Final conference of the TRAFIG project

“Nothing is more permanent than the temporary?” Understanding protracted displacement and people’s own responses

May 3, 2022, Brussels



For the past three years, the Transnational Figurations of Displacement (TRAFIG) project has investigated long-lasting displacement situations in Africa, Asia, and Europe and analysed options to improve displaced peoples’ lives by enhancing their chances of building sustainable futures. Undertaking more than 2,700 interviews with displaced people, policymakers, and practitioners in 11 countries, TRAFIG has studied the reasons why people end up in protracted displacement situations and what coping strategies they use, identifying possible courses of action for policymakers and solutions that are better tailored to the needs and capacities of displaced persons. The project focused on long-lasting displacement, but its findings also provide important lessons for preventing new displacement from becoming protracted. At this final conference, TRAFIG researchers shared what they learned, and representatives from refugee communities, academia, the policy world, and practitioners contributed their insights on how more displaced people can access more and better solutions. Speakers also discussed the war in Ukraine and what lessons from TRAFIG can be applied to address displacement in this context.

Download the documentation of the conference as PDF.


Introductory Session | 9:30 – 10:30 CEST

The promise of mobility and networks for overcoming protracted displacement

The conference will kick-off with a session highlighting TRAFIG’s key research findings and pinpointing their implications for policy and practice. It will critically re-examine the question: What could solutions for protracted displacement look like?

  • Benjamin Etzold, Bonn International Centre for Conflict Studies (BICC), Germany
  • Albert Kraler, Danube University Krems, Austria
  • Laura Morosanu, Sussex University, United Kingdom
  • Anila Noor, Global Refugee-Led Network, The Netherlands

Moderator: Elvan Isikozlu, BICC, Germany

Panel 1 | 11:00 – 12:30 CEST

Moving forward: Improving responses to protracted displacement in major host countries

Panellists will discuss key trends regarding strategies displaced people are using to regain their footing, including local networking and mobility, drawn from TRAFIG work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Jordan, Pakistan, and Tanzania. They will also identify ways that the European Union and its Member States can scale up support for major refugee-receiving countries strategies to improve access to solutions in neighbouring and third countries.

  • Delphine Drapeau, European Commission, Directorate-General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA)
  • Jens Hesemann, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
  • Mudassar M. Javed, Society for Human Rights & Prisoners’ Aid (SHARP), Pakistan
  • Patrick Milabyo Kyamusugulwa, Institut Superieur des Techniques Medicales de Bukavu (ISTM-Bukavu), DRC
  • Fawwaz Ayoub Momani, Yarmouk University, Jordan
  • Janemary Ruhundwa, Dignity Kwanza, Tanzania
  • Markus Rudolf, Bonn International Centre for Conflict Studies (BICC), Germany

Moderator: Carolien Jacobs, Leiden University, The Netherlands

Panel 2 | 13:30 – 15:00 CEST

A new day on the horizon? Options for strengthening policies on forced displacement in the EU

This last panel will explore how protracted displacement manifests in Europe, drawing on TRAFIG research conducted in Germany, Greece, and Italy. Speakers will share how forced migrants are attempting to find their own solutions and how they can be further supported by policies and programmes. They will also shine a spotlight on more recent displacement from Ukraine and what this may mean for the future of asylum in Europe.

  • Panos Hatziprokopiou, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
  • Desislava Ivanova, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  • Ferruccio Pastore, International and European Forum on Migration Research (FIERI), Italy
  • Birte Schorpion, Danish Refugee Council
  • Cecilia Verkleij, Asylum Unit, DG for Migration and Home Affairs
  • Benjamin Etzold, BICC, Germany

Moderator: Martin Wagner, International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), Austria

Latest news

Special Issue in JEMS

Unsettling Protracted Displacement: Connectivity and Mobility beyond Limbo

Key results and reflections from the TRAFIG project have just been published in a special issue in the Journal of Ethnic a... Read more

TRAFIG practice note no. 12

In the shoes of a Congolese refugee:

Online game helps to understand urban refugees' legal struggles

The TRAFIG team developed an interactive story-based online simulation to sensitise practitione... Read more

TRAFIG practice note no. 11

The missing link

Promoting refugees’ skills-based mobility within Europe

The Common European Asylum System prohibits the mobility of persons entitled to international protection within the European Union, making it more difficult for displaced persons to rebuild their lives even after arriving in Europe and receiving protection status. Recent developments soften this strict policy of immobility for some. In this context, intra-EU mobility based on refugees’ skills could become a game-changer. The tools are there. What is needed now is to connect these initiatives so that more displaced persons can use their skills for their benefit and that of receiving countries. Read more