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IAD 2019 summer conference inspired by Migrations Global Grand Challenge

IAD researchers at conference

Global scholars converged in Livingstone, Zambia, this summer to attend the 2019 Summer Africa Conference and Early Career Workshop—hosted by the Institute for African Development (IAD), part of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies. Focusing its gaze on Cornell University’s Migrations Global Grand Challenge, researchers addressed the far-reaching implications of migration with the topic “Africa’s Grand Challenges: The Role of Research and Education Systems.”

The two-day event, held from August 6–7, gave scholars opportunities to discuss intersectional, diverse research about migrations on the first day, while also offering a second workshop day to aid emerging scholars who are early in their careers. Organized in coordination with the Southern African Institute for Policy and Research, lectures on a variety of migration-related topics sought to address questions surrounding climate change and food insecurity, inequality, access to justice, and trade.

One researcher, Nikolas Emmanuel, traveled from from the Graduate School of International Peace Studies at Soka University, Japan—to highlight the dramatic downturn in migration flows since 2017, due to factors including the African-EU Migration and Mobility Dialogue.

Another, Lindiwe Sibande detailed how politics determine what is researched and lamented the dearth of data on migration as the result of systemic failure. Sibande, an emerging scholar, is a former program associate at the African Union.

The event was headlined by keynote speakers Steve Kayizzi-Mugerwa, former adviser to the International Monetary Fund and former chief economist and vice president of the African Development Bank, and Morten Jerven, professor in development studies at Norwegian University of Life Sciences and author of Poor Numbers: How We Are Misled by African Development Statistics and What to Do about It (Cornell University Press, 2013).

The symposium concluded with an early-career research day dedicated to emerging scholars and early-career African studies academics. Many of these scholars were sponsored by IAD and presented their work on topics, such as grassroots approaches to environmental sustainability, climate change and food security, and law. After presenting their work, these early-career scholars were given opportunities for collaboration and conversation, to receive feedback from veteran scholars, to learn about opportunites to publish their work, and to build mentoring relationships. 

As IAD continues to feature experts and lecturers on these themes, it will also invite Cornell community members to join the conversation. IAD’s fall 2019 seminar series, focusing on migrations and its intersection with key issues, such as climate change, security, gender, and land politics. These presentations highlight the importance that research plays in addressing problems pertinent to the African content and the relevance that migrations research plays in expansive global issues.