Former Special Assistant to Obama to Give RSC Lecture on Refugees and Human Rights

Posted:
05 November, 2012

A former Special Assistant to President Barack Obama will deliver the Refugee Studies Centre's Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture on 'The Architecture of Refugee Protection' the day after the US presidential election.

Professor Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar is the Co-Director of Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation and was formerly Obama's Special Assistant for Justice and Regulatory Policy. He has served in both the Obama and Clinton Administrations and co-chaired the Obama-Biden Transition’s Immigration Policy Working Group.

In his talk, which takes place on November 7 at the Oxford Museum of Natural History, Cuéllar will analyse the planning of refugee camps, the wider humanitarian relief system, and the allocation of power across nation-states.

Tens of millions of people in nearly every inhabited corner of the planet face the challenge of life as refugees or internally-displaced people. Countries and organisations throughout the world recognise that these displaced people have legal rights and should be given support.

Nonetheless, the laws, organisations, and ideas that shape this area of humanitarian governance – what Cuéllar refers to as the 'architecture' of refugee protection – often fail to live up to their promise. By understanding this ‘architecture’ Cuéllar aims to uncover opportunities for action that will shape the lives of displaced persons and the international system that defines our world.

"We are delighted to welcome Professor Cuéllar to the University of Oxford", said Professor Dawn Chatty, Director of the Refugee Studies Centre, "His experience will provide a fascinating insight into global humanitarian governance."

This year’s Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture also coincides with the 80th birthday of Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond OBE in whose name the annual lecture was established. Harrell-Bond is a leading figure in the field of forced migration studies having founded the Refugee Studies Centre – the world's first institution for the study of refugees – in 1982. The occasion will be marked by a photograph exhibition and reception at the museum.

The Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture 2012 takes place at 5pm, 7 November 2012, at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3PW. A podcast of the lecture will be made available after the event at www.rsc.ox.ac.uk/events/harrell-bond-lecture-2012.

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