In particular, three discussants kindly offered their expert thoughts. They were (in order of presentation): Dr Raúl Delgado Wise of the Universidad Autonoma de Zacatecas, Mr Rex Osa of the Voice Refugee Forum Germany, and the Caravan Network, and Ms Soltana Shaju of Bangladeshi Ovibashi Mohila Sramik Association (BOMSA). Useful insights were also offered by colleagues working in Bangladesh, Germany, India, Indonesia, Mozambique, the Netherlands, the Philippines and South Africa.
The discussion highlighted the importance of academics using their role as intermediaries between those working in different geographic locations and in different contexts. For example, academic work can help to share information between those working in countries of origin and in countries of destination, and between those working in very local contexts, and those working on a global level. Further, academics can use original research to provide new understandings of emerging phenomena, which can support the work of others actively engaged in the field. This is not, of course, to exclude the activist element of academic research itself. It was emphasised, however, that care needs to be taken to ensure that this role is used responsibly, and in particular, that it is used to give a genuine voice to the concerns of migrants, rather than to just use migrants to support the recycling of existing norms. UNU-GCM is considering these and other contributions from the WSFM2012 carefully in developing its research programme for the coming years.
Well run, and enjoyable, the WSFM2012 combined opportunities for useful and informative discussion with interesting activities that made the most of its location in the Philippines. For example, Tendayi Bloom, on behalf of UNU-GCM, was pleased to attend a day field trip to Pampanga province, where, welcomed by the local governor, there were ample opportunities to meet with those working with migrants pre- and post- migration, with students of local schools and colleges who are children of Overseas Filipino Workers, and to visit some of the interesting natural and cultural sights of the province.
It is hoped that the new relationships formed at the Forum will provide the basis for much useful collaboration in the future.