‘Rethinking the “Regional” in Refugee Law and Policy’

4th Annual Conference, Refugee Law Initiative, University of London

3 – 5 June 2019

The 4th Annual Conference of the Refugee Law Initiative (RLI) will be held on Monday 3 June to Wednesday 5 June 2019 at the Senate House of the University of London.

The RLI Annual Conference offers a dedicated annual forum internationally to share and debate the latest research and cutting-edge developments in refugee protection. This conference builds on the success of the previous annual conferences that united academics, practitioners, policy-makers and students in considering pressing challenges to refugee law.

We are pleased to announce that our keynote speakers for the event are:

Professor Elena Fiddian Qasmiyeh
Professor in Migration and Refugee Studies, and Co-Director of the Migration Research Unit; Coordinator of UCL's Refuge in a Moving World Research Network

Professor Vicent Chetail
Founding Director of the Global Migration Centre and Professor of International Law at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies

George Okoth-Obbo
UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Operations

Professor David Cantor (Director, Refugee Law Initiative) will also give his inaugural lecture as part of the event.


View the conference programme here.


This year’s special theme – ‘Rethinking the “Regional” in Refugee Law and Policy’ – reflects on how a host of ‘regional’ questions loom large for refugee protection in 2019.

In Africa, the 50th anniversary of the 1969 African refugee convention raises real questions about its continuing role as the preeminent regional refugee treaty, even as the African Union declares 2019 the Year of Refugees in that region. In Europe, the future of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) is furiously debated as fracture lines grow between European Union (EU) member States and in anticipation of Brexit. Meanwhile, large-scale refugee movements from Syria, Venezuela and Myanmar strain regional responses in the Middle East, Americas and Asia.

Against this backdrop, this year’s special conference theme interrogates the role of regional refugee law and policy in light of refugee movements and shifting politics of today’s world. It asks participants to reflect on the construction of both ‘regions’ and ‘regional responses’ to local and global refugee challenges and to rethink the changing role of both law and policy in these processes. To what extent can a ‘regional’ approach continue to be taken for granted in certain parts of the world and what potential exists for the emergence of new forms of non-global (State) cooperation based on other forms of identity in the response to refugees?

Alongside presentations from keynote speakers, several panel sessions will be devoted to this theme. 


The remainder of panel slots will be open to ANY topic on law, policy and practice relating to refugees, IDPs, stateless persons and forced migrants. They offer a platform for a broader range of high-quality research in this field. 


All attendees, including presenters, will need to register for the conference based on the following terms. Conference registration for one day only is not available.

  • B. Non-Early Bird - booking completed after 1 March 2019: Standard - £150; Concession (student, unemployed etc.) - £120; RLI affiliates (SRAs, RAs, MA Refugee Protection students) - £100

Registration is available now through this link.

We strongly encourage registration, with a discounted rate available, by former or current refugees as presenters or participants at the conference. Please contact us at rli.conference2019@sas.ac.uk for further information.

Participants are responsible for making their own visa, travel and accommodation arrangements, which are not included in the registration fee. However, we can provide details for economical hotels close to the conference venue.

Please view the practical information, and specific information for poster presenters.

RLI Affiliates should note that we are planning an RLI Affiliates Meeting after the conference proceedings on 5 June, and a Research Affiliates Workshop on Thursday 6 June, and to note this when making their travel arrangements.

A limited number of places are available so please book early to avoid disappointment.