Migration and resilience

Migration and resilience

Day 2
09:00 – 10:30
Fortress Suite


Migrant’s social networks have helped to build social capital and increase the resilience of communities of origin, and boosted social resilience in recipient countries through transfers of knowledge, innovation technologies, and other resources. The General Assembly of the United Nations asserts that international migration – ensuring freer and safe movement of people across borders – could bring substantial benefits as part of an inclusive globalisation process. Currently, the discourse of migration intends to ignore the nuances of the phenomenon as well as previous policy agreements and human rights conventions. As a result, current narratives that inform policy discussions on migration are showing migration as a deep threat to the national security of recipient countries, and this is the starting point for current policy discussions.

This session aims to explore the key reasons behind the current narrative on migration, and identify key issues that need to be addressed to transform these. It will point out possible policy solutions for migrants, recipient and donor countries.

It is also expected this session shows different realities on migration from different Commonwealth regions, touching on the various aspects from economic migration to the refugee issue to climate change and migration patterns resulting from it. It will also explore civil society focused solutions to fostering resilience in migrant, recipient and donor societies.




(CHAIR) Amjad Saleem

Amjad Saleem Commonwealth People's Forum 2015 speakerAmjad Saleem is a political analyst on South Asian issues (focusing mainly but not exclusively on Sri Lanka), with expertise in Humanitarian and Development Issues, Peacebuilding and Interfaith Dialogue. He is currently the Country Director of International Alert in Sri Lanka. He also currently sits as a thematic advisor looking at ‘Meeting the needs of People in Conflict’ for the UN initiated process, the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS). Amjad has sat as the UK representative of CSAC for the Commonwealth Foundation (2012-2014).

Shahidul Alam

Shahidul Alam is a world renowned photographer, teacher and activist based in Bangladesh. He set up Majority World and the Drik Agency, Pathshala, the South Asian Institute of Photography and the Chobi Mela international photography festival. He is a jury member in numerous international contests, including World Press Photo, an Honorary Fellow of the Bangladesh Photographic Society and the Royal Photographic Society. His life’s mission has been to use photography as a tool to combat social injustice and to promote the work of talented photographers from the majority world.

William Gois

Commonwealth People's Forum speakers logoMr Tom Wilson Hubertson is a lawyer and migrants rights advocate from India. He is a member of the Migrant Forum in Asia and the Lawyers Beyond Borders. As migrants rights lawyer, he has provided assistance to numerous Indian migrants in distress. Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) is a network of grassroots organizations, trade unions, faith-based groups, migrants and their families and individual advocates in Asia working together for social justice for migrant workers and members of their families. The MFA is currently the Secretariat of the Lawyers Beyond Borders network, a network of lawyers providing assistance to migrant workers and members of their families.

Mr Hubertson also previously worked as the Assistant Field Coordinator for Migrant Forum India. This involves a wide area of advocacy for migrants, linking legal and labour issues with several areas of government at the district, state and national levels, including but not limited to the Prime Minister’s Office and the President’s Secretariat. This has also involved working with CSOs, trade unions and government officials for case management, concealing and legal aid among other things and has also involved lobbying for better protection through legislation of migrants’ rights.

Maria Pisani

Dr Maria Pisani is a Maltese academic, practitioner and activist. She is the co-founder and director of Integra Foundation, Malta. Maria holds a BA and MA in Youth & Community Studies, and a PhD in Adult Education from the University of Malta. She is a lecturer with the department of Youth and Community Studies, University of Malta. Maria also coordinates the Centre for Critical Migration Studies with The Critical Institute. She is an Editorial Board Member on the international journal Disability and the Global South and the Journal of International Humanitarian Action. 

Maria’s ongoing involvement in the field provides an opportunity to keep the dialectic relationship between theory and practice alive, providing the space for critical knowledge production towards social transformation. Maria has published extensively in international journals and contributed to edited texts. Her research interests include forced migration with a special focus on gender, ‘race’ and colonialism, youth, intersectionality, national identity and citizenship. She combines this work with her interest in critical pedagogy and engaging praxis as a project of social transformation towards social justice.

See all speaker biographies...