Beyond borders: A diplomatic approach to research on global migration challenges

Faculty of Law - Common Law Section
Faculty member

By Common Law

Communication, Faculty of Law

A photo of the professor Delphine Nakashe, smiling with arms crossed. The background photo is a crowd of people walking.
Over 250 million migrants around the world currently live outside their country of birth.

While migration presents countless positive opportunities and possibilities, it can also create significant challenges when it is not properly regulated. Progress can only come when countries work together. 

Professor Delphine Nakache is joining with Professor Thibaut Fleury Graff of the Université Paris-Panthéon Assas, in France, to compare insights from research in Canada with those from research in France. Specifically, the two researchers hope to improve political and diplomatic decision-making on legal migration routes. Both Canada and France have endorsed recent UN-led compacts on migration and refuge, but despite positive examples of international leadership from both nations, there is still much work to do.

Canada has received international recognition for its refugee resettlement policies, but domestically, the challenges it faces with implementing these policies have called into question how open Canada really is to refugees and asylum seekers. France, meanwhile, has endorsed both the Global Compact on Migration and the European Union Asylum and Migration Pact, but the legal status of resettled persons in France remains uncertain. Both countries are in need of stronger legal frameworks to govern how they deal with migrants and specifically refugees.

Professors Nakache and Fleury Graff are both experts in refugee law in their respective countries, and both have recently devoted a significant part of their research to studying the Global Compact on Migration. Together, they hope to be able to develop and advance knowledge that can help to shape policy discussions, establish legal frameworks and procedures at both domestic and international levels and improve internal decision-making processes in line with global compacts. They seek to gain insights from all of the players concerned – from political decision-makers and academic specialists in the field, to migrants and refugees themselves.

This endeavour is funded by the University of Ottawa’s Visiting Researchers Program in the context of its thematic appeal for projects that support scientific diplomacy.  Specifically, the program leverages a partnership between the University of Ottawa and the Embassy of France in Canada to foster collaborations between researchers from Canada and France to advance projects dependent on diplomacy between the two nations. Professor Nakache will undertake to visit Professor Fleury Graff’s institution in an effort to expand their respective networks, explore each region’s best practices, and ultimately explore ways to foster the kind of international cooperation required to address the global refugee crisis effectively.

Bravo to Professor Nakache and Professor Fleury Graff on undertaking this important project!