UNESCO Social and Human Sciences
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March 2001
Manila, Philippines

Background Information
Conference Objectives
Conference Mechanics
Conference Publication
Date and Venue
1.   Background Information

Throughout most countries in the Asia-Pacific region, international migration is occurring at an intensifying pace. While population movements across nations have always influenced the nature of societies since time immemorial, what is distinctive in contemporary migration flows is their global scope, their centrality to domestic and internationalpolitics and their enormous social and economic consequences. Globalization and the increased interdependency among nations, which itself is a function of technological advances, have made possible the easy international movement of information, capital, commodities and people. The emergence of transnational corporations that readily transfer personnel and goods across national boundaries is testimony to the important connections between a global economic system and the growth of international population movements.

For the most part, international migration and the growth of transnational societies is basically a beneficial process. However, this may also have negative social and economic consequences. In particular, there are forms of social conflict that are associated with "multiculturalism," or problems of living together in one society of people belonging to culturally and socially diverse ethnic backgrounds. Indeed, there are numerous evidences of these conflicts in countries in Asia and other parts of the world. All these conflicts have been linked in various ways with massive population movements across national borders.

There is general agreement among scholars that international population movements involving countries in the Asia-Pacific region will further intensify, and that the global order based on sovereign states is giving way to something new. There is less clarity and agreement, however, on the nature and contours of the emerging new order. Although national states would not necessarily disappear, novel forms of interdependence, transnational society and bilateral and regional co-operation are rapidly transforming the lives of people and inextricably weaving together the fates of societies around the world. In other words, international migration has become a major force for social transformation.

2.   Conference Objectives

It is in the context of this situation that the Philippine Migration Research Network (PMRN) seeks assistance to convene a two-day international conference among representatives of member countries in the Asia-Pacific Migration Research Network (APMRN) to examine more closely the patterns of migration and settlement in the region, the links of such patterns with national and international forces, and the problems associated with multiculturalism especially in respect to the position of ethnic minorities in society.

The specific objective of the international conference is to provide a forum for discussion and exchange of ideas on the following:

a.     The magnitude, trends and patterns of migration and settlement in countries of the Asia-Pacific region and the national and international factors that are associated with such trends;

b.     The implications of increased international migration on the nation-state system especially in the light of the growth of global markets and of the trends toward regional integration;

c.     The role and place of ethnic minorities in society and the problems associated with multiculturalism; and

d.     Policy strategies aimed at addressing concerns arising from migration and ethnic diversity in the Asia-Pacific region.

3.    Conference Mechanics and Format

The main paper-presenters for the conference will be the representatives of the 15 member countries of APMRN. Other than these international participants, Filipino participants will also include representatives from the academe, concerned government agencies, non-government organizations, and the private sector. It is estimated that a total of 80 participants will attend the conference. Country papers shall focus on the themes outlined above. A panel of discussants (representing various sectors) will be formed from among invited participants. An open forum will follow each paper/panel presentation.

4.   Conference Publication

The conference papers will be edited and compiled as a major publication of PMRN, in association with APMRN. This publication will facilitate the dissemination of the results of the conference to researchers, policy makers, and administrators of programs related to international migration.

5.   Date and Venue

    March 2001
    Manila, Philippines

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