The Model International Mobility Convention is the culmination of a two-year effort by an international commission to rewrite the rules for the movement of persons across borders, from visitors through to refugees.
The movement of people across borders lacks global regulation. This leaves many refugees in protracted displacement and many migrants unprotected in irregular and dire situations. Meanwhile, some states have become concerned that their borders have become irrelevant. International mobility—the movement of individuals across borders for any length of time as visitors, students, tourists, labor migrants, entrepreneurs, long-term residents, asylum seekers, or refugees—has no common definition or legal framework.
To address this key gap in international law, and the growing gaps in protection and responsibility that are leaving people vulnerable, the “Model International Mobility Convention” proposes a framework for mobility with the goals of reaffirming the existing rights afforded to mobile people (and the corresponding rights and responsibilities of states) as well as expanding those basic rights where warranted. The eight chapters of the Model International Mobility Convention were developed by a multidisciplinary Commission of eminent academic and policy experts to address a key gap in international law.
Read and sign the Model International Mobility Convention at globalpolicy.columbia.edu/mobility-convention.
Hosted by the Columbia Global Policy Initiative and the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law
Registration & Welcome (9:00-9:30AM)
Introduction to Model International Mobility Convention (9:30-9:40AM)
- Michael Doyle (moderator): Director, Columbia Global Policy Initiative
Panel 1: Overview of Chapters (9:40-10:40AM)
- Rey Koslowski: Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy, SUNY Albany
- Sarah Rosengaertner: Global Policy Initiative, Columbia University
- Kiran Banerjee: Global Policy Initiative; SIPA, Columbia University
- Emma Borgnäs: Global Policy Initiative; SIPA, Columbia University
Panel 2: Cross-Cutting Issue Areas & Linkages (10:50-11:50AM)
- T. Alexander Aleinikoff: Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility, The New School
- Yasmine Ergas: SIPA, Columbia University
- Sarah Deardorff Miller: SIPA, Columbia University; SIS, American University
Announcement of CJTL Journal Issue & Convention Signature Process (11:50AM-12:00PM)
- Anjli Parrin: Editor-in-Chief, Columbia Journal of Transnational Law
Please join us for lunch immediately following the program.
Register by clicking "Attend Event" above or visit mobilitysymposium2017.eventbrite.com.
T. Alexander Aleinikoff is a leading scholar in immigration and refugee law. From 2010 to 2015, he served as the United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva. Prior to his service with the UN, he was a professor at Georgetown University Law Center (1997-2010), where he also served as dean (2004-2010). Aleinikoff was a professor of law at the University of Michigan Law School from 1981 to 1997. In 2016, Aleinikoff served as the Huo Global Policy Initiative Research Fellow at the Columbia Global Policy Initiative. He is the Director of the Zoldberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at The New School. Aleinikoff was co-chair of the Immigration Task Force for President Barack Obama’s transition team. From 1994 to 1997, he served as the general counsel, and then executive associate commissioner for programs, at the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Aleinikoff has published numerous books and articles in the areas of immigration law, refugee law, citizenship, race, statutory interpretation, and constitutional law.
Kiran Banerjee is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Global Policy Initiative and School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University. Banerjee holds a Ph.D. from the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto, where he concentrated in the fields of political theory and international relations. He received an MA degree in Social Sciences and BA degree in Philosophy from the University of Chicago in 2006. Banerjee's current research focuses on the role of international institutions and domestic political actors in responding to forced migration as well as with mapping out tensions between discourses of national sovereignty and human rights as manifest in contemporary conceptions of democratic legitimacy, in particular as they relate to issues raised by immigration and the position of refugees. At present, he is working on exploring the relationship of citizenship, human rights, and territoriality, in the context of contemporary democratic theory.
Emma Borgnäs is a Research Assistant and Project Manager for the International Migration Project at Columbia Global Policy Initiative (CGPI). The International Migration Project is a multi-year joint venture undertaken in collaboration with the Office of the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on International Migration. The project aims to develop a new migration agenda for the coming decade. Emma undertakes research to assist in the drafting of a Model Treaty on International Mobility, and organizes workshops to debate the model treaty. Emma joined CGPI in Spring 2016 as a Research Assistant during her first year as an M.A. candidate studying Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University. Emma has a B.A. in international relations from the University of Oslo (and prior to her master studies she worked and interned for the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) and Amnesty International).
Michael Doyle is the Director of the Columbia Global Policy Initiative and University Professor at Columbia University, affiliated with the School of International and Public Affairs, the Department of Political Science, and the Law School. His research interests include international relations theory, international law, international peace-building and the United Nations. From 2006 to 2013, Doyle was an individual member and the chair of the UN Democracy Fund, a fund established in 2005 by the UN General Assembly to promote grass-roots democratization around the world. Professor Doyle previously served as assistant secretary-general and special adviser for policy planning to United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. He formerly taught at Princeton University, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom.
