Children Displaced Across Borders - Lecture Series Part I

First recognized as a term to identify asylum seekers in the early twentieth century, the notion of what it means to be displaced along with relevant policies are increasingly contested areas.

Children and youth can be displaced within and across borders for multiple reasons.  They also can embody varied liminal identity and policy statuses before, during, and after migration.  During the last five years a massive surge in forced migration has occurred, most notably in the Iraqi-Syrian and European Union contexts, and U.S.-Mexico borderland region due to movement from the Northern Triangle nations of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.

As a response to the complexity, scale, and scope of child displacement occurring in these contexts, the Wales Observatory on the Human Rights of Children and Young People, together with the Center for Migration Policy Research (CMPR) and the University of Houston, are building a scholarly 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 through practice. 

To increase awareness of the CDAB initiative, which includes a trans-Atlantic conference planned for Autumn 2016, a CDAB Lecture Series was launched on March 15, 2016.  Dr. Melinda Lemke opened the Lecture Series with an introduction titled, “(Dis)placement and Vulnerability of Youth and Women in the U.S.-Mexico Borderland.”  Dr. Lemke completed her PhD in Educational Policy and Planning at The University of Texas at Austin, and is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Swansea University Wales Observatory.  The keynote lecture was given by Ann Webb, PhD student at the University of Houston’s Graduate School of Social Work.  Her presentation, “Undocumented Children and Families across the Southern Border of the United States,” covered push-pull factors and the experience of migration at the U.S. border.  Closing remarks were given by Dr. Sergei Shubin, Swansea University Associate Professor of Geography and CMPR Director.         

Wales Observatory Seminar 1



Dr. Melinda Lemke opens the Children Displaced Across Borders Lecture Series


Wales Observatory Seminar 2




Ann Webb begins her presentation


Wales Observatory Seminar 3






Seminar participants from Swansea University and the University of Houston engage in critical dialogue about forced migration of children and youth 





Two subsequent seminars in the CDAB Lecture Series will be held in late spring and early summer.  Information about the Lecture Series can be directed to Jane Williams, Swansea University Associate Professor of Law and Wales Observatory Co-Director, at