International Metropolis Conference Abstract submission

June 24 to 28, 2019

The Promise of Migration

Inclusion, Economic Growth and Global Cooperation

Conference themes

The International Metropolis Conferences offer an apolitical forum for discussing contemporary migration, integration, and population diversity, and their effects on societies. The conferences reunite researchers, policy makers, officials of governments and international organizations, and civil society from around the world, seeking to better understand the challenges and opportunities related to migration worldwide.

The 2019 Conference will explore the “promise of migration,” as it relates to the migrants themselves, host societies, and sending communities. It is an opportunity to connect with like-minded professionals and reflect on the proposition that migration has the potential to enhance inclusion, economic growth, and global co-operation.

Each conference day features a keynote, two plenary sessions organized around the themes below, and a range of workshops that integrate cross-cutting policy areas and other topics of interest to the migration community.

On behalf of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, the International Steering Committee, and the International Metropolis Conference Project team, we would like to thank our plenary speakers for participating at the International Metropolis Conference 2019.

Plenary speakers

Click on speakers' names to access their bios and presentation abstracts. We’ll add more speakers as they are confirmed.

The International Metropolis Conference 2019 has been accredited by ICCRC for 19.5 CPD hours

1. Quest for global governance: Compacts and sustainable development goals (1.5 CPD)

In response to the migration and refugee movements in the Mediterranean region in 2015 and 2016, the United Nations launched a twin process of creating a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration and a Global Compact on Refugees. The GCM was adopted in December of 2018 at a conference in Marrakech and the GCR was adopted by the UN General Assembly also in December 2018. By all accounts, this coming to agreement by the international community was a remarkable achievement in itself. What remains to be seen is how these agreements will be used by UN member states, especially to manage migration and refugee-related crises of the sort that motivated their creation. Speakers in this session will look carefully and critically at what has been achieved by the compacts and will reflect as well on the potential for migration to contribute to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Jean-Nicolas Beuze

Deputy Representative, UNHCR Canada


Abdelmounime El Madani

Director General of ANAPEC


Kathleen Newland

Co-Founder, Migration Policy Institute

United States of America

Fr. Fabio Baggio

Under secretary of state

Vatican STATE

Anna Triandafyllidou

Director, Cultural Pluralism Research Area, European University Institute


Michele Klein Solomon

Director, Global Compact for Migration


2. South-south migration (0 CPD)

Although the size of South to South migration flows are the equal of South to North flows, they receive comparatively less attention by academic researchers, national governments, and the international community whose concerns have been dominated by the interests of Europe and North America. With the rise of interest in the global scope of migration, including at the United Nations, a better understanding of South-South migration is overdue. This plenary session will focus on countries in the global South as both labour destinations and sites of refuge. Speakers will examine the labour migration aspects of South-South migration, how these flows are managed and by whom, and the strains that countries in the Global South face in hosting often very large numbers of refugees.

Diego Beltrand


IOM Regional Director for South America

South America

Dr. Linda Adhiambo Oucho

Executive Director, AMADPOC


Andrew Gardner

Professor of Anthropology, University of Puget Sound in Tacoma

United States of America

Silvia Nùñez Garcìa

Professor, CISAN-UNAM


Santiago Chávez

Vice Minister of Human Mobility


3. The economic impact of immigration (1.5 CPD)

The number of international migrants worldwide has continued to grow rapidly in recent years, and with it, so has the potential impact of these migrants on the host societies. As a result, there is increasing research and policy interest especially in the potential economic impacts of migration, including impacts on national incomes, living standards, labour force growth, economic activity, unemployment and wages, productivity, innovation, trade, investment, and job creation. This session will examine the links between migration policies and the resulting economic impacts, with speakers debating the economic benefits, risks, and costs associated with migration.

Paul MacKinnon


Assistant Deputy Minister Strategic and Program Policy, IRCC


Ekrame Boubtane

Visiting Research Scholar at Paris School of Economics


Michael Van der Cammen

Migration and Refugee Area, German Public Employment Agency


David Green

Professor at the Vancouver School of Economics


Dr. Amelie F. Constant

Visiting Research Scholar at Princeton University

United States of America

4. Non-state actors and the migration industry (1.5 CPD)

We know from international social surveys that the number of people wishing to migrate is much larger than the number of migrants desired by receiving states. A virtual industry of not only legitimate consultants and lawyers but as well smugglers and traffickers has emerged out of this mismatch, an industry that offers services to prospective migrants as well as to employers and, increasingly, educational institutions. These services range widely from assisting migrants to navigate the legal and administrative complexities of working overseas to the more pernicious human smuggling and trafficking. The results of labour migration can also vary according to the type of non-state actors used, and include, in some cases, the abuse of migrants’ human rights. Speakers in this plenary session will examine the challenges, risks, and advantages of managing migration through non-state actors and how migrants’ rights can be best protected.

Yasir Naqvi


Chief Executive Officer, Institute for Canadian Citizenship


Oliviero Forti

Head of Migration Policies and International Protection Department in Caritas Italiana


Chris Friesen

Director, Immigrant Services Society of B.C.


Aileen Farrol

RCIC Ambassador, Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC)


Ryszard Cholewinski

Senior Migration Specialist in ILO


5. Internally displaced persons (1.5 CPD)

The 1951 Geneva Convention on refugees restricts the definition of refugees to those who have crossed an international border in fleeing persecution. Those who had fled persecution or other forms of danger but who have not crossed their homeland border into another country are not regarded as refugees but are termed “internally displaced persons”. Theoretically, they are in the care of their homeland government until they leave their territory. The international community, recognizing the sovereignty of states over their territories, has been reluctant to intervene in cases where IDPs remain at risk within their homeland boundaries. It is only through measures justified by the “Responsibility to Protect”, adopted only in 2005, that the international community can intervene to prevent genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. The reluctance to invoke the R2P remains high as has been seen in numerous recent cases including in Syria, Myanmar, Colombia, South Sudan, and many others. This session will look carefully at how IDPs can be better protected.

Jean-Nicolas Beuze

Deputy Representative, UNHCR Canada


Dr. Cecile Dubernet

Lecturer, Catholic University of Paris


Elizabeth Ferris

Research Professor with the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University

United States of America

Gimena Sánchez

Director for the Andes at the Washington Office on Latin America

United States of America

Cecilia Jimenez-Damary

Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons appointed by the Human Rights Council


6. The effects of technology on migration and integration (1.5 CPD)

Information and communications technologies are playing an increasingly important role in refugee and asylum seeker movements and in the management of migration. This plenary will focus on the growth of artificial intelligence and the potential use and risks of algorithms in immigrant selection, , the use of biometrics to better manage migrant identity and mitigate security concerns, the use of social media in the integration of migrants, and the use of social media to mobilize anti-immigrant sentiments and actions.

Ümit Kiziltan


Director General and Head of Evaluation / Research and Evaluation


Marie McAuliffe

Head, Migration Policy Research Division (IOM)


Dr. Diego Rubio

Executive Director / Professor at the Center for the Governance of Change


Carlo Schwarz

University of Warwick


Zaina Sovani

Assistant Deputy Minister of Transformation and Chief Information Officer, IRCC


7. Cities and migration (1.5 CPD)

Social integration, inevitably, occurs, or is impeded, in local contexts. To an important degree, the potential for integration is related to the nature and degree of interaction between people across diversity (ethnic, linguistic, religious, and socioeconomic, etc.). Municipal governments and civil society organizations play important roles in shaping this social context. With limited resources, for example, municipalities are expected to address everyday challenges faced by an increasingly diverse newcomer population that includes vulnerable groups such as refugees, children and LGBTQ2+ people. Also, the efforts of non-governmental organizations to support newcomer integration are heavily influenced by the social context. This plenary will explore the critical role of municipalities and local civil society in substantiating the “promise of migration” and in the successful inclusion of newcomers.

Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin


Mayor of Gatineau


Dr. Anna Visvizi

Head of Research, Research & Innovation Institute
Associate Professor, Deree College – The American College of Greece

Poland / Greece

John G. Bongat

Mayor of Naga


Debbie Douglas

Executive Director of the Ontario Council of agencies Serving Immigrants


Colleen Thouez

Director, Welcoming and Integrated Societies Division at the Open Society Foundations (OSF)

United States of America

Gioconda Herrera

Sociology and Gender Studies Professor,
Flasco University


8. Public confidence in migration (1.5 CPD)

Growing public anxiety about immigration is one of the forces fuelling anti-immigration movements and populist politics. This is particularly true when migration is believed to be related to threats to national security. When this type of anxiety takes hold, it represents a growing challenge for the implementation of local, national, and international best practices in migration governance. This plenary will explore the relationship between migration, perceptions of risk, and public attitudes. It will also consider different approaches to generate and strengthen public confidence regarding immigration from the standpoint of established media and social networks, of government agencies, of international organizations, and of civil society.

Robert Russo

Parliamentary Bureau Chief, CBC News


Ruiz Neil

Associate Director, Global Migration & Demography Research, Pew Research Center

United States of America

Diana Zavala-Rojas

Research Fellow, Universitat Pompeu Fabra


Rob McNeil

Researcher, COMPAS

United Kingdom

Abel Chikanda

Assistant Professor, University of Kansas

South Africa

Keith Neuman, PH.D.

Executive Director, Environics Institute