The massive influx of refugees and migrants into the Aegean islands, which reached its peak in the summer of 2015 and continues in lower intensity until today, is an event of global importance that requires systematic recording and study. The Observatory of the Refugee and Migration Crisis in the Aegean is a response to the intellectual and political challenges posed by the refugee and immigration issue. Founded by Greek and foreign social scientists, under the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of the Aegean, the Observatory is a tool for the systematic monitoring, documenting, and comprehension of the multifaceted phenomena of immigration and displacement in the wider region of the Aegean archipelago.
The Observatory is a project of the Aegean University and is being implemented with the support of the Greek National Documentation Centre, the Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Fieldwork, and the Global Studies Centre at the University of Pittsburgh, U.S.A. It is based in the Department of Social Anthropology and History in Mytilene.
The Observatory, through the operation of its Webpage, aims to track the phenomenon as it unfolds in the Aegean region today. On the webpage of the Observatory we attempt to collect and present the available materials, from primary and secondary sources, focused on the management of the refugee and migration phenomenon in the Aegean: these include populations on the move, who reside on the islands of the Aegean; the facilities devoted to the reception, identification, accommodation and detention of these people; the various organizations, institutions, and Greek and European authorities, as well as individual and collective agents, which comprise the landcape of Humanitarian Governance in the Aegean; and of course, the local communities that are affected in various ways by the fluctuations of refugee and migrant phenomena on the European Union’s borders.
About the Digital Respository
The Digital Repository is part of the Observatory of the Refugee and Migration Crisis. Its main aims are to collect, document, organize, preserve, digitalize and disseminate various categories of material referring to the refugee and migration crisis in the Aegean Sea. The Repository also documents and promotes research by members of Greek and the international academic community. The Repository contains people’s testimonies, diaries, published or un-published statistical and institutional records, articles originating in both print and digital formats, images, film and video. The primary and secondary material is collected and distributed by the Repository in accordance to copyright rules.
The digital presentation of primary and secondary materials in an open access website for interested individuals such as researchers and journalists, as well as collectives and authorities, is of particular importance not just for the promotion of relevant research, but also for preserving the historical record of the phenomenon and its multiple social, economic and political dimensions.
Opening event: The Refugee Issue, an intellectual and political challenge
The Observatory of the Refugee and Migration Crisis in the Aegean is organizing an opening event entitled: The Refugee Issue, an intellectual and political challenge. At the event, the Observatory, its Webpage and Digital Repository will be presented, followed by a discussion on the Observatory’s mission with the participation of citizens who, from various perspectives, have direct experience with the refugee issue on the Aegean islands. The event will take place at the Auditorium of the Geography building at the Campus of the University of the Aegean in Mytilene on Tuesday, November 28, 2017, at 18:00-21:30.