Societies and Identities: The Multifaceted Impact of Migration (2010)

19-20 July 2010
International Conference Center Geneva (CICG)
17 rue de Varembé, Geneva, Switzerland


The workshop on "Societies and Identities: The Multifaceted Impact of Migration" is being held in the framework of IOM's International Dialogue on Migration (IDM) which in 2010 has the overall theme of "Migration and Social Change".

Consistent with IOM's mandate and Strategy Document (activity 7), the IDM provides a forum for IOM Member and Observer States, as well as international and non-governmental organizations and other partners, to share experiences and perspectives on migration matters with a view to identifying practical solutions and fostering greater cooperation.


Migration is a catalyst for change and development - it has the potential to enrich not only the economies, but more importantly perhaps the culture and societies of both countries of origin and destination. For example, while financial remittances are now widely recognized as a product of migration, social remittances, including the transfer of ideas, behaviours, identities and social capital, have received much less attention. At the same time, migration transforms notions of national and personal identity and some societies struggle with the process of re-defining their collective identities and maintaining social cohesion in the face of increasing diversity. Lastly, migrants themselves may bring new ideas to their host countries; while at the same time some migrant communities may hold on to lifestyles and traditions they associate with their places of origin, even if those places have since changed. Such tensions need to be negotiated in daily social interaction.

This workshop will focus on migration as an impulse for socio-cultural transformations in both home and host countries. It will explore the policy implications presented by the complexities of migrant interactions with societies and specifically aims to:

  • Bring together governments to exchange their experiences of and responses to the realities of social diversity in their respective societies and to identify effective practices for maximizing contributions of migrants in both home and host societies;
  • Provide the IOM membership with the opportunity to discuss social consequences of migration, including pertinent issues such as managing perceptions of migrants and migration, effective advancement of national and sub-national integration policies, and mitigation of negative impacts on families;
  • Exchange innovative ideas for multi-stakeholder partnerships at all stages of the migration process including strategies for building social capital and cohesion at the local level.


19 July 2010 - Day I
09:00 - 10:00 Registration
10:00 - 10:10

Welcome Remarks

  • William Lacy Swing, Director General, International Organization for Migration (IOM) (Statement)
10:10 - 10:40

Keynote Address

  • Peggy Levitt, Professor and Chair in Sociology, Wellesley College (Bio|Presentation)
10:40 - 11:00

Setting the Scene

11:00 - 13:00

Session I: Addressing the Complex Relationship Between Migrants and Societies

Moderator: Anil Kumar Kokil, Assistant Director, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, Mauritius


  • Ali El Mhamdi, Director of Consular and Social Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Kingdom of Morocco (Bio)
  • Peter van Vliet, Assistant Secretary, Multicultural Affairs Branch, Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Australia (Bio|Statement)

General Discussion

13:00 - 14:00 Afternoon Break
14:00 - 15:00

Side Event: Information Dissemination and Awareness Raising for Migrants and Receiving Communities

Organized by IOM's Labour and Facilitated Migration (LFM) Department


  • Elizabeth Warn, Labour Migration & Development Specialist, IOM Geneva (Presentation)
  • Pindie Stephen, Senior Migrant Training Officer, IOM Geneva (Presentation)
15:00 - 18:00

Session II: Managing Perceptions and Misperceptions of Migrants and Migration

Moderator: Nicolás Marugán Zalba, Director, Spanish Observatory for Racism and Xenophobia, Ministry of Labour and Immigration, Spain (Bio)


  • Nora Pérez Vichich, Principal Advisor, Directorate for International Migration, Directorate-General for Consular Services, Ministry of Foreign Relations, International Trade and Culture, Argentina (Bio|Statement: English - Spanish)
  • Chinedu Onyejelem, Editor and Publisher, Metro Eireann Newspaper, Ireland (Bio )
  • Sarah Mulley, Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Public Policy Research, United Kingdom (Bio|Presentation)
  • Kenneth Wyne Mutuma, Nelson Mandela Foundation Community, South Africa (Bio)

General Discussion

20 July 2010 – Day II
10:00 - 12:30

Session III: Supporting Migrants and Their Families: Migrant Women, Youth and Family in the Wider Social Context

Moderator: Philippe Boncour, Head, International Dialogue on Migration, IOM


  • Salvador Berúmen Sandoval, Director of Research, Centre for Migration Studies, National Migration Institute, Mexico (Bio|Presentation)
  • Glenda Watt, Strategy Manager, Corporate Services, City of Edinburgh Council, United Kingdom (Bio|Presentation)
  • Mulayka Laura Enriello, Responsible for Education, Italian Islamic Religious Community (Comunità Religiosa Islamica Italiana CO.RE.IS.) (Bio|Statement)

General Discussion

12:30 - 13:00

Migrant's Voice

  • Nastasa Marjanovic
13:00 - 14:00 Afternoon Break
14:00 - 15:00

Side Event: The Role of Youth Organizations in Fostering Participation of Young Migrants

Organized by the European Youth Forum


  • Ben Vanpeperstraete, Board Member, European Youth Forum
  • Vanessa Moura Pereira, Associação de Melhoramentos e Recreativo do Talude
  • Samir Biberovic, Amaro Drom e.V.
15:00 - 17:50

Session IV: Enhancing Migrants' Contributions to Societies: Social Remittances and Other Impacts of Migration

Moderator: Arnon Mantver, Chair of the Board of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Center for International Migration and Integration, Israel (Bio)


  • Teresita Manzala, Center Director, National Reintegration Center for Overseas Filipino Workers, Philippines (Bio|Presentation)
  • Deo Nkusi, Advisor in Diaspora Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Rwanda (Bio|Presentation)
  • Robert Palmer, Director, Culture and Cultural and Natural Heritage, Council of Europe (Bio|Statement)
  • Florence Laufer (Bio), Migration and Integration Officer, United Nations Alliance of Civilisations and Christine Aghazarm (Bio), Project Officer, Migration Policy and Research Department, IOM (joint presentation)

General Discussion

17:50 - 18:00

Wrap-up and Closing Remarks

End of the Workshop