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The World Today: Refugees Welcome? Europe's Migration Crisis
4:00pm - 5:00pm ET


In the summer of 2015, the European migration crisis dominated headlines around the world. Over a million people, including refugees fleeing the devastating civil war in Syria, arrived in Europe seeking asylum that year –at the time, the highest number since the end of the Second World War.

The crisis unleashed profound upheaval, causing serious division within the European Union (EU) and a resurgence in anti-migrant rhetoric across the continent. Thousands of migrants died on the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, and those who did arrive exposed severe weaknesses in the EU asylum system, as countries struggled to provide the support they needed. Almost a decade on, the picture remains bleak: thousands of people still risk everything to reach Europe each year, a crisis compounded by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

What drives migrants to Europe and what are their prospects upon arrival? What can the EU and the United Kingdom do to support migrants in their quest for a better life? This edition of the World Today discusses the migration crisis in Europe, its impacts on migrants, and its repercussions for European societies and politics.


Guy Grossman is a professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania. His research is in applied political economy, with substantive focus on the intersection of technology and governance, political accountability, forced migration and conflict processes, and a regional focus on sub-Saharan Africa and Israel-Palestine. Grossman is the founder and co-director of Penn’s Development Research Initiative and a faculty affiliate of groups including Stanford’s Immigration Policy Lab and Penn’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity, Race, and Immigration. Grossman has designed and carried out field studies in many developing countries, in collaboration with international agencies including the World Bank and the US Agency for International Development, as well as with African governments and local non-governmental organizations. His work has appeared in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, International Organization and Journal of Politics. He holds a PhD in political science from Columbia University, as well as an MA in political philosophy and LLB in law, both from Tel-Aviv University

Elizabeth V. Kassinis has more than twenty-five years of experience in conflict resolution and international development, with a particular interest in issues of migration. She is currently executive manager of Caritas Cyprus, responsible for the strategy, operations, and partnerships of a grassroots humanitarian organization that supports vulnerable populations, including migrants, asylum seekers and refugees. Her tenure with Caritas Cyprus coincided with the island becoming the largest recipient of asylum seekers per capita in the European Union. Previously, she served in various positions within the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in Cyprus from 1998 to 2015, where she was responsible for over $100 million in programming. Before USAID, she worked as a humanitarian affairs officer with the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance. She has a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and received her bachelor’s degree in government from Cornell University.

Nicholas Sambanis is the Presidential Distinguished Professor of Political Science and director of the Penn Program on Identity and Conflict at the University of Pennsylvania. He writes on inter-group conflict, ranging from everyday forms of discrimination to violent protests and civil wars. His articles on civil war, peacekeeping, and ethnic conflict have been published in the American Political Science Review, Science, International Organization, World Politics, The Journal of Conflict Resolution, and other journals. Currently, Sambanis is working on several projects focused on anti-immigrant bias and discrimination in Europe as well as interdisciplinary approaches to design and evaluate mechanisms to reduce ethnic violence and other forms of inter-group conflict. His just-published book, Native Bias: Overcoming Discrimination against Immigrants, offers an original framework for understanding anti-immigrant discrimination and the processes through which it can be overcome.


LaShawn R. Jefferson is Perry World House’s senior executive director. She brings to Perry World House over two decades of legal and policy advocacy, strategic planning and communications, and research and writing on women’s international human rights through civil society organizations and philanthropy. She joined Perry World House after almost seven years at the Ford Foundation, where she worked to advance women’s human rights globally. For fourteen years, she also held several leadership positions at Human Rights Watch, where she led its women’s rights research and advocacy work, providing strategic and intellectual guidance to the work on women’s international human rights. She is the author of many reports on a variety of issues confronting women around the world, and has written op-eds and articles that have appeared in the Wall Street Journal and the International Herald Tribune. She received a BA from Connecticut College and an MA in international relations and Latin American studies from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.

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