Refugee Movements Across the World: An Analysis of Selected Refugee Crises and their Management

Course Level: 
Course Open to: 
Students on-site
Academic Year: 
US Credits: 
ECTS Credits: 
Course Code: 
Course Description: 

The purpose of the course is to explore the evolution of asylum after the Second World War from a political and legal perspective, as well as a practical one, leading to the current complex and unequal situation.
Thus, the course aims at assisting the students develop and apply a rigorous as well as compassionate approach to analysing and understanding the complex nature of refugee and other forced movements, and the challenges -including difficult dilemmas-, that individuals in need of international protection, but also countries responsible for providing this protection and supportive organizations/institutions, face.
Ultimately, it should support students in acquiring the knowledge that may equip them to contribute to alleviate the suffering of refugees and other forcibly displaced people.
The course will start with an analysis of the legal framework and the political developments that led to the adoption of the 1951 Convention on the status of refugees.
It will then proceed to study the evolution of asylum through the analysis of paradigmatic past and current refugee situations including Afghanistan, Uganda, the Americas and Central Europe, and the roles played by the different stakeholders.
The analysis should lead to a better understanding of the views and actions first of the refugees and other forcibly displaced people, but also of governments, humanitarian assistance providers, including civil society, faith-based entities, international organisations, and donors.

Course Schedule:

1.   The origins of the international protection - asylum regime.  Defining key concepts.

2.   Afghanistan 1979 – 2022.  From victims of the soviet invasion to rejected asylum-seekers.

3.  Europe 2015/2022.  Two refugee crises, two approaches.

4.  Uganda.  One country, several forced displacement situations.

5. Cold war games.  The Central American crisis.

6.  Destination America: From the 1980 Cuban/Haitian crises to the building of the “Wall”.


Some of the classes may include short online presentations by an expert or a short film

Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of the course, students will,

- have a better understanding of the evolution of asylum and some of the reasons behind it, the complexity of refugee and other forced population movements and the present challenges from a variety of perspectives, including the functioning of the different stakeholders in refugee protection and assistance,

- be better able to critically assess media reports and other communications on refugee and other forced displacement movements,

- be in a better position to discuss and present their views on current refugee crises and some of the dilemmas, using a rigorous while empathetic approach.

Thus, students will be expected to read the suggested literature and actively participate in class discussions, including some interactive exercises.