Yasmine Ergas is the Director of the Specialization on Gender and Public Policy and Lecturer in Discipline in International and Public Affairs. She also directs the program in Gender and Human Rights of Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights, is a member of the Executive Committee of the University’s Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality, and is the co-convener of the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Council at Columbia University. A lawyer and sociologist, she has worked on issues regarding gender and women’s rights as a policy analyst and advisor, scholar and advocate. She has served as a consultant to international and domestic policy organizations, including the OECD, UNESCO, the Millennium Villages Project, the New York City Commission on Human Rights, and CENSIS, a major applied social research institute in Italy, and been on the staff of the Social Science Research Council. Her recent work has focused on the emergence of an international market in reproductive services, the transformations of ‘motherhood’ and the impacts of human rights programs and policies. Previous relevant work centered on feminist movements and their interactions with public policies; the implications of the concept of ‘gender’ for feminist politics; child care policies in international and comparative perspective; educational policies and the social implications of HIV/AIDS.
Rey Koslowski is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy at SUNY Albany. His primary teaching and research interests are in the field of international relations dealing with international organization, European integration, international migration, information technology, and homeland security. He is the author of Migrants and Citizens: Demographic Change in the European States System (Cornell University Press, 2000); editor of International Migration and the Globalization of Domestic Politics (Routledge, 2005) and co-editor (with David Kyle) of Global Human Smuggling: Comparative Perspectives (John Hopkins University Press, 2001). His articles have appeared in International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, The Journal of European Public Policy, Journal of Common Market Studies, The Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, The Cambridge Journal of International Studies and The Brown Journal of World Affairs. Prior to arriving at the University at Albany, Professor Koslowski taught at Rutgers University, Newark. He has held fellowships of the Transatlantic Academy at the German Marshall Fund, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Center of International Studies at Princeton University and the Center for German and European Studies at Georgetown University. His research has been supported by grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the National Science Foundation.
Sarah Deardorff Miller is Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University who is leading the Capstone Mercy Corps project, which focuses on refugee youth. She is also adjunct faculty with American University's School of International Service and the University of London's School of Advanced Study. Sarah focuses on the politics of forced migration, having received her doctorate in International Relations from Oxford University. Her research focused on the role of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in protracted refugee situations. She also has a Master of Science in Forced Migration from Oxford University, where she was a Weidenfeld Scholar, a Master of Arts in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago, and a Bachelor of Arts in History, Spanish and International Service from Valparaiso University. Sarah has worked on refugee issues with various non-profit organizations around the world, including Tanganyika Christian Refugee Service in Tanzania, the World Council of Churches in Switzerland, and World Relief in the United States. She has also carried out research or consulting projects in Thailand, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Nepal, Kenya and Uganda. She recently released a book on Syrian displacement, titled Political and Humanitarian Responses to Syrian Displacement (Routledge 2016). She has also helped with displacement-related projects at USAID and the Department of State as a Franklin Fellow, and consulted with think tanks like the Brookings Institution.
Sarah Rosengaertner is an expert on migration and development based in New York. She has served as a consultant for the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the advised Peter Sutherland during his term as United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General on International Migration.
The Model International Mobility Convention
While people are as mobile as they ever were in our globalized world, the movement of people across borders lacks global regulation. This leaves many refugees in protracted displacement and many migrants unprotected in irregular and dire situations. Meanwhile, some states have become concerned that their borders have become irrelevant. International mobility—the movement of individuals across borders for any length of time as visitors, students, tourists, labor migrants, entrepreneurs, long-term residents, asylum seekers, or refugees—has no common definition or legal framework. To address this key gap in international law, and the growing gaps in protection and responsibility that are leaving people vulnerable, the "Model International Mobility Convention" proposes a framework for mobility with the goals of reaffirming the existing rights afforded to mobile people (and the corresponding rights and responsibilities of states) as well as expanding those basic rights where warranted.
In 213 articles divided over eight chapters, the Convention establishes both the minimum rights afforded to all people who cross state borders as visitors, and the special rights afforded to tourists, students, migrant workers, investors and residents, forced migrants, refugees, migrant victims of trafficking and migrants caught in countries in crisis. Some of these categories are covered by existing international legal regimes. However, in this Convention these groups are for the first time brought together under a single framework. An essential feature of the Convention is that it is cumulative. This means, for the most part, that the chapters build on and add rights to the set of rights afforded to categories of migrants covered by earlier chapters. The Convention contains not only provisions that afford rights to migrants and, to a lesser extent, States (such as the right to decide who can enter and remain in their territory). It also articulates the responsibilities of migrants vis-à-vis States and the rights and responsibilities of different institutions that do not directly respond to a right held by migrants.
The Model International Mobility Convention was developed by a Commission of eminent academic and policy experts in the fields on migration, human rights, national security, labor economics and refugee law. The Commission came together to debate and develop the Convention in workshops conducted regularly from spring 2015 until it was finalized in June 2017. A full list of Commission and other signatories to the Convention can be found further down on this page.