CESLAM Kathmandu Migration Conference 2020

The CESLAM Kathmandu Migration Conference, organised by the Centre for the Study of Labour and Mobility (CESLAM) at Social Science Baha, was held on 15 and 16 September 2020. Given the health restrictions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the two-day conference was an online event held on Zoom. 

(All times are in Nepal time)

Day 1: 15 September 2020 (Tuesday) 6:45 pm–9:45 pm

6:45 pm–6:50 pm

Welcome remarks: Arjun Kharel, Research Coordinator, CESLAM

6:50 pm–8:40 pm
Panel 1: State Policies and Migration

Chair: Suresh Dhakal, Associate Professor, Central Department of Anthropology, Tribhuvan University
Prakash Khanal, PhD Student, University of Reading, United Kingdom and Sudeshna Thapa, Research Officer, Social Science Baha

  1. Genealogy of Migration: The Study of Migration Process
    Keshav Prajapati (Manav), Master of Philosophy, Tribhuvan University

  2. Strategic Litigation to Protect the Rights of Migrant Workers: An Analysis of Supreme Court Judgments in Nepal
    Barun Ghimire, Program Manager, Law and Policy Forum for Social Justice (LAPSOJ)

  3. Nepalese Migration to Japan and Korea: Converging Ends, Diverging Paths and Contrasting Effects
    Keiko Yamanaka, Lecturer, Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies, Department of Ethnic Studies, and Department of Global Studies, University of California, Berkeley

8:45 pm – 9:45 pm

Keynote Address by A. Mushfiq Mobarak, Professor of Economics, Yale University

Migration and the Labour Market Impacts of COVID-19 Social distancing policies to contain the global pandemic include restrictions that limit people’s geographic mobility and hence prevent migration as a source of income. In addition, many nations have responded to the public health crisis by revoking work visas for existing labor migrants and sending foreign workers home. In his keynote, Professor Mobarak will present evidence that both the public health risks of COVID-19 and the economic fallout from mitigation policies have been particularly damaging to households that engage in labor migration. Further he will discuss findings from a study done by a joint research team of the Yale Research Initiative on Innovation and Scale (Y-RISE) and the Centre for the Study of Labour and Mobility (CESLAM) in Kathmandu which tracked 2,600 households in rural Nepal over five rounds of surveys during both