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International Scientific Conference and Workshop, EU-Africa migration conundrum in a changing global order, 21-22 November 2019, University of Eastern Finland

The conference brings into conversation leading academics, policy-makers, political observers and practitioners from civil society to explore and examine the current EU-Africa relationships vis-à-vis migration. The issue of migration is challenging this relationship, whereas concrete efforts need to be taken in order for the benefits of the increased interaction to be better harnessed and the unprecedented flows of people managed. The conference will approach the topic thought the lens of border studies, an internationally recognized area of expertise of the Karelian Institute, UEF (Joensuu), in order to evaluate EU-Africa relations in a changing global order. An important aim of the conference will also get informed by lessons and parallels drawn from across Africa, and chiefly, the integration experience of the EU—particularly the Schengen Area—in moving from free movement of labour (only) to EU citizenship, as enshrined in Article 20 (1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Africa, in particular, is characterised by extensive interactions across its artificial and contiguous borders and borderlands, just as there are increasing migration flows from Africa to Europe.

The issue of migration is challenging intra-Africa relationships as well as its relationships with other regions of the world, such as Europe. Thus, the imperative to examine intra-Africa relations vis-à-vis migration, in the context of borders and boundaries and evaluate EU-Africa relations in a global order characterised by unprecedented fluxes of men, women and children between the two continents. In particular, Africa is characterised by extensive interactions across its artificial and contiguous borders and borderlands, just as there are increasing flows of migration from Africa to Europe. Several questions arise, such as inter alia; How should these fluxes be managed to promote socioeconomic transformation and development in Africa? What lessons can be gleaned from the experiences of the EU?

This conference is timely as it speaks to contemporary but longstanding issues that impact the continents concerned and the global political economy. Its outcomes and products will speak directly to and inform policy in a bid to formulate working solutions to these challenges. It will also contribute to ongoing discussions and debates in academia on matters raised and thus contribute to theory building. Moreover, the project has as its innovative strength, the proposed conferring of academics, policy makers and practitioners to exchange views, experiences and seek solutions to challenges concerning human mobility in general and the related issues of borders, boundaries and regional integration. The potential of networks that will also be built from this experience for future endeavours and development in general for Africa, the EU and relationships between the continents cannot be overstated.

Following the kick off conference hosted by the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation in Pretoria, South Africa, this second conference will be a two two-day event that will focus on human mobility and migration issues with respect to borders, boundaries and regional integration, and one international conference focusing on EU-Africa relations vis-à-vis migration and borders, under the theme “the EU-Africa migration conundrum in a changing global order.” In addition to the open conference, a closed workshop will be held in which participants will engage in detailed exchanges and discussions of issues framed out in the concept note.

For any other questions, please contact Dr. Jussi Laine: jussi.laine@uef.fi

 

The conference is supported by the Jean Monnet activity within the ERASMUS+ programme Africa-EU relations, migration, development and integration (587767-EPP-1-2017-1-ZA-EPPJMO-PROJECT) together with the Joensuu University Foundation.