Global Development Institute Blog

A one day conference on three underexplored areas of migration in the Global South: disability, sexuality and skilled migration.

21st June 2022, 9.30am – 4.30pm.

The conference will be held in person at The University of Manchester.


Covid-19 has brought into stark relief the deep inequalities that shape the experiences of migrants and their families, particularly those moving from or within the Global South. However, migrants themselves are not a homogenous group, and too often, the diversity of migrant experiences goes unrecognised. The concept of intersectionality provides a framework for exploring how the intersections of migrant status, gender, race and other dimensions of oppression – or, in some cases, privilege – shape the experiences of particular migrant groups and of individual migrants themselves. Existing migration scholarship concentrates more heavily on certain dimensions – such as ethnicity and class – to the exclusion of other important concerns.

This conference brings together participants from within The University of Manchester and externally around three intersectional concerns that have thus far been underexplored in the migration literature: disability, sexuality and the gendered experiences of skilled and highly educated migrants in the Global South. It aims to take stock of existing research efforts and provide the building blocks to expand current work in this field, with an explicit focus on identifying key issues for future research. In doing so, it builds on work undertaken under the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Migration for development and equality (MIDEQ) project on inequalities and South-South migration and our collaboration with the UKRI GCRF Gender, Justice and Security Hub, which has already carried out some research into skilled and highly educated migration in the Global South

(Please note this is an in-person event being held on campus at the University of Manchester)

Confirmed speakers:

Dr Ezgi Tuncer, Associate Professor, Kadir Has University

Prof. Eleonore Kofman, Professor of Gender, Migration and Citizenship, Middlesex University

Prof. Parvati Raghuram, Professor in Geography and Migration, Open University

Melaku Tekle, Disability Inclusion Advisor, Light for the World Ethiopia

Pedro Pablo Cortes Villarreal, Independent Researcher, Mexico

Dr Nicola Burns, Lecturer in Disability Studies, University of Glasgow

Dr Charbel Maydaa, Founder, MOSAIC

Dr Tanja Bastia, Reader, Global Development Institute, University of Manchester

Dr Matthew Walsham, Research Associate, Global Development Institute, University of Manchester


9.30 – 10am Arrivals and Refreshments
10 – 10.45am Welcome and introductions – Tanja Bastia
10.45 – 12pm Skilled migration – Chair: Parvati Raghuram

Eleonore Kofman – ‘Gender and skilled migration beyond the Global North’

Ezgi Tuncer – ‘Gendered experiences of migration and urban life of skilled female migrants in Istanbul’

Delali Margaret Badasu, O.S. Olarinde, F. Okoth, P. Raghuram, I. Raimundo and C. Walker – ‘African skilled migration: Gender and policy perspectives’

12 – 1.00pm Lunch
1 – 2.15pm Migration and sexuality – Chair: Tanja Bastia

Pedro Pablo Cortes Villareal – ‘Sexuality and migration in the Global South: An overview’

Charbel Maydaa – ‘Risk, gender and the inequality of being an LGBTIQ refugee/migrant in Lebanon’

Vitor Lopes Andrade – ‘The role of Brazil in the geopolitics of asylum on the grounds of sexuality’

2.15 – 3.30pm Migration and disability – Chair: Morgon Banks

Nicola Burns – ‘On the move: Reflections on disability and migration from the minority world.’

Matthew Walsham – ‘Disability and migration in the Global South: An overview’

Melaku Tekle – ‘Synthesizing experiences and protection needs for refugees with disabilities in Ethiopia’

3.30 – 3.45pm Refreshments
3.45 – 4.15pm Plenary Discussion
4.15 – 4.30pm Closing remarks – Tanja Bastia

Speaker and chair biographies

Parvati Raghuram is Professor in Geography and Migration at the Open University. Her research interests focus on the ways in which the mobility, of individuals, goods and of ideas is reshaping the world. Much of her more recent work explores the migration of skilled and lesser skilled women, particularly those moving from the Indian subcontinent. She has published widely on gender, migration and development and on postcolonial theory.  Her most recent AHRC funded project is Decolonising Peace Education in Africa where she is looking at care ethics, an abiding interest. She is also part of the project Migration and Inclusive African Growth and Writing International Student Migration in Africa. Her other research includes work on the IT sector and on international students.

Eleonore Kofman is Professor of Gender, Migration and Citizenship and co-Director of the Social Policy Research Centre at Middlesex University London. She is currently co-Director of the Migration and Displacement stream of the UKRI Gender Justice and Security Hub (2019-2024) and co-investigator of the project Gender Dynamics of International Labour Migration (KRG Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Turkey). For the past 20 years she has written on gender and skilled migration theoretically and in relation to policy approaches in journals such as Population, Place and Space; Geoforum; Antipode; Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies and International Migration.

Ezgi Tuncer is an Associate Professor at Kadir Has University (KHU) in Istanbul and a visiting fellow at the Gender, Justice and Security UKRI GCRF Hub based at LSE and a co-investigator of its Gendered Dynamics of Labour Migration within the Migration and Displacement Stream. She is the director of the MSc program in Architectural and Urban Studies at KHU and teaches socio-spatial theories and space, politics and power. She is engaged in research on migration and displacement; border studies and political philosophy; contemporary art, power and space; and continues to write the essay series ‘Food, City and Everyday Life’ for the e-magazine Manifold.

Delali Margaret Badasu is an Associate Professor at the Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS) and a member of the Inter-Faculty Working Group (IFWG) at the Centre for Migration Studies (CMS) both at University of Ghana. Her broad research interests and publications are on population and health, population and development and migration and development, with focus on remittances and child migration. She was the Principal Investigator (PI) for a research project on the ‘Contribution of Immigrants to the Economy of Ghana’, co-funded and jointly implemented by the EU, the ILO and the OECD; Co-PI of a research on ‘North-South Independent Child migration in Ghana’ funded by DFID. She is currently leading a team of consultants to develop a diaspora engagement policy for Ghana, funded by ECOWAS the Government of Spain and the EU. She was the national consultant for the development of ‘Migration Data Guide for Ghana’ under the Euro-African Dialogue on Migration and Development project and the ‘2019 Migration Profile for Ghana’ by IOM. She is also member of the Migration for Inclusive African Growth project.

Charbel Maydaa is the founder and General director since 2014 of MOSAIC, the MENA Organization for Services, Advocacy, Integration and Capacity building that serves as a holistic program committed to the improvement of the health and wellness of LGBTIQ persons in the MENA region. He has also been the Alternate Co-chair of ILGA Asia since 2017, and Co-Investigator Masculinities and Sexualities at the UKRI GCRF Gender, Justice and Security hub. Center for Women, Peace and Security. Since 2004, he has been promoting the rights for LGBTIQ persons through his work experience and activism in NGOs and INGOs.

Pedro Pablo Cortés Villarreal is a Mexican social researcher interested in migration and sexuality. He received a Bachelor in Journalism and Media Studies at Tecnológico de Monterrey, in northern Mexico. He was awarded a Chevening scholarship from the UK government to study a Master of Science in Latin American Development from King’s College London in 2015-2016.

Vitor Lopes Andrade is a doctoral researcher and tutor in Social Anthropology in the School of Global Studies, University of Sussex. His research – funded by the federal government of Brazil (CAPES) – focuses on people seeking asylum on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the UK. He has previously conducted ethnographic research on the same topic in Brazil and Spain.

Morgon Banks is an Assistant Professor at the International Centre for Evidence in Disability at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Her research is focused on disability, poverty and social protection in low- and middle-income countries. She is also a consultant on disability-inclusive social protection for UNICEF, UNDP, ILO, and others.

Melaku Tekle is an experienced charity sector professional with a history of working on disability and development mobilizing different stakeholders for the full and effective inclusion of persons with disabilities in health, education, livelihoods, and human rights. He is currently working at Light for the World, an International NGO on disability rights and inclusive development as Disability Inclusion Advisor. Formerly he was the Executive Director of the Ethiopian Centre for Disability and Development (ECDD). Melaku received his first degree in Public Administration and Development Management, Law, and master’s in social work from Addis Ababa University. He is currently pursuing his postgraduate studies in LLM Law and Social Justice at the University of Leeds. He is starting research on violence on internally displaced women and girls with disabilities in Ethiopia.

Nicola Burns is a lecturer in Disability Studies in the Department of Sociology, University of Glasgow. Nicola has worked across a range of subject disciplines to explore issues around inequalities and discrimination for groups marginalised in society. Engaging critically with the social model of disability, Nicola has conducted work around disabled people’s housing, health, technology and leisure. More recently, her work has focused on migration, health and mobilities in the minority world and the impact of COVID-19 on disabled people.

Matthew Walsham is a Research Associate at the Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester working on the gender thematic work package for MIDEQ, a GCRF-funded project on inequalities and South-South migration. His doctoral research was on internal migration and social pensions in Uganda, exploring how receipt of the Senior Citizens Grant affected intrahousehold dynamics and pensioner well-being within trans-local households. He has previous research experience in Nepal, Tanzania, Vietnam and Peru and has lived and worked as a development practitioner in both Bangladesh and Cambodia.

Tanja Bastia’s research focuses on transnational migration for work, particularly on the relationship between power relations, mobility, and space. She has conducted multi-sited ethnographic research with Bolivian migrants in Bolivia, Argentina, and Spain since the year 2000 and is currently finishing a monograph on Diverse Transnational Care, Ageing and Migration in Bolivia (Bristol University/ Policy Press). She is the author of Gender, Migration and Social Transformation: Intersectionality in Bolivian Itinerant Migrations (Routledge, 2019), she edited Migration and Inequality (2013, Routledge) and co-edited (with Ronald Skeldon) Routledge Handbook of Migration and Development.




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