• Panel discussion: Migration in the Afghan Context

Panel discussion: Migration in the Afghan Context

09 February 2016


The SOAS Afghan Society, with support from BAAG, will gather together experts from SOAS, Chatham House and Refugee Support Network, amongst others, to explore the factors leading so many Afghans to migrate to Europe and the implications this may have on Afghanistan in the longer-term. They will also consider the role of the Afghan diaspora in the UK - can they reinforce positive messages of migration to an often misinformed public, and what role has the media played in those public perceptions? 

Discussion and objectives

To understand the driving forces and push factors behind the high level of migration.

To acknowledge and understand the role of Afghan diaspora in UK society and how their achievements can gradually change British public perception of migration.

The first part of the panel discussion will attempt to shed light on Afghan exodus/migration, examining why people are leaving the country and its impact in the long term. The second part of the discussion will focus on the role of diaspora, highlighting some of their achievements and how they have enriched UK society in various fields. Finally, the role of the media will be touched upon, as they have a heavy influence on public perception on migration. 

Key Questions:

  1. What are the push factors for the large influx of Afghan migration to Europe and its impact for Afghanistan?
  2. What is the role of the diaspora and how can they influence both British and Afghan public perceptions of migration to the UK?
  3. Is the media to blame for the negative perception of migration?

There will be a 30 minute Q&A section, where members of the audience can raise their questions to the panelists.

Moderator: Jawed Nader, BAAG


Dr. Orzala Ashraf Nemat, SOAS

Orzala is currently a Senior Teaching Fellow at the Department of Development Studies, SOAS. As an emerging scholar, Orzala has over 15 years of experience in development practice. Once a war refugee, grassroots organisation’s founding leader, Orzala continued to be a dedicated advocate for women’s rights, human rights and justice she later joined various international development organisations in Afghanistan in different capacities including as researcher, consultant and country program officer.

Orzala holds a MSc in Development Planning from University College London (UCL) and a PhD in  Local Governance & how Interventions change/influence local dynamics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, SOAS.

Hameed Hakimi, Chatham House

Hamed is an Associated Researcher at Asia Programme in Chatham House. With over 8 years of experience across various organisations such as Chatham House, IISS, LSE, UK’s National Youth Agency and the British Refugee Council, Hameed recently worked as an International Advisor for policy and capacity building at Afghanistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on behalf of an international donor-funded programme. Hameed has published analysis on Afghanistan and its region. Among other research commitments, Hameed is currently working on a policy paper to look at the implications of ‘brain drain’ for Afghanistan and the region.

Hameed holds a BA in Politics from Queen Mary University of London, a masters in International Security and Global Governance from Birkbeck College University of London and training qualification in Research Methodologies from University of Birmingham. Hameed is also a project management professional and a youth worker.

Farid Mall, Afghan Association Paiwand

Farid is the Director and Co-Founder of Afghan Association Paiwand. Farid moved to the United Kingdom in 1998, and founded Afghan Association Paiwand in 2002 alongside six other individuals, aiming to maintain Afghan cultural identity and pass on the community’s rich heritage to the next generation in the UK. Farid holds a Masters degree in Law. Having started voluntary work in large organisations in Afghanistan at the early age of 16, he has always had the passion to help those in need and to foster the cultural identity of the Afghan community.

Emily Bowerman, Refugee Support Network

Emily is currently the Programmes Manager at Refugee Support Network. Emily runs the Higher Education programme, helping young refugees and asylum seekers to access university, and also Youth on the Move, supporting former Afghan unaccompanied asylum seeking children at risk of being forcibly removed from the UK. A qualified TEFL teacher with wide-ranging experience of working cross-culturally with people from different backgrounds, Emily has an MSc in Migration, Mobility and Development and has worked in a range of voluntary sector organisations in the UK and overseas.

Venue: Khalili Lecture Theatre, SOAS University of London, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, WC1H 0XG

Time: 18.30-21.00

Cost: Free - advance tickets are not required.