International Burch University hosted the first annual and first international scientific conference on migration in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The conference brought together key actors dealing with irregular and mixed migration issues, as well as emigration and humanitarian work on the ground, such as international organizations, domestic public institutions, and civil society organizations.
More than a hundred participants from Brazil, Colombia, the United States, Turkey, Italy, Switzerland, Serbia, Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina attended the conference.
The conference's goal is to map the current situation on the ground as well as the volume of scientific knowledge, which will result in the formation of a sector specific alliance for better migration management.
"One of the Conference's goals is to get academia involved in addressing irregular and mixed migration. The participation of key domestic and international scientists and practitioners strengthens the Conference's importance and confirms its relevance, taking into account current and anticipated migratory flows, beginning with the phenomenon of irregular migration, mixed migration, but also emigration and brain drains, which is particularly relevant for our country and region " said Assoc.Prof.Dr. Alija Kožljak.
The conference was opened by Assoc.Prof.Dr. Mersid Poturak, Rector of International Burch University, who focused on the departure of young people from Bosnia and Herzegovina and the importance of resolving this issue. The conference also seeks to assist our country in meeting its international obligations under various international treaties, including the Global Compact on Migration. The Global Compact on Migration establishes 23 goals to ensure "safe, orderly, and regular" migration, including protecting migrants from exploitation and human rights violations.
In her opening remarks, Laura Lungarotti, Chief of Mission of IOM Bosnia and Herzegovina, emphasized the importance of this conference for the IOM because it looks at migration from a social perspective, rather than just a security and humanitarian one: "Migration is a megatrend that will continue, and concrete solutions must be sought through a comprehensive view of migration. The focus in BiH is on migrants in transit, but we should also pay attention to those leaving the country. It is the fourth year of implementation of the Global Compact on Migration, and I am pleased that we will gather in New York on this occasion, with representatives from Bosnia and Herzegovina present.
"There is already knowledge and experience on how to deal with migration, but it is fragmented and varies by country. The exchange of this knowledge is essential, and this conference provides an excellent forum for such exchange and progress. I believe it will provide additional insights and influence policy formation in the future, and I believe Sarajevo and BiH are the best locations for such a conference " said Dr. Elmir Camić, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Ambassador of Switzerland to BiH, Daniel Hunn, the Ambassador of Greece to BiH, Dimitrios Papandreu, Prof. Dr. Aleksandra Nikoli, Minister of Science, Higher Education, and Youth KS, and academician Prof. Dr. Mirko Pejanovic, vice president of the BiH Academy of Sciences and Arts, also made introductory remarks.
Following the introductory addresses, a cooperation agreement was formally signed between the International Burch University and the IOM, and the conference continued with a series of panels featuring notable speakers.
Recommendations, proposals and conclusions of the panelists will be analysed and systematized, and a policy proposal will be developed based on them and presented to key actors such as international organizations, domestic public institutions, and civil society organizations. By implementing these recommendations, institutions will be able to improve migration management and respond appropriately to the challenges posed by this phenomenon.
The Conference on Migration 2022 is organized by the Center for Social Studies of International Burch University and the Center of Competences for Humanitarian Negotiation (Geneva, Switzerland), in collaboration with the following partners: OSCE Mission to BiH, IOM Mission in BiH, EU Delegation to BiH, Swiss Embassy in BiH, International Committee of the Red Cross Delegation, Foreign Policy Initiative, Harvard Kennedy University.