors such as the city, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce etc. at various levels in order to contribute to the better integration of migrants and refugees.

Download the Conference Program!