Author Archives: Luca Gefäller

The European Union’s migration crisis: An Italian view

The city of Bologna bears a glowing beauty in July. Temperatures rise beyond 30°C in the late morning and refuse to drop until past midnight. All buildings shine in shades of yellow, orange and ochre. Walking along Via Saragozza, I come past young Black men standing under the arches of the Portico that shades the […]

Language learning for migrant children in Germany: separate or inclusive?

German schools currently receive newly immigrated children without knowledge of the local language in so-called ‘Vorbereitungsklassen’, ‘Sprachlernklassen’ or most commonly ‘Willkommensklassen’ – Welcome Classes. The basic idea is to group newly arrived children together to allow them to learn the German language in a supportive and non-competitive environment for up to one year before they […]

No endless summer of welcome: volunteerism in Germany since 2015

The so-called ‘European refugee crisis’ of 2015 – during which over 1 million people applied for asylum in Germany – was not perceived as a crisis by the hundreds of thousands of volunteers who rushed enthusiastically to assist them. The enthusiasm has dimmed since then owing to changing public perceptions of refugees and asylum seekers […]

Facebook, flyers and drone surveillance: information and politics in refugee protection

The European refugee crisis highlights the competing interests of control and protection when dealing with irregular migration. States and refugees have opposing needs for information, while agencies that try to protect migrants sit uneasily in the middle. Ghaith, a young law student from Syria, crosses ten borders on his journey from Damascus to Gothenburg. Retold […]

The Other Sudan: Music, War and the Nuba Mountain Refugees

“I’m really into music – I’m not a musician, but I’m really into music.” says Hajooj Kuka. The director of the 2014 documentary Beats of the Antonov tells a hundred different stories in his film. But they all come back to one thing: the music played by the people of the Nuba Mountains in Sudan. […]

Germany Can Learn from Uganda: the Case for Local Integration of Refugees

The arrival of many hundred thousand people fleeing the Syrian civil war raises existential questions in all European countries. Political leaders across the continent respond to the perceived concerns of their citizens by painting challenges of integration as a reason to slow down or stop the influx. The European view of the crisis can benefit […]

Who benefits? Terrorism in Kenya and the scapegoating of Somali refugees

One year ago in Nairobi, Wole Soyinka gave a stirring lecture in memory of his fellow poet, Kofi Awoonor of Ghana, who was killed in the 2013 Westgate attack. Awoonor was one of at least 67 people killed when al-Shabaab fighters stormed into the Westgate Mall and occupied the building for four days; another 175 […]

Fading sense of hope: How re-watching “Children of Men” helps us see immigration control from the other end

It is a dull, drab and dingy world in which Children of Men unfolds. 2027 London presents itself in fading colours, public spaces are dominated by brutal security infrastructure and the city itself shouts its deep unease in xenophobic warning signs and radical graffiti. Outside the city, the English countryside breathes a worn-out air of spent […]

Migrationist Monthly: Germany Edition

Migration-related debate in Germany, which centred on the housing of refugees throughout the year, reached a new level of controversy in December. At the end of November, a ten-year high of 155,427 applications for asylum since January was recorded. A solid 22% of applications came from war-torn Syria alone. Individual stories like that of Ali Najaf show that refugees […]

Migrationist Monthly: Germany Edition

The beginning of April saw the launch of a new Berlin Institute for Empirical Research on Migration and Integration (BIM) at Humboldt University. Comprised of six specialist departments ranging from ‘Integration, Social Networks and Cultural Lifestyles’, to the migration-health nexus, it will also provide foundational research into migration and integration. Inquiry at BIM will be geared towards developing “basic […]