As of January 2019, there were 68.5 million forcibly displaced people in the world, including 25.4 million refugees who have fled their homes to escape violence and persecution. This includes 40 million who are displaced but still within the borders of their home country. This is the sixth consecutive record year since the number was first tracked after World War 2.

These crises are not limited to any one region, either. Millions have left Venezuela in recent decades, there are 11 million Syrians who are either internally displaced and refugees, nearly a million Rohingya have crossed the border into Bangladesh, with countless others murdered or displaced. Responses to these crises have varied and none are without controversy.  Australia's use of detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island has raised major human rights questions, a policy with no end in sight and no easy answers.  

Just as there is no single reason for refugee crises – famine, war, crime, repression – there is no single solution either. UQ experts will discuss how the world has and must adapt to ongoing and future crises.

Alex BellamyProfessor Alex Bellamy
Director of the Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

Alex is Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies and Director of the Asia Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect at the University of Queensland. He is also Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and non-resident senior adviser at the International Peace Institute (New York).

Since 2011 he has served as consultant to the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect and has been a Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford (2014–15 and 2017–18).

Publications include “World Peace (and How to achieve it)” (Oxford, 2019) and “East Asia’s Other Miracle: Explaining the Decline of Mass Atrocities” (Oxford, 2017). He is currently completing “The Destruction of Syria: civil war, mass atrocities, and the failure of international diplomacy” for Columbia University Press.

Dr Gerhard Hoffstaedter
Senior Lecturer in Anthropology, School of Social Science

Gerhard conducts research with refugees in Southeast Asia, on refugee and immigration policy and on religion and the state. He is a regular commentator in newspapers, radio and online media on topics of his research. 

His first book entitled Modern Muslim Identities: Negotiating Religion and Ethnicity in Malaysia is published by NIAS Press. A co-edited volume Urban Refugees: Challenges in Protection, Services and Policy was published with Routledge in 2015.

In 2014 he launched a social anthropology Massive Open Online Course World101x: The Anthropology of Current World Issues that has taught thousands of students how to think more anthropologically. 


Dr Sara Riva

Sara, currently with Griffith University, will be joining The University of Queensland in January 2020 as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow. In this role she will spend two years researching with the refugee community in Queensland before spending a third year at the Spanish Research Council (CISC). 

She holds a PhD in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the Ohio State University.  From a transnational feminist approach, her dissertation looks at the violence Central American women experience when they seek asylum. Part of her research was published in the Citizenship Studies Journal (2017) where she theorizes the punishment some of these women go through when they cross the US-Mexico border. She puts refugee issues in the United States in conversation with Europe and Australia and theorizes the border as a transnational sovereign assemblage. Sara’s academic work has been informed and underpinned by many years working for a number of international bodies—including the UN—in different parts of the world. Her research interests center on the intersectionality of feminism, border abolition, humanitarianism, neoliberalism, and colonialism. One of Sara’s passions involves fiction writing, that’s why she is currently working on a crime novel.”


About Global Leadership Series

The Global Leadership Series (GLS) is a lively program of events for alumni and community members. Join us for lectures and discussions with the best of the best UQ-related speakers on matters that impact your community and shape your ideas of the world.

The series is an opportunity for you to engage with great minds on global matters, participate in thought-provoking discussions and network with UQ alumni and community members. All alumni, parents, community members and friends are welcome to attend the Global Leadership Series events.

Listen to podcasts of previous GLS events click here


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