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Commonwealth Migration: learning from the past, anticipating the future

Migrants Rights Network

Thursday, June 14, 2012 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM (BST)

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Event Details

Immigration from the countries of the Commonwealth has played an important part in creating modern day Britain.

Yet from the 1960s through to the political debates of the present day it has also proven to be intensely controversial, polarising large parts of the population into pro- and anti-migration campaigns.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first Commonwealth Immigrants Act.  This measure imposed comprehensive controls on Commonwealth citizens coming to the UK for the first time.  It also laid down the basic framework of immigration policy for the next five decades.

To mark the significance of the 1962 Commonwealth Immigrants Act, the scholar and prominent commentator on immigration policy, Nigel Harris, will set out his views on the world created by immigration control legislation and ask whether this approach will be sustainable if future years see a shift in the global economic and political order.

Date: Thursday 14 June 2012
Time: 6:30pm - 9pm (including drinks receptions from 8pm)
Location: Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS Thornhaugh Street London WC1H 0XG


 Keynote speaker: Professor Nigel Harris 

Professor Harris has taught development and city economics at University College London for forty years, subsequently with the World Bank (Cities Alliance), European Policy Centre (Brussels), specializing in migration and immigration. Author of numerous works, including The New Untouchables: immigration and the new world worker (1995), he is now Professor Emeritus at UCL.

(read a review of The New Untouchables, a book by Nigel Harris)

Chair: Dr Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah

Dr Sriskandarajah is Director of the Royal Commonwealth Society. Prior to joining the RCS in Jan 2009, he spent five yeas at the Institute for Public Policy Research, where he was head of migration research and, latterly, Deputy Director. Dr Sriskandarajah is a noted expert on migration issues. He is the author of numerous reports and academic articles, writes regularly in the press (including in the Financial Times and the Guardian), has given more than 500 broadcast interviews, and has been a consultant to several international organisations. Dr Sriskandarajah holds a degree from the University of Sydney, and an MPhil and DPhil from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

With responses from:

Professor Satvinder Juss, Kings College 

Professor Juss is a human rights expert focusing on policy-oriented work. He has considerable experience in Immigration and Refugee law, and various fields of human rights practice, from employment law to education law. He appears regularly in the High Court and Court of Appeal, and in the Privy Council.He has written in a wide variety of journals in the UK and the USA and is the author of five books, the most recent being International Migration & Global Justice.

Dr Ike Anya, Consultant in public health medicine

Ike Anya is a Nigerian public health doctor and writer currently working as an NHS consultant in public health medicine in central London. A TEDGlobal Fellow (2007), he was founding secretary of the Abuja Literary Society and co edited the Weaverbird Collection of Nigerian Fiction. Co-editor of Nigeria Health Watch and co-founder of the Nigeria Public Health Network and the TEDxEuston events, he is an honorary lecturer in public health medicine at Imperial College, and serves on the Advisory Board of Doctors of the World Project: London. A lead partner at the General Medical Council, his writing has been published internationally


Patsy Robertson – Ramphal Institute

Mrs Patsy Robertson is the current Chair of the Ramphal Institute. She was Director of Information at the Commonwealth Secretariat, and Official Spokesperson for the Commonwealth (1983-1994). Mrs Robertson served as Senior Media Advisor for the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing in 2005 and and for Beijing +5 in 2000 and with UNICEF on the UN General Assembly Special Session on Children 1991 and 1992. She is a trustee and Chair of several charities, including Widows Rights International, The Thomson Foundation, The Commonwealth Press Union and the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum.

This event is hosted by:

With the support of:

SOAS Centre of Migration 
and Diaspora Studies

Migration Research Cluster, Department of Development Studies

Have questions about Commonwealth Migration: learning from the past, anticipating the future? Contact Migrants Rights Network

When & Where

Khalili Lecture Theatre, School of African and Oriental Studies
Thornhaugh Street
Russell Square
WC1H 0XG London
United Kingdom

Thursday, June 14, 2012 from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM (BST)

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Migrants Rights Network

Migrants' Rights Network (MRN) is working for a rights-based approach to migration, with migrants as full partners in developing the policies and procedures which affect life in the UK.

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