Youth Migration and the Politics of Wellbeing: Book Launch and Discussion of International Policy Priorities for Unaccompanied Minors in Transition to Adulthood

Book launch event for "Youth Migration and the Politics of Wellbeing" by Professor Elaine Chase and Dr Jennifer Allsopp and discussion.

- America/New York

Children who are forced to leave home unaccompanied are covered by two intersecting bodies of law - international refugee law and international child rights law. These two frameworks interact in a way that can deliver or impede effective protection in practice for unaccompanied young migrants and refugees, especially as they transition to formal adulthood at the age of 18. Moreover, the dilemmas faced by unaccompanied migrant children as they transition to adulthood with mixed and uncertain immigration statuses is a profoundly neglected area of national and international policy, requiring a fundamental rethink of what might constitute viable and ‘durable’ solutions for their lives and futures.

What can the international policy community do to address this profoundly neglected area of national and international policy?

To coincide with the launch of the new book, Youth Migration and the Politics of Wellbeing, co-authored by Professor Elaine Chase, University College London, and Dr Jennifer Allsopp, Harvard University, and published by Bristol University Press (2020), this event brought together policymakers and experts from around the world.

The authors presented the book’s main findings and policy implications and a series of expert panelists then responded. They discussed how the United Nations and other international human rights governance bodies can address the policy protection gaps for unaccompanied child migrants and refugees becoming adult and provide an immediate and coordinated policy response to the stalled transitions of youth on the move.

About the book

The book documents the nuances and complexities of the stories of over 100 unaccompanied young migrants and refugees from countries including Afghanistan, Eritrea and Albania. It captures not just the moments when unaccompanied minors arrive but follows what happens next in their global trajectories, from academic careers at prestigious universities in and beyond Europe, to life post-deportation in refugee camps in Indonesia and Iran.

The book seeks to illuminate the humanity in the individual stories of young people, while also drawing attention to common policy dilemmas to which their shared plight gives rise.

A recording of the event can be accessed here.


Professor Nando Sigona

Chair of International Migration and Forced Displacement, Director of IRiS
Department of Social Policy, Sociology and Criminology, University of Birmingham

Gulwali Passarlay

Former unaccompanied child, activist and author of The Lightless Sky

Dr Jennifer Allsopp

Postdoctoral Fellow in International Migration and Coordinator, Immigration Initiative at Harvard University and Senior Fellow, United National University Centre for Policy Research (UNU-CPR)

Professor Elaine Chase

Associate Professor in Education, Health and International Development, IOE - Education, Practice & Society, University College London Institute of Education

Professor Jacqui Bhabha

FXB Director of Research, Professor of the Practice of Health and Human Rights at the Harvard School of Public Health, the Jeremiah Smith Jr. Lecturer in Law at Harvard Law School, and an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at the H

Professor Helen Stalford

Director, European Children's Rights Unit, School of Law & Social Justice, University of Liverpool

Jasmina Byrne

Policy Chief
Office of Global Insight and Policy, UNICEF

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