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13 June, 2016

The Middle East Migration Crisis – Genesis and Responses

From 20 - 23 June, Initiatives of Change and the Next Century Foundation are hosting a free four-day conference exploring the complex causes of the Middle East migration crisis and potential ways forward.

The event will seek to increase public awareness of the ongoing migration challenges and provide a forum for constructive debate.

The conference – titled ‘The Middle East Migration Crisis – Genesis and Responses’ – will hear from a wide range of leading experts, with speakers and participants comprising policy advisors, academics, NGOs, refugees, religious leaders and independent think tanks alongside members of the public.

William Morris, Secretary General of Next Century Foundation, said: 'As migration continues to make daily front-page news amidst fears of populist uprisings and geopolitical unrest across Europe, there’s never been a more critical time to bring together leading minds, key influencers and interested parties for London’s first conference of this nature.'

The first three days will focus on Libya (20 June), Afghanistan and Iraq (21 June) and Syria (22 June) and each day’s programme will start by reviewing how the situation in each region evolved and what reconciliatory initiatives are underway on the ground now.

During the afternoon participants will have the opportunity to debate what more could be done towards building solutions, both in country and in the UK. For these discussions refugees living in the UK will join humanitarian experts to share their experiences and review current initiatives towards conflict resolution.

Day four will focus on ideologies that have contributed to the crisis and examine measures to counter violent extremism and anti-Muslim xenophobia, beginning with analysis from authorities and moving on to review what is being done in response.

Philip Boobbyer, Chair of Trustees at Initiatives of Change UK, added: 'Whilst there are some shared issues affecting the Middle East, it can be easy for conversations on the migrant crisis to take an overly simplistic view on the underlying root causes which lie at its heart. In taking a country-specific approach to the Middle East Migration Conference, we hope to ensure each day attracts participants with a vested interest in that individual destination and encourage meaningful debate that inspires constructive solutions.'

Confirmed speakers include Michael Ipgrave (Bishop of Woolwich), Mark Hambley (former US ambassador to Lebanon), Zuhair Al Nahar (Foreign Affairs spokesman for Iraq’s Dawa party), Atif Mashal (Director Of the Local Governance Office of the President of Afghanistan), journalists Ruth Sherlock (Financial Times) and Jaaffar Al-Ahmar (Al-Hayat newspaper), plus NGOs and charities including Refugees as Rebuilders, ShelterBox and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The conference will take place at the Initiatives of Change centre in Victoria and attendance is free, with a donation for lunch. Registration begins at 8.30am and each day’s programme will run from 9am - 5.30pm.

The conference will be held over four days, each with a different theme.

Day 1: LIBYA
9.00am - 1pm: Libya - The Situation and Way Forward
1.45pm - 5.30pm: Migration Through Libya From Africa - its Genesis and Creative Responses Among Host Communities

9.00am - 1pm: Afghanistan - The Situation and Way Forward
1.45pm - 5.30pm: Iraq - The Situation and Way Forward

9.00am - 1pm: Syria - The Situation and Way Forward
1.45pm - 5.30pm: Humanitarian Responses to Communities Under Threat and Refugees as Rebuilders

9.00am - 1pm: Extremism and its Alternatives; Countering Anti-Muslim Xenophobia in the West
1.45pm - 5.30pm: Challenging ISIS Ideology; Building Trust between the Muslim World and the West through Improved Responses to Extremism and Xenophobia

To sign up for the conference or find out more visit

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