December 20, 2019

Professor David Mednicoff, a faculty member in School of Public Policy and chair of the department of Judaic and Near Eastern studies, has received a grant from the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) for a project called “Legal Cultures and New Regional Policies towards Forced Migrants.”

The $32,000 seed grant comes from WUN’s Research Development Fund, which facilitates collaborative research among member universities. Mednicoff will lead a research team with colleagues from Brazil’s Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the University of Leeds, the University of Nairobi, and the University of Western Australia.

The project brings together experts on major world regions to formulate and compare culturally grounded legal policy approaches that might improve the conditions of refugees and other forced migrants, a challenge that will likely worsen due to displacements caused by climate change.

“International refugee law and institutions are increasingly unable to address the expanding global crisis of refugees and other forced migrants,” Mednicoff said. “Most refugees find themselves in non-Western countries that often are not party to international refugee treaties.”

The grant will use a global hub-and-spoke network to advance and compare regionally based ideas that can buttress the failing capacity of international refugee law. Three pilot projects will address expectations that forced migrant flows will grow, exacerbated by the pressures of climate change. They will focus on Europe, the Middle East and South Asia as sites for helping the status and rights of forced migrants and highlight European criminal law, Arab legal values and the potential for regional cooperation, and South Asian legal institutions and practices. The project will develop additional pilot projects in Australia, Brazil, and Kenya.