Petra Molnar and Brittany Wheeler
If you are new to the ESPMI Network, welcome! And if you have been involved with our project for a while, you may have noticed that some exciting changes are afoot.
We are very excited to announce a vibrant new ESPMI Network Executive Committee, lead by Claire Ellis. This group includes interdisciplinary academics, practitioners, archivists, journalists, and thinkers from all over the world and we are very excited to see where the ESPMI Network will go under their leadership.
We have had the privilege of leading the ESPMI Network for 4+ years and have seen firsthand how a grassroots group of a few committed individuals can transform an idea on paper to a flourishing initiative connecting thousands of scholars and practitioners in forced migration issues all over the world. We have been very inspired by the diversity of submissions we received for both volumes of ESPMI’s open-access, peer edited, multi-disciplinary journal, the Refugee Review. We have published two volumes of the journal, one focused on Social Movements (2013) and the other on Re-Conceptualizing Refugees and Forced Migration in the 21st Century (June 2015). The journal has been far reaching – the e-journal’s website has been viewed more than 14,000 times from readers across the world. The new Executive is currently working on a third volume of Refugee Review.
We have also overseen the impact of innovative projects and partnerships. One of the most pivotal examples was 2015’s Guest Twitter Project, which for 6 weeks introduced international, emerging practitioners and scholars on the ESPMI Twitter handle (@ESPMINetwork). This collaborative hosting project made a significant difference in the attention @ESPMINetwork received; tweeting capacity improved by 192%, tweet impressions went up 127%, profile views 53%, mentions 42%, and followers increased exponentially. ESPMI was also involved with projects connected to the Refugee Research Network. These included participation in the Borderless Higher Education for Refugees Project (BHER), coordination on a SSHRC Connections Grant for the Global Refugee Policy International Workshop at Carleton University to provide rapporteurs, and representing the ESPMI network at International Association for the Study of Forced Migration (IASFM) conferences in Kolkata, India; Bogota, Colombia; and Poznan, Poland. Along the way, ESPMI has increased the information posted to its website, which, since the end of 2013, has received more than 35,000 views.
These examples are a few highlights from the many activities of the ESPMI Network. However, what has been the most humbling and inspiring for us has been the support the network has received in the last few years from all over the world. We are very excited to pass the leadership role to the 20+ incredible individuals on the Executive Committee.
A commitment to foster a space for critical interdisciplinary and accessible discussion is particularly important in a time where migration and refugee issues are on the forefront of domestic and international policy, as we work towards creating better world for everyone, regardless of migration status.
We will continue to be involved in an advisory capacity and look forward to supporting the ESPMI Network in this exciting period of transition. Please keep in touch!