Event Review: Policy Hackathon, International Migration in Crisis

On 17 October, King’s Think Tank’s  European Affairs and Defence and Diplomacy Policy Centres co-hosted an event exploring migration policy in a time of regional, and potentially global, crisis. The event was interactive, with teams of students grouped together, each with a different migration focus. The event’s aim was to create successful and enactable policy suggestions which would alleviate certain pressures within each migration focus. Whilst the teams were each allocated a specific migration crisis (US-Mexico Border Crisis, European Refugee Crisis, Post-Soviet State migration, Migration from the Rohingya Crisis in Myanmar, or Venezuelan/Colombian Migration), they were free to set their own identity and policy focus. Each group then had 2 minutes to present their proposals, competing for the chance to be published on the  King’s Think Tank Blog. 

The event had two guest speakers, Dr Alex Clarkson and Dr Muzaffer Kutlay, both from King’s College London’s Department of European and International Studies, who provided introductory remarks on contemporary migration issues and guidance on how to formulate a successful policy proposal. Dr Clarkson’s main work has focused on the relationship between German politics and migration after the Second World War. He introduced issues surrounding migration, border security and population management before providing some useful tips to the participating students, particularly highlighting the need to consider context when formulating an enactable policy suggestion. Dr Kutlay then contributed with her expertise on forced migration and the European Union’s policy on refugees. 

The event allowed students to explore the many facets of policy formulation and migration issues. In addition, the groups not only had to collaborate in large teams but also had to create a narrower focus within their broad migration issue. For example, within the Rohingya crisis, the team decided to focus on ASEAN’s role and policy relating to the issue. Students were therefore encouraged to engage with the topics in ways that interested them most, allowing for flexibility and the amalgamation of knowledge from different disciplines to create innovative and creative solutions. 

As a result of the variety of students from different faculties and backgrounds, the event saw multiple approaches and a range of suggested methods of solving these global issues. The team who worked on the US/Mexico border crisis took a more security-oriented approach whilst others, like the team focused on the Venezuelan/Colombian crisis, aimed to use diplomatic meditation to resolve the issue. European Affairs and Defence and Diplomacy would like to congratulate these teams for their winning policy proposals – look out for them soon on the blog! Other approaches saw the formation of a Franco/German collaboration, ways to tackle the underlying cultural and racial issues fuelling the migration crisis, and ways to boost domestic employment levels to incentivise remaining rather than migrating. The policy simulation was therefore diverse and fostered an environment of creative policy formulation.

Overall, the event provided a setting in which both those with little experience in  policy writing and those more accustomed to policy formulation could collaborate and create enactable and innovative suggestions to alleviate some of the difficulties modern migration poses across the globe. European Affairs and Defence and Diplomacy would like to thank our speakers and everyone who attended for their participation.

Chloe Foster

Chloe Foster is editor for the European Affairs policy centre.


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