Global Shifts: Urbanization, Migration, and Demography

Whether through migration or culture, choice or necessity, the adaptation of populations to changing environmental, social, political, and security contexts has always been critical to human existence.

Today’s global reality calls for no less. Political unrest, protracted conflict, climate change, population ageing, and economic hardship are just some of the complex issues contributing to dramatic population shifts.

These issues demand sophisticated and coordinated global attention that acknowledges how “global shifts” can have tremendous consequences for social order, human rights, governance, and cultural practices, among others. At a moment when the world is seeing the greatest level of displacement since World War II, unprecedented rates and patterns of urbanization, and new demographic trends, better understanding these complex and intersecting global phenomena is critical to identifying more salient policy responses.

This research theme identifies and advances evidence-based policies that - to borrow from the late Executive Director of the U.N. Population Fund, Babatunde Osotimehin - promote “people-centered, sensitive, humane, dignified, gender-responsive, and prompt” attention to people experiencing these global shifts.

Recent Workshops and Colloquia

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Global Family Change

This two-day workshop from September 16 to 17, 2019, convened by Hans-Peter Kohler and Frank Furstenberg of the University of Pennsylvania with support from Perry World House, brought participants together to look at the role of families in global, economic, and demographic shifts. Topics explored included the intersections between gender, technology, and family; and how policy and legal changes can affect families. 

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Cities, Geopolitics and the International Legal Order

On September 6, 2019, this workshop launched the Great Powers and Urbanization Project (GPUP) a joint initiative of Perry World House, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the University of Melbourne's Connected Cities Lab, and the Argentine Council for International Relations. GPUP will look at the evolving role of cities on the world stage. Participants explored topics such as how approaches to urbanization feature in geopolitical strategy; the creation and implementation of national urban policies in the context of development, stability, and authoritarian control; the development of city networks; and the legal authority of cities. 

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Vicious Cycles: Toward a Research Agenda on Return and Repeat Displacement

Organized by Perry World House 2018-19 Postdoctoral Fellow Stephanie Schwartz and made possible with support from Carnegie Corporation of New York, this one-day workshop brought together academics and policy experts on June 11, 2019. Their aim was to identify new research priorities around the topic of refugee return and repeat displacement. 

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Spring 2019 Global Shifts Colloquium: A Changing Climate, A Changing World

On April 15-16, 2019, scholars, policymakers, and journalists convened at Perry World House for a colloquium on “A Changing Climate, A Changing World: Policy Challenges and Opportunities in Migration and Urbanization.”

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Model International Mobility Declaration Workshop

Perry World House and PWH Distinguished Scholar in-Residence Professor Michael Doyle hosted a workshop on the Model International Mobility Declaration (MIMD), a cumulative and comprehensive treaty that summarizes and builds on the mobility reform agenda of the Model International Mobility Convention, launched in 2017. In this workshop, academics and policymakers from around the world in the fields of migration, human rights, national security, labor economics, and refugee law convened to provide commentary and revisions to the MIMD.

Recent Publications

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Model International Mobility Declaration Workshop: Report

Perry World House and PWH Distinguished Scholar in-Residence Professor Michael Doyle hosted a workshop on the Model International Mobility Declaration (MIMD), a cumulative and comprehensive treaty that summarizes and builds on the mobility reform agenda of the Model International Mobility Convention, launched in 2017. In this workshop, academics and policymakers from around the world in the fields of migration, human rights, national security, labor economics, and refugee law convened to provide commentary and revisions to the MIMD.