22.01.2013 - UNESCO Office in New Delhi

Sri Lankans on the Move: An International Conference on Migration (ICSOM)

Sri Lankans on the Move is the theme of an International Conference on migration organized by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in collaboration with the National Committee on Social Sciences (NCSS) of Sri Lanka. The Conference will be held from 23-25, January 2013 in Colombo, Sri Lanka and aims to bring together academics, researchers, policy makers and development practitioners to discuss and debate various issues relating to migration of Sri Lankans including policy implications.

Migration has been an important element of the Sri Lankan social fabric for centuries. In colonial times, the Tamils from Sri Lanka migrated to Malaysia for work in the public and private sectors. After Independence, the Burghers migrated to Australia, and since then there have been waves of external migration as a consequence of changes taking place in Sri Lanka as well as in response to opportunities opening up overseas. From 1983 onwards population displacement caused by ethnic conflicts and war became a major trigger for legal and illegal migration to Europe, North America and India. Currently over 20 percent of the Sri Lankan workforce is employed abroad, and they are a primary source of foreign exchange earnings for the country. Migration can be either permanent or temporary. It is caused by multiple factors and has impacted on the lives of many Sri Lankan men, women and children. Migrant remittances are a vital source of foreign exchange to the Sri Lankan economy. Migration is, for some, a strategy for moving out of poverty, and a means of social mobility and empowerment. For others, migration can denote a loss of care and support with wide ranging consequences. However, in the worst
cases it is merely a survival strategy.

The Conference aims to bring in a corpus of multidisciplinary scholars to present their work on migration, and to make sense of this complicated landscape. The outcomes of the Conference will feed into the discourse on migration and policy analysis and programme development.

Programme - Inauguration

Programme - Technical Sessions

Programme - Policy Dialogue

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