In this short blog post Mohamed Dabo, an IMSISS scholarship student from Sierra Leone, talks about his participation and experience at the Geneva Summer School on Global and Regional Migration Governance.


The Global and Regional Migration Governance summer school organised by the University of Geneva (18th – 29th June 2018) provided an opportunity for me to learn from key stakeholders within the field of migration, and how migration is often influenced by politics from theory to practice.

This summer school attracted both local and international participants within the remit of academia, policy makers and non-governmental organizations; with 95% being female and only a surprising 5% being male participants. This sharp divide may represent a clarion call about the negative realities of migration and how these more often than not affects women who are more vulnerable in the migration process.  It is therefore, not surprising that gender plays such an important part within migration discourses. Interestingly, participation in the summer school also reflected another division in migration discourse.  Only two representatives came from the global South, a region which is heavily impacted by migration challenges. There may be a number of reasons for this, but it made my participation in the summer school all the more important for me.

Most importantly, this summer school provided a platform to discuss the Global Compact on Migration with the various agencies and institutions involved in the migration governance structure; especially those from within the wider UN.  A Global Compact on Migration is a strategic document drafted in May 2018 with twenty-three clear objectives mapping the way forward to address the challenges faced by world leaders on migration issues.

Generally, the course took a diversified methodology with contributions from guest speakers, academic professors and field visits. Various lectures were delivered but not limited to migration management, climate change-migration nexus, trans-regional diffusion of asylum and refugee policies, and migration governance within the context of various regions and stakeholders across the world. The crux of migration governance within the EU and how the Union cooperates with other bodies, like the African Union, were key thoughts to ponder. The discourse also highlighted the EU’s approach to humanitarian aid and migration/refugees; including an examination of the EU strategies towards the Syrian crisis in terms of the refugee crisis.

The dialectic process and the practical aspect of migration within the European context are some of the best examples to examine within the framework of humanitarian law regarding global and regional migration governance.

From my time examining the Global Compact on Migration during this summer school it became clear that there is need to provide a common guidance and support for states addressing irregular migration challenges. I believe that this strategy serves as a possible multilateral solution if not indeed a possible antidote for popularism driven by migration concerns.

It is also worthy of ask; how many people does the Global Compact on Migration benefit? This can only be addressed by adequately looking at the aims of the compact and considering them in relation to the realities on the ground. It is crystal clear to me that there is a rights based approach on one hand and the practical approach on the other and these often struggle to operate in harmony.

Overall, I improved my understanding of the migration challenges facing the world today and I was honoured to participate in this summer school. It was also delightful to return to Geneva, which is one of the beautiful cities of Europe.

A bientôt Genève!

About blog writer

Mohamed is a Sierra Leonean postgraduate student studying the joint International Masters in Security, Intelligence and Strategic Studies. His interests are African Security, Energy Security, Migration, Public Health Emergency, ICTs, Disaster Risk Management and Security Sector Reform. He is an alumnus of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy.


Date: August 14, 2018 4:59 pm