2020 AGM lecture | Migration diplomacy in the Levant: Lessons from the Syrian refugee crisis

18 November 2020

How do states’ foreign policy goals affect their policies towards refugees? What is the impact of forced displacement on host states’ political development? Gerasimos Tsourapas draws on elite interviews conducted across Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey in the context of the Syrian refugee crisis to examine the particularities of migration diplomacy in the Levant.

He identifies how the three states sought to secure economic aid from the international community, relying on both bargains and threats, in exchange for hosting Syrian refugees within their borders. In fact, the absence of a functioning global refugee regime and the reluctance of Western countries to host refugees led to the commodification of forced migration and the emergence of a new type of state, in which forced migration constitutes an instrument of economic leverage – the refugee rentier state.

In this talk, Gerasimos discusses the effects of such processes on the international politics of the Levant, as well as on the future of refugee protection across the world.

About the speaker:

Dr Gerasimos Tsourapas is Senior Lecturer in Middle East Politics at the University of Birmingham and CBRL’s Acting Honorary Treasurer. His research focuses on the politics of migrants, refugees, and diasporas in the Middle East and the broader Global South. He has also written on the international dimension of authoritarianism. Gerasimos’ first book, The Politics of Migration in Modern Egypt – Strategies for Regime Survival in Autocracies (Cambridge University Press, 2019), was awarded the 2020 ENMISA Distinguished Book Award by the International Studies Association. His second book, Migration Diplomacy in the Middle East and North Africa – Power, Mobility, and the State, is forthcoming with Manchester University Press.

Webinar recordings

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