Working Group Tackles Migration, Trafficking


Noora Lori, Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, spearheaded the creation of a working group comprised of academics and experts studying the lasting ramifications of forced migration and human trafficking.

The “Forced Migration and Human Trafficking” Working Group officially launched at the Pardee School on March 24. It brings together BU scholars from many disciplines whose work touches on issues of torture and refugee status.

“It was very powerful to see how complex and interrelated the challenges we are facing in this field are,” Lori said. “It is fitting that this group should be housed at the Pardee School, which is about thinking about long-term systemic change, because our understanding is that  sustainable policy solutions can only come from engaging with the interdisciplinary research on a subject.”

“This is a way to aggregate scholarly talent who are working on similar issues in the spirit of interdisciplinarity,” said Victoria Kelberer, one of the inaugural MA Candidates in the working group. “I feel very honored to be invited as a founding member to a venue where I can share ideas and get well-rounded criticism and support. There hasn’t been anything like this at BU before.”

The working group includes Prof. Susan Akram (Law School), Prof. Nazli Kibira (Sociology), Prof. Linda Piwowarczyk (School of Medicine), Sarah Bidinger and Danielle Hites (3L, Law School), Yoana Kuzmova (IR/JD Candidate, Pardee School and Law School), along with Lori and Kelberer.

“The benefit to forming a working group like this is to connect you with people might not know who are doing very similar research to your own,” Kelberer said. “Within the next year, we hope to create a community of scholars to aid in peer-reviewing work on these issues, bring in speakers, and possibly even hold a conference.”

The inaugural event for the working group featured approximately 10 speakers discussing current or future projects aimed at aiding or understanding issues related to forced migration and human trafficking, including a presentation from the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights.

The working group hopes to plan at least one event per semester.

Lori’s research broadly focuses on the political economy of migration, the development of security institutions and international migration control, and the establishment and growth of national identity systems. You can learn more about her here.