President's Excellence Chair in Global Migration

Photo by Alex Wong on Unsplash

Movement from one place to another has always been part of who we are as human beings.

But the volume and causes of migration in the 21st century are creating unique challenges for nations and individuals alike.

Why people are on the move ranges from large-scale environmental destruction to civil war to the search for a better quality of life. Whatever the reasons for deciding to leave, their movement evokes crucial questions about borders, economic well-being, and inclusivity. In many immigrant-receiving countries of the global North, xenophobia is on the rise, and extremist anti-immigration political parties are increasing their support at an alarming rate. Meanwhile, the greatest migration challenges are in fact faced in the global South. The vast majority of refugees seek safety in neighbouring regions where many states lack the capacity to provide adequate support to those displaced from their homes.

Given these challenges, universities are increasingly recognizing the importance of Migration as a field of research—a development reflected in the creation of migration centres and teaching programs, as well as in faculty recruitment.

Initiated in 2018 through UBC’s Grants for Catalyzing Research Clusters competition, the UBC Centre for Migration Studies (CMS) is an interdisciplinary, intersectoral network committed to advancing the study of migration, mobilities, and belonging. The Centre evolved through the institutional support of the Faculty of Arts; the Departments of Political Science, Sociology, Geography, Anthropology, Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies; and the Peter A. Allard School of Law. CMS serves as an incubator for transformative research within the academy and beyond. With 90 faculty affiliates, 74 graduate student affiliates, and numerous community practitioners and partners, the Centre works to facilitate publicly-engaged dialogue that fosters inclusive and just communities. CMS does this through a rich and diverse array of research collaborations and programming initiatives, including SSHRC- and CFREF-funded partnerships with universities across Canada.

Questions of immigrant inclusion are at the heart of the research conducted by many CMS affiliates, spanning social and geographic contexts across the globe. The President’s Excellence Chair in Global Migration will benefit from these existing collaborations in research, teaching, and public engagement, while also being a major asset in the university’s efforts to make UBC a globally-recognized leader in migration research and graduate training excellence.