The Arc of Protection: Reforming the International Refugee Regime

The Arc of Protection: Reforming the International Refugee Regime
14 March 2019, 6.00pm - 8.00pm
IALS Council Chamber, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, 17 Russell Square, London WC1B 5DR

The International Refugee Law Seminar Series, sponsored by the Refugee Law Initiative at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, provides a public space for discussion, promotion and dissemination of research between academics, practitioners, students and others with an interest in the refugee and forced migration field.

9th International Refugee Law Seminar Series

The 9th International Refugee Law Seminar Series is an open theme covering a range of topics related to refugee law and protection, and presented by experts from a number of professions.

The Arc of Protection: Reforming the International Refugee Regime


The international refugee regime is broken. Too many people remain refugees for too long, as states in the global North have cut resettlement programs and adopted policies to deter asylum-seekers while conflicts causing flight go unresolved. To repair and reform the current system, The Arc of Protection (co-authored by T. Alexander Aleinikoff and Leah Zamore) suggests a new focus on refugee rights, autonomy, and mobility and attention to the role that development actors can play in responding to refugee situations. Serious changes are  needed at the level of structures and institutions, especially when it comes to global responsibility-sharing.  These changes are unlikely to be made by states, who have watched over the decline of the refugee protection system.  Reform will require new actors and ultimately political action.


Alex Aleinikoff is University Professor, and has served as Director of the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility since January 2017. He received a J.D. from the Yale Law School and a B.A. from Swarthmore College.

Alex has written widely in the areas of immigration and refugee law and policy, transnational law, citizenship, race, and constitutional law. He is currently at work on a book tentatively titled, The Arc of Protection: Reforming the International Refugee Regime. His book Semblances of Sovereignty: The Constitution, the State, and American Citizenship was published by Harvard University Press in 2002. Alex is a co-author of leading legal casebooks on immigration law and forced migration.

Before coming to The New School, Alex served as United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees (2010-15) and was a professor at Georgetown University Law Center, where he also served as dean and Executive Vice President of Georgetown University. He was co-chair of the Immigration Task Force for President Barack Obama’s transition team in 2008. From 1994 to 1997, he served as the general counsel, and then executive associate commissioner for programs, at the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

Alex was inducted into the American Academy of Arts of Sciences in 2014.


Refugee Law Initiative
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