The seminar focuses on how returned refugees impact the societies to which they return. Invited speakers will present on return of refugees to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iraq and Afghanistan. The seminar is organized in collaboration with the Norwegian Peace Centre.
Photo: James Gordon 2007 (flickr)

The Norwegian Peace Centre and PRIO invite you to the seminar:

'Return Policy and Peacebuilding'

What impact does the return of refugees have on the societies to which they return? This will be one of the main questions the seminar addresses, with the aim of generating more knowledge on the relation between the return of refugees, challenges of reintegration and impacts on conflict and/ or peace processes in the areas to which they are returned. Invited speakers will give introductions on return of refugees to Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iraq and Afghanistan. This will allow for interesting comparison between the cases and provide knowledge on possible links between return policy and peacebuilding initiatives. We hope to promote a debate on possible links between return policy and peacebuilding and further explore possibilities of bridging the gap between return policy and foreign policy.

Time: December 9th 2008, 11:30- 16:00 (11:30- 12:00: Registration and Lunch)
Venue: PRIO, Hausmannsgate 7, Oslo

Please register for the seminar with by December 5th.

Preliminary Programme:

11:30 Registration and lunch

12:00 Introduction: Norunn Grande

12:15 Kristian Berg Harpviken: "Return of ‘Refugee Warriors’ in Herat, Afghanistan"
Comments : Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs representative
Questions and discussion

13:10 Denise Natali: "Returning to Iraqi Kurdistan – The Challenges of Reintegration"
Comments: Vigdis Vevstad – independent consultant
Questions and discussion

14:00 Coffebreak

14:20 Roberto Belloni: "The Continuing Challenge of Refugee Return to the Balkans"
Comments: Steinar Bryn – Nansen Dialogue Network
Questions and discussion

15:10 Comparison between the cases and discussions on policy relevance


Dr. Roberto Belloni is a lecturer in International Relations at the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy at Queens University, Belfast, Northern Ireland. He has also earlier worked as a research fellow at the Kennedy School of Government and World Peace Foundation at Harvard University. His main area of research is management of conflict and democratisation of deeply divided societies, with special reference to the Balkans. He is the author of State Building and International Interventions in Bosnia (Routledge, 2007). At this seminar he will present the paper 'The Continuing Challenge of Refugee Return in the Balkans', focusing on the specific case of return of Muslim refugees to a Serb-majority town in Bosnia.

Dr. Kristian Berg Harpviken is senior researcher and deputy director at the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO). His main areas of research are transnational mobilisation and civil war; war-related migration and social networks, and peacebuilding. Afghanistan and the surrounding region has long been his core geographical focus and he is the author of Social Networks and Wartime Migration in Afghanistan (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming). He was co-author of the 2008 ‘Review of Support for Afghans Returning from Norway’, and he is currently working on the project ‘Going Home to Fight? Explaining Refugee Return and Violence’. At this seminar he will analyze the consequences of return of refugees in an Afghan context.

Dr. Denise Natali is an honorary research fellow at the Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies, Exeter University. She is currently researching and teaching at the department of politics and international relations, University of Kurdistan-Hewler, Arbil, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Her main research interests focus on Kurdish nationalism, politics and identity. Dr. Natali is the author of The Kurds and the State: Evolving National Identity in Iraq, Turkey, and Iran (Syracuse University Press, 2005), and ‘Kurdish interventions in the Iraq War’ (in Diasporas in Conflict – Peace-makers or Peace-wreckers?, United Nations University Press, 2007). At this seminar she will present a paper entitled ‘Returning to Iraqi Kurdistan – The Challenges of Reintegration’.

Photo: James Gordon (2007)