Randall Hansen

Friday, February 8th 2019 | 7:00pm

The world is facing a global refugee crisis unprecedented since the 1945-1952 period. There are currently almost 68 million forcibly displaced. The lecture will review the causes of mass forced migration and explore the solutions. It will argue that solutions are not found in the global north; they are rather found in the global south – where most refugees are. It ends by making a series of policy recommendations:

  1. Resources should be concentrated where refugees in fact are: the global south. Those resources should be used to underpin:
  2. Meaningful local inclusion. Though most want to, few refugees will return to their countries of origin or obtain asylum in the west. They should be given economic, political, and social opportunities in the countries to which they flee. For inclusion to work, several elements have to be in place.
  3. Nascent efforts to encourage refugee self-sufficiency should be expanded. Beyond getting the local rights framework in place, comparative research may shed more light on when refugee self-reliance is achieved, when it is not, and why.
  4. Every effort should be made to expand refugee access to education and to improve the quality of education. Ideally, refugees should be trained in areas that complement rather than compete with local populations.
  5. Finally, in all cases of support, donor states, NGOs, and IOs should attempt to improve, through funding better teachers, better schools, better transportation and other infrastructure, life for both refugees and locals. To the degree they do, refugees may come to be seen not as an intolerable burden but an economic and political asset.


Randall Hansen is Interim Director, Munk School of Global Affairs and Full Professor and Canada Research Chair in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. He works on migration & citizenship, eugenics & population policy, and the effect of war on civilian populations. His published works include Disobeying Hitler: German Resistance after July 20, 1944 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), Sterilized by the State: Eugenics, Race and the Population Scare in 20th Century North America (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013), Fire and Fury: the Allied Bombing of Germany (Doubleday, 2008), and Citizenship and Immigration in Post-War Britain (OUP, 2000). He has also co-edited Immigration and Public Opinion in Liberal Democracies (with David Leal and Gary P. Freeman) (New York: Routledge, 2012), Migration States and International Cooperation (with Jeannette Money and Jobst Koehler, Routledge, 2011), Towards a European Nationality (w. P. Weil, Palgrave, 2001), Dual Nationality, Social Rights, and Federal Citizenship in the U.S. and Europe (w. P. Weil, Berghahn, 2002), and Immigration and asylum from 1900 to the present [w. M. Gibney, ABC-CLIO, 2005].