The workshop on "Migration and Transnationalism: Opportunities and Challenges" was held in the framework of IOM's International Dialogue on Migration (IDM) which in 2010 had an 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.


Transnationalism – people belonging to or having ties with more than one society over the course of a lifetime – is a prevalent phenomenon. This workshop was an opportunity to discuss the implications of transnationalism and migrant networks for States, societies and individuals. What innovative policy approaches are needed to make transnationalism work for individuals and societies? How is the concept of family changing in the light of transnationalism and in what ways can the disruptions that spatially separated families may experience be offset by specific policies and programmes? What are the benefits and challenges for countries of origin, transit and destination in supporting migrant networks and Diaspora engagement? What is the role of migrant networks and transnational linkages in resettlement? What role do migrant networks play in the temporary or permanent return of migrants?

This workshop focused on transnationalism as an analytical lens for the broad issue of migration and social change. It discussed the relationship between migration and transnationalism and the implications of transnational phenomena and practices for migrants and society, concentrating on the possible responses by policy makers.

Specifically, it aimed to:

  • Bring together governments to exchange their experience of and response to new transnational realities and to identify good practices for maximizing opportunities arising from transnationalism;
  • Provide the IOM membership with the opportunity to discuss the political, civic and social consequences of transnationalism, including the issue of transnational families, diasporas and other transnational networks;
  • Exchange innovative ideas for multi-stakeholder partnerships at all stages of the migration process to make transnationalism work for individuals and societies.
09 March 2010 - Day I
09:00 - 10:00 Registration
10:00 - 10:10

Welcome Remarks

  • Laura Thompson, Deputy Director General, International Organization for Migration (IOM) (Statement)
10:10 - 10:40

Keynote Address

  • Michael Keith, Director, Centre on Migration, Policy and Society, University of Oxford (Presentation)
10:40 - 11:00

Setting the Scene

11:00 - 13:00

Session I: Contextualizing Migration and Transnationalism: Case Studies

Moderator: Michele Klein Solomon, Director, Migration Policy and Research Department, IOM


  • Linda Machuca Moscoso, Vice President, Commission for Sovereignty, Integration, International Relations and Global Security, Ecuador; Member of the National Assembly representing Ecuadorians resident in the USA and Canada (Bio|Statement)
  • Reginald Thomas , Executive Director, National Insurance Services, St. Vincent and the Grenadines (Bio|Presentation)
  • Claude Reznik (Bio), Town Counsellor in Charge of Migrant Populations, Montreuil Town Council, France, and Moussa Doucouré (Bio), President, Association for the Development of Yélimané in France, France (Joint Presentation)

General Discussion

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

Side Event: Through the eyes of youth

The side event featured a selection of short films created by young people from around the world as part of the PLURAL + Youth Video Festival on Migration, Identity and Diversity 2009.

15:00 - 18:00

Session II: Nationality and Political and Social Participation in a Transnational Context

Moderator: Wies Maas, Policy and Research Officer, The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration (Bio|Presentation)


  • Michel Christos Diamessis, Deputy Permanent Representative of Greece to the United Nations Office at Geneva and Specialized Institutions in Switzerland, Greece (Statement)
  • Paul Lupunga, Acting Deputy Director, Economic and Technical Cooperation Section, Economic Management Department, Ministry of Finance and National Planning, Zambia (Bio|Presentation)
  • Renata Lapti, Deputy Chairperson, Central Election Commission, Moldova (Presentation)

General Discussion

10 March 2010 - Day II
10:00 - 10:30

Migrant's Voice

  • Jean-Claude Kibala, Democratic Republic of Congo / Germany (Statement)
    The statement was delivered on Mr. Kibala's behalf by Claudel Menghat Ekoto, IOM.
10:30 - 13:00

Session III: The Impact of Transnationalism on Families

Moderator: Cristian Munduate, Representative of the United Nations Children's Fund Ecuador
UNICEF Ecuador - My Opinion Matters - Executive Summary


General Discussion

13:00 - 15:00 Afternoon Break
15:00 - 17:50

Session IV: Transnational Networks and Diasporas

Moderator: Kwasi Akyem Apea-Kubi, Deputy Minister of State, Ministry of the Interior, Ghana


  • Carlos Flanagan, Director of Consular Affairs, Directorate of Consular Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Uruguay (Statement|Presentation)
  • Marc Forgas, Head of Human Resources Europe, Procter & Gamble (Presentation)
  • Demetrio Gómez Avila (Bio), Forum of European Roma Young People, and Igor Cvetkovski, Roma Humanitarian Assistance Project Manager, IOM (joint presentation)

General Discussion

17:50 - 18:00

Wrap-up and Closing Remarks

End of the Workshop

Event documents