Children Displaced Across Borders Lecture Series – Part III

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As a response to the complexity and scope of child displacement occurring with the European Union-Western-Asian and Central America-Mexico-United States contexts, the Swansea University Center for Migration Policy Research (CMPR), together with the Wales Observatory on the Human Rights of Children and Young People and the University of Houston, are building a research, policy, and practitioner-based collaborative under the umbrella title, Children Displaced Across Borders (CDAB).  

One of the primary goals of CDAB collaborative engagements is to build interdisciplinary academic support for needed and transformative change concerning legal and professional understanding of, and ability to effectively “embed” children’s rights in practices concerning children who have been displaced by conflict, human trafficking, and other forms of forced migration.

To increase awareness of the CDAB initiative, which includes a trans-Atlantic conference planned for November 17-18, 2016, a CDAB Lecture Series was launched on March 15, 2016.  Dr. Melinda Lemke, Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Wales Observatory, opened the series with an address titled, “(Dis)placement and Vulnerability of Youth and Women in the U.S.-Mexico Borderland.”  A keynote talk titled, Undocumented Children and Families across the Southern Border of the United States,” was given by Ann Webb, social work PhD student at the University of Houston.  Closing remarks were offered by Dr. Sergei Shubin, Swansea University Associate Professor of Geography and CMPR Director.      

The second seminar in the CDAB Lecture Series was held on April 20, 2016.  This lecture featured Dr. Vicki Squire, Reader in International Security at the Department of Politics and International Studies, at the University of Warwick.  Dr. Squire’s talk centered on the violence of contemporary border security practices and migrant deaths across “deserts and seas.” She focused her lecture around research conducted in the Sonoran Desert (US-Mexico) and the Mediterranean Sea (EU-North Africa), exploring similarities and differences between US and European practices of “governing migration through death.”  Looking at identification and burial practices in each context, Dr. Squire discussed the potential and limitations of interventions and offered suggestions for what might be understood as a broader “crisis of humanism.”

A third seminar in the CDAB Lecture Series was held in late June 2016 and was titled, “Transnational families: Mental health of family and children who stay behind in countries of origin.”  This lecture was given by Dr. Lucy Jordan, who is a member of the Department of Social Work and Social Administration at the University of Hong Kong.  She also holds a senior research associate appointment at the Centre for Social Development in Africa (CSDA), University of Johannesburg, wherein her professional experience emphasizes market-state-civil society strategies to address social protection needs of poor and working-poor families including access to education, employment security, family support and provision of services to vulnerable populations in emerging economies. 

The CDAB lecture focused on transnational families, increasingly common family constructions that are the result of international migration of parents during child-rearing years is commonplace.  Specifically, it covered a Child Health and Migrant Parents in Southeast Asia (CHAMPSEA) study conducted between 2008-2009, which was designed to articulate the mental health vulnerabilities of children and caregivers who live in transnational households in Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand.  A preliminary framework for understanding mental health and wellbeing, as well as implications for future research, policy and practice also were discussed. 

Information about the CDAB Lecture Series and November 17-18, 2016 conference can be directed to Jane Williams, Swansea University Associate Professor of Law and Wales Observatory Co-Director, at jane.m.williams@swansea.ac.uk or Dr. Sergei Shubin, Swansea University Associate Professor of Geography and CMPR Director, at s.v.shubin@swansea.ac.uk.