The fifteenth IASFM Conference will take place in Bogotá (Colombia), from the 15 to the 18 of July 2014, at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. This event will constitute a space for reflection around the complex relationship between forced migration and peace. Thus, the context under which the venue was chosen to host the conference is not coincidental.

Colombia is the setting where two fundamental events have met; one from the past and the other belonging to future:

On the one hand, 2014 commemorates the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Cartagena Declaration on Refugees, a regional initiative to confront the grave consequences of armed conflicts taking place in Mesoamérica, with the consequent spread of massive fluxes of refugees and internally displaced people all over the region. The Declaration was the final outcome of a common effort carried out by Governments, International Organizations and civil society whose main outcome was the crystallization of regional customary law on the widening of the scope of International Refugee Law. Likewise, it contributed to the progressive recognition of the internally displaced as a collective entitled to special protection. Finally, it was the starting point for the undertaking of several projects on humanitarian assistance and durable solutions, seen as central elements to peace-building.

On the other hand, the Colombian Government and the Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC) are currently engaged in a peace negotiation process intended to end a 60-year-long armed conflict. One of the greatest tragedies of the armed conflict has been the exodus of millions of internally displaced people and previous attempts to solve this problem have failed despite a sophisticated policy and billions of dollars spent on relief projects by governments and international institutions.  Given the inability of these programs to create sustainable improvements in the lives of IDPs, the parties involved should take advantage of the current negotiation process to truly address and resolve the issue of internal displacement and establish a framework for durable solutions to the vulnerability faced by IDPs.

The intersection of these two events constitutes a unique moment for the assumption of several challenges associated with forced migration, and gives IASFM the opportunity to develop a deeper reflection on the complex relationship between forced migration and peace, from a global perspective.

Structure of Conference

The proposed conference seeks to create a space in which academic rigor engages with the compromises inherent in policy, as well as the challenges of practical work in the field. As such, while presentations of academic research will continue to provide the intellectual backbone of the conference, these will go hand in hand with round tables engaging policy makers and governmental stakeholders, as well as presentations and discussions around practical approaches to dealing with forced migration from a range of practitioners.  Furthermore, the conference will draw on non-academic analyses, interpretations and representations of forced migration (e.g., portrayals of displacement through film, performances, photography, etc…) in order to diversify the lenses through which the major themes surrounding this topic can be analyzed.

The conference will also become a forum for the development of a long overdue conversation which must take place among the actors of the global South. For this purpose, meeting places for academics, activists and policy makers in Latin America, Africa and Asia, will be established, in order to promote networking and the development of research agendas and joint work. The aforementioned dialogue will take place alongside the discourse between the Global North and South which will also be held throughout the event.

The conference will be held between the 15th and 18th of July. An expected 300 participants will attend four plenary sessions and participate in conference panels which will discuss papers that revolve around any of the five previously mentioned themes dealing with the relationship between forced migration and peace.