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UBIAS chooses "Migrations" as the common theme for the member institutes in 2019

by Richard Meckien - published Dec 13, 2018 05:20 PM - - last modified Aug 25, 2023 11:12 AM
Rights: Original version in Portuguese by Victor Matioli.


"Migrations" has been chosen as Topic of the Year by the international network of University-Based Institutes for Advanced Study (UBIAS) for 2019. The definition took place during the last meeting of the network's Steering Committee in Bielefeld, last November. Despite the recent definition, the topic had already been discussed at the 5th Directors' Conference, held at the headquarters of the IEA-USP in March this year.

The purpose of choosing annual themes is to encourage researchers linked to the network's 44 members to turn their attention to important global issues. UBIAS expects that each of the institutes will carry out activities related to the recent global migratory flows in various formats, such as creating study and research groups, holding events and organizing thematic exhibitions.

In the document that justifies the choice of topic, the Steering Committee argues that "the migratory issue is not only politically and culturally timely but also challenges established social research methods." Thus, research on the subject may not only illuminate one of the great challenges of the 21st century but also develop new methods for interdisciplinary advanced study in general.

Migration and climate change

In addition to the ongoing migratory and refugee crises in the world, the Steering Committee suggests that researchers look at their relation to climate change. "Would two of the greatest challenges of our time be indelibly interconnected?" There is "mounting evidence" that climate change and natural disasters are a relevant component of the current flow of migration.

The Committee indicates possible lines of research and initial questions: "How did desertification, droughts, floods and sea level rise impact the movement of human populations, and what can we expect in the near future?"

Another aspect to be addressed is the impact that mass migrations and the expected increase in population density in urban areas can cause in the public health of the receiving regions. According to the Committee, the issue becomes more evident when one takes into account that migrant populations generally represent the most vulnerable components of societies. "Strict theoretical and empirical studies of health, demographics, and behavioral ecology of migrants are therefore urgently needed not only for academic purposes but also to guide health policies for these populations," the text argues.

In 2018, the Topic of the Year was "Aging - Life, Culture, Civilizations," and in 2017, "Fear." The first theme chosen by the network was "Media and Data Control," in 2016.

Photo: Archive / EBC