The buzzwords climate change and migration are very much en vogue, not only in everyday news but also in contemporary research. Not surprisingly, many perspectives and debates raise controversies, contradict, and ignore each other. Prof. Patrick Sakdapolrak, who researches demography and migration at the University of Vienna and who is the Research Group Leader of the Trans|Re Project at the Department of Geography in Bonn states that “it is about time to bring all researchers working on these topics together and confront each other with diverse perspectives.“
Many highly regarded researchers and migration experts agreed with Prof. Patrick Sakdapolrak’s statement and travelled from all over the world to Bonn in order to attend the interdisciplinary symposium Connecting the Dots: Migration, Environment, Resilience which took place from 29th to 30th September, 2016.
More than 60 participants made their way to the Department of Geography in Bonn from Singapore, Thailand, Great Britain, Myanmar, India, Ethiopia, Togo, Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria, The Netherlands, USA, Canada, and Germany, with the aim of generating a lively exchange.
In his very inspiring key lecture, Prof. Jonathan Rigg from the National University of Singapore argued that “Rather than seeing migration as progressive, I see it as tied in complex ways to the nature and as a character of socio-economic transformation and the policies that underpin it.” In more than 20 presentation, from meta-theoretical considerations up to concrete empirical insights, diverse perspectives were illustrated in multiple ways by the presenters. The positive prevailing mood was accompanied by some self-critical thoughts: "Sometimes we are just like ships passing in the night,“ said Jonathan Rigg.
In her keynote speech, Koko Warner from the UN Climate Change secretariat (UNFCCC) made clear that outside of the academic context people are very much concerned with topics such as migration, adaptation, environmental change, and social resilience. Therefore, she stresses the importance of accessibility of research findings to a broader (non-academic) audience.
Image Credits: Sopon Naruchaikusol.