World Refugee Day: Hope, Opportunities & Challenges for International Protection


This event has passed. Please find the webinar recording below.

To commemorate World Refugee Day, the Committee on Forced Migration, which serves as a platform to engage, support, and share information across Columbia University’s community of faculty, students, and staff on issues related to forced migration, hosts a panel of refugee advocates and experts. Panelists will address the shortcomings of refugee policies, norms and practices, and how to enhance political will, human rights protections, and economic and educational opportunities for displaced populations.

Aligned with the theme of this year’s World Refugee Day—”Hope away from Home. A world where refugees are always included”—and looking forward to the Global Refugee Forum in December, the discussion will provide tangible suggestions for governments, international organizations, and civil society on how to address the key challenges faced by refugees through norms and partnerships at the global, regional, and national level. Each panelist will bring specific expertise, including lived experience, to the discussion, making for a rich conversation.


Opening remarks:

Kian Tajbakhsh, Senior Advisor, Columbia Global; Coordinator, Columbia’s The Committee on Forced Migration


Daniel Naujoks, Director, International Organization and UN Studies, Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA)


  • Ruven Menikdiwela, Director of the UNHCR office in New York
  • Tetiana Kotelnykova, Columbia University student and recipient of the Scholarship for Displaced Students
  • Wael Haffar Habbal, Director, The Syrian and Greek Youth Forum and Columbia University Obama Foundation Scholar (2022-2023)
  • Ayla Bonfiglio, Regional Head for Eastern and Southern Africa, Mixed Migration Centre