Plenary sessions

During the Metropolis The Hague Conference you can attend the following plenary session.

Tuesday September 19

Plenary session 1 – 09.00 – 10.30
Refugees: From Settlement to Integration
Syria's conflict has devolved from peaceful protests against the government in 2011 to a violent insurgency that has drawn in numerous other parties and countries. While the world has called for viable political solutions to tackle the civil war in that country and elsewhere in the region, the situation has fueled unprecedented refugee flows. But states are not only looking to secure their borders and ensure successful returns where appropriate in order 'to facilitate the orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people' (as per SDG 10.7), but are also aiming at promoting integration. This session will reflect that almost two years will have passed since the mass arrivals of 2015 and that the task at hand is integration, notably in the labor market. As such, it will be a follow-up to discussions during the previous two Metropolis conferences. Speakers will now analyze the needs of the refugees and asylum seekers, the measures that governments are taking, the conditions for success both from the perspectives of the migrants and of their host societies.

Pieter Bevelander
Professor / 'International Migration and Ethnic Relations' (IMER) at Malmö Institute of Migration (MIM)

Uta Saumweber-Meyer
Head of Subdivision Linguistic Education, Migration counselling - Federal Office for Migration and Refugees

Louisa Taylor
Director - Refugee 613

Plenary session 2 – 11.00 – 12.30
Managing Migration in a Theatre of War
In many parts of the world, the military, the police and other security forces interfere in migration in multiple ways. For starters, they are involved in controlling and channeling migration: with advanced equipment and if need be also with the power of force, they carry out tasks that no other institutions can do including maritime patrols and military operations against the networks of smugglers, but also- as humanitarian organizations have called for-search-and-rescue operations in the region. This session will mark new territory for Metropolis. It will be the first time that we explicitly examine the relationship between military action and migration. The discussion will especially look at how military and humanitarian organizations can, should, and do co-operate in managing the migration consequences of acts of war. A major concern will be with protecting the civilians caught in the midst of battle and how military and humanitarian organizations can best accomplish this in observance of the rules of military engagement. That this session will be held in a conference in The Hague, the seat of the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice, is highly appropriate.

Mart de Kruif
Adivsor Deloitte / Lieutenant-General (retired)

Bernie Derible
Director of Issues Management and Deputy Chief of Staff Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Laura Lungarotti
Senior Protection Officer - Department of Operations and Emergencies, International Organization for Migration

Wednesday September 20

Plenary session 3– 09.00 – 10.30
Populism, Post-Truth Politics and Moral Leadership
A growing number of politicians (and journalist and various other opinion leaders) deliberately ignore or twist facts about a host of topics including international migration and ethnic diversity, and this negatively affects the process of integration. This phenomenon coincides with the rise of populism and political polarization. The electoral successes of the Brexiteers in the United Kingdom, Donald Trump in the U.S.A., Recep Tayyip Erdo?an in Turkey, various anti-immigrant or anti-Muslim movements in many European countries are cases in point. The spread of 'post-truth politics' is evidently propelled by the way news, real and fake alike, is being spread: some journalist do not flinch away from circulating slanted news, while many individuals just take in 'their own news' from like-minded information bubbles on the Internet. This session will look at the rise of post-truth politics and populism, both right wing and left wing, within the contexts of growing nationalism, demographic and economic stagnation and decline, and public concerns about migration. It will offer a sober explanation of the recent success of populist politicians in Europe, the United States, and elsewhere. The discussion will also consider the turn against research-based expertise and scientifically-grounded knowledge, one expression of the turn against what are often termed 'the elite' by populists. This turn has been described as 'post-truth politics' and has been accompanied by a growing influence of social media, especially social media that have come to be regarded as sources of news and of information. This situation, where deliberate purveyors of anti-science, false news, and misinformation are well-received by many in the public, has put social scientists and others with expertise in defensive positions. How to re-introduce rationality into political debate?

Mark Krikorian
Executive Director / Center for Immigration Studies (CIS)

Sarah de Lange
Professor by special appointment / Department of Political Science at the University of Amsterdam

David Goodhart
Author, Journalist / Financial Times

Alexander Rinnooy Kan
Mathematician & Senator D66 / University of Amsterdam

Plenary session 4 – 11.00 – 12.30
Research Innovations and their Policy Implications
Most academic research is carried out by processing existing statistics (census, landing forms, tax returns etc.), (semi)standardized surveys, or more qualitative methods including ethnographic explorations. While these methods-or combinations thereof-have yielded interesting and important insights, a number of challenges remain. For starters, it cannot be taken for granted that these 'classical' methods are sufficient to study those parts of the population that are difficult to access (undocumented immigrants, ethno-cultural subgroups, extremely vulnerable groups, but also hard-core racists). Also, with the rise of the Internet there is the availability of big data. This plenary will address methodological innovations for as far as these would improve our knowledge of migration and integration issues, and help foster the development of more effective policies. Furthermore, what would be the implications for the dissemination of insights to policy makers, and vice versa, how could policy.

Daniel Hiebert
Professor - The University of British Colombia
- Chair of the plenary session -

Frank Laczko
Head of the Migration Research Division / Department of the International Cooperation and Partnerships of the International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Paul Spoonley
Pro Vice-Chancellor / College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Claire Hewson
Senior Lecturer in Psychology / Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences

Steven Vertovec
Director / Max-Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity

Hein de Haas
Professor of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam

Thursday September 21

Plenary session 5 – 09.00 – 10.30
Cities part 1: Local Integration Policies
Much greater attention is now being given to the role of cities in managing the effects of migration, whether of labor migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, or undocumented migrants. This attention has also reached the international community, including the recent Sustainable Development Goals and the UN Summit for Migrants and Refugees whose New York Declaration includes many provisions that will be implemented primarily by municipal authorities. The IOM, now an agency formally related to the UN, has also embraced a cities agenda. Metropolis will contribute to this discussion through the issue of immigrant and refugee integration. This session will look at our current understanding of the challenges faced by cities in this regard, at the opportunities that migrant integration provides for cities, and at some of the best practices that have been identified by such initiatives as Cities of Migration, the JMDI, and the New Urban Agenda.

Charles Groenhuijsen
Independent writer, speaker and consultant
- Chair of the plenary session -

Jock Collins
Professor of Social Economics in the Management Discipline Group / UTS Business School

Zhixi Cecilia Zhuang
Associate Professor / Faculty of Community Services, School of Urban and Regional Planning, Ryerson University

Plenary session 6 – 11.00 – 12.30
Volunteering, Urban Civility and Active Citizenship
The process of integration of newcomers-both immigrants and refugees-is supported in multifarious ways by the government as well as (semi-)public institutions, such as community organizations and churches, but also at the micro-level by individual and groups of volunteers. These non-institutionalized forms of integration support can be seen as a form of active citizenship. What is happening on the ground and how can policies help foster these forms of support? We will also pay address the question about the role of migrants themselves as volunteers in civic causes. Cf. the role of migrants in disaster relief efforts in Japan following the Tohoku earthquake. Are there correlations between levels of volunteerism with regard to supporting migrants and the degree of government programming to similar ends?

Jan Willem Duyvendak
Distinguished Research Professor of Sociology / University of Amsterdam

Lucy Thomas
Executive Director - Give Something Back to Berlin

Violet Roumeliotis
CEO / Settlement Services International

Sam Solomon
Deputy Director of Policy - New York City Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs

Friday September 22

Plenary session 7– 9:00 – 10:30
Cities Part 2: Economic Opportunities for All-in Creative Cities
As globalization and deregulation shaped the economic landscape, a new type of worker started to gravitate to the city: international migrants-this time especially students and highly-skilled workers aka 'expats'-as well as middle classes individuals and families. Consequently, new social stratifications have evolved in cities with, inevitably, profound social, cultural and spatial implications. In large cities in particular, authorities ranging from local governments to marketing consortia now strive to present their localities as attractive places for potential investors, employers, inhabitants and tourists, and especially for creative knowledge-workers. They do this especially by boosting urban amenities and promoting gentrification. It remains to be seen whether or not low-skilled workers, migrants and non-migrants alike, can profit from this development. The disproportionate attention given to the elite workforce in creative cities has masked the effects of urban transformation on the working class and those with lower educational and skill levels. This session will explore how low-skilled workers can benefit from the labor market participation and entrepreneurial drive of the 'creative class'.

Robert Kloosterman
Professor of Economic Geography and Planning / University of Amsterdam

Nina Glick Schiller
Director of the Cosmopolitan Cultures Institute / University of Manchester

Susan Cueva
Trade Union Organiser - UNISON

Elizabeth Chacko
Professor of Geography and International Affairs - The George Washington University

Plenary session 8 – 11.00 – 12.30
After Brexit, Wither Europe?
Migration is at the heart of these national and EU-wide discussions. This was particularly the case during the Brexit referendum in which resistance against immigration was one of the drivers of the leave campaign. This session will look at the significance of the Brexit vote for other institutions of the European Union, and indeed for the future of the EU itself as both an economic union and a political ideal. Speakers will examine the state of the Schengen accord, already weakened before the Brexit vote, of the Eurozone, also weakened before the Brexit vote. Will Brexit do further harm to either or both of these institutions? Brexit also calls into question the extent to which states in Europe are willing to 'pool' their sovereignty in a venture that, for many, has failed to deliver on its promises. What does Brexit say about Europe's ideal of free mobility of people? How will the mobility of people be affected by Brexit? Will Europe be able to develop a truly joint migration policy?

Philip Legrain
British political economist, Writer

Rainer Muenz
Adviser on Migration - European Commission

Meghan Benton
Senior Policy Analyst / Migration Policy Institute

Andrew Geddes
Director of the Migration Policy Centre - European University Institute