Refugees and Migration

Darwin College Lecture Series
Mr Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees
LMH, Lady Mitchell Hall
Friday, February 9, 2018 - 17:30 to 18:30

How, in a world of modern nation states, shared prosperity, and boundless capabilities can refugees and migrants on the move today find themselves exposed to kidnapping for ransom, imprisonment and torture? What should shape our response to those uprooted and on the move in ‘mixed’ migratory flows? And what is the role of international cooperation and the modern system of international refugee protection?

Drawing on more than 30 years of experience in refugee and international affairs, UN Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi will reflect on these questions, and on the intersection between refugee movements and the broader dynamics of human mobility and migration today.


Filippo Grandi became the 11th United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on 1 January 2016. He was elected by the UN General Assembly to serve a five-year term, until 31 December 2020.

As High Commissioner, he heads one of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations. UNHCR has twice won the Nobel Peace Prize. Its 15,000-strong workforce spans 128 countries providing protection and assistance to nearly 60 million refugees, returnees, internally displaced people and stateless persons. Some 88 per cent of UNHCR staff work in the field, often in difficult and dangerous duty stations. The organization's needs-based budget for 2017 is US$7.3 billion.

Before being elected High Commissioner, Grandi had been engaged in international cooperation for over 30 years, focusing on refugee and humanitarian work. He served as Commissioner-General of the UN Agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA, from 2010 to 2014, after having been the organization’s Deputy Commissioner-General since 2005. Prior to that, Grandi served as Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Afghanistan, following a long career first with NGOs and later with UNHCR in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and at the organization’s Geneva headquarters.

Grandi was born in Milan in 1957. He holds a degree in modern history from the State University in Milan, a BA in Philosophy from the Gregorian University in Rome, as well as an honorary doctorate from the University of Coventry.

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