Pal_web“Bearing Witness: Forced Migration in the Age of Globalisation” by Professor Pal Ahluwalia, University of Portsmouth

4 Apr 2017, 5pm – 6:30pm
UNSW, Robert Webster Building, 327

On 23 June 2016, a hard fought campaign for the future of the UK’s membership of the European Union culminated in the decision to leave following a referendum. This was a momentous, albeit close decision, where 52 percent of the voting population determined the fate of all UK citizens. Although the UK has not formally moved to exit the EU, the ramifications of the decision have been widespread. It has cost the former Prime Minister David Cameron his job, and a new PM, Theresa May, and cabinet has been chosen, with those wishing to leave amply rewarded. The UK economy has suffered, as predicted by the Treasury, and the currency markets have reacted with the pound being at its weakest in over thirty years. However, it is not only the economy and UK politics that have been radically altered.

A referendum that ultimately became bogged down over the issue of migration and refugees, as well as the inability to control one’s borders, challenged the very assertion that ever-increasingly we now live in an integrated, connected and interdependent world. The ‘leave decision’ has also resulted in an unprecedented 42 percent increase in race motivated attacks across the country and seemed to be the licence to return to the racism of the 1970s. We now need to consider the implications of Brexit, for globalisation and the very idea of the free movement of goods and people. It may take nearly a decade for the UK to leave the EU, as the process of disentanglement takes places. Nevertheless, the idea of Europe, which was vital to its stability and prosperity, is itself shaken. Brexit seems, on the face of it, a regression and a triumph of nationalism over any sense of European, regional or global integration. This key note will focus on the issues of forced migration that was the subject of the recent United Nations high-level plenary meeting on large movements of refugees and migrants.

Pal Ahluwalia is Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) at the University of Portsmouth. He was born in Kenya, received a Bachelors degree and a Master of Arts from the University of Saskatchewan, and then completed his PhD at Flinders University. He was subsequently at Adelaide University for 14 years, finishing as Professor of the Politics Department, then Visiting Professor with the University of California, and Professor with the Goldsmiths College at the University of London, where he was also Director of the Centre for Postcolonial Studies. His main research interests lie in the areas of African studies, social and cultural theory, in particular, postcolonial theory and the processes of diaspora, exile, and migration.

All are very welcome to the workshop. There is no need to register. For enquiries: l.nanquette@unsw.edu.au

Finding us: Robert Webster Building is located mid-way off the UNSW main walkway. Map Reference G14. 327 is located on the third floor.

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