• Open The Borders Of Migration Research

  • Open The Borders of Migration Research
    The Zolberg Institute community transcends disciplinary boundaries to advocate for just migration policy.
  • In a period of rising anti-migrant rhetoric, the work of the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility is more relevant than ever. By supporting critical scholarship and opportunities for meaningful action, the Zolberg Institute’s initiatives are strengthening The New School’s leadership in addressing a pressing global issue and connecting the university directly with international conversations on migration and mobility.

    A commitment to migrant rights is integral to The New School’s history. In 1933, the University in Exile — now The New School for Social Research — was founded as a safe haven for refugee scholars. It later inspired the creation of the Zolberg Institute, which has acted as a unique hub for research, debate, and discussion on migration issues since its founding.

    Now, through the generosity of New School trustee Henry Arnhold, the Zolberg Institute has received increased resources for an expanded program to further engage faculty and students. University Professor Alex Aleinikoff, former U.N. deputy high commissioner for refugees, legal scholar of migration, and newly appointed director of the Zolberg Institute, says the institute will produce “concentric circles” of research and action to create impact at the university, local, and global levels.

    The institute does this by drawing on the expertise of the university’s different schools to foster dialogue incorporating perspectives from design, media, and social science. “The field of migration and mobility studies crosses disciplinary lines and implicates a wide range of policy issues and engagement opportunities,” Aleinikoff says. In an increasingly mobile world, “where borders may mean both more and less” — as Aleinikoff puts it — the institute is asking how scholars across the university can inform public debate and policy on migration.

    Open the Borders Inset

    The concept of mobility is at the core of the Zolberg Institute’s work, and an understanding of mobility is advanced by the collaborative interdisciplinary scholarship produced at The New School. As the first migration center in the world with a mobility focus, the institute is uniquely positioned to help students imagine new ways to understand and facilitate human movement.

    The Zolberg Institute also capitalizes on its location in New York City, encouraging students to engage directly with organizations on the front lines of migration. “At a time of increasing anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric,” Aleinikoff says, “it’s important to remember that this city was built on immigration and it has thrived because of it for nearly 400 years.”  

    The work of the institute has been amplified by a partnership with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), which enables students to collaborate on design and research projects as fellows with the IRC’s Airbel Center for Innovation. The Zolberg Institute is planning to extend its relationships with other nonprofit and government entities as well, providing students with opportunities to work with both immigrant communities and international organizations.

    With its profound commitment to human rights, The New School is a force for critical inquiry, activism, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Be a Force of New.

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