Youth of Azerbaijan and Georgia unite to tackle global migration issues

Migration is one of the defining issues of the 21st century so far, with immense implications for the Caucasus region. Last week experts from around the world participated in a summer school for young people from the Caucasus region to develop the skills to analyse and manage this complex global phenomenon.

More than 400 young people from Azerbaijan and Georgia applied for just 50 places at the summer school, which was run by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD).

Robert McNeil, a specialist in migration and the media from the University of Oxford in the UK and a lecturer at the summer school said: “Young people are the future of both migration policy making and migration itself for the region. This summer school has helped equip some of the brightest and most talented young people in the Caucasus region with the skills to navigate this challenging international issue.”

The summer school focused on multiple aspects of migration including economic, social, legal and development implications. It also provided analysis of the different challenges faced by Georgia – which is seeing a declining population as a result of emigration – and Azerbaijan, which is learning to cope with increasing net migration.

Other issues covered included the role of gender in migration; how media both affects and is affected by migration issues; and what sort of research methods can be used to analyse migration effectively.

The summer school brought together a team of professors, practitioners and technical specialists from institutions including: Oxford University; Cambridge University; Maastricht School of Governance; University of Paris Sorbonne; University of Sussex; Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences; Caucasus Research Resource Centre; Baku State University; Tbilisi State University and from Government agencies in both Azerbaijan and Georgia.

Tamta Nikoladze, 22, a student at the summer school who works at the Georgian Office of the State Minister for Diaspora Issues said: “The week was a great experience – I learned a huge amount about international migration and the incredible complexity of the issue, which will be immensely valuable for me in my job. The school also gave me a fantastic opportunity to visit Azerbaijan, to work with students from both countries and to have an enormous amount of fun too.”

Violeta Wagner - project manager for ICMPD’s EU-funded ENIGMMA and MOBILAZE projects - was responsible for organising the summer school. She said: “The students were incredibly bright and engaged, which is extremely important as they represent the future of these two countries. They are now better equipped to deal with migration issues, and we hope that our next summer school can recruit students of this calibre.”

The summer school was held at the El Resort Hotel in Qakh in Azerbaijan, as part of the EU-funded Enhancing Georgia’s Migration Management (ENIGMMA) and Support to the Implementation of the Mobility Partnership with Azerbaijan (MOBILAZE) projects.

This press release was developed by students at the ENIGMMA Summer School as part of their assignment.

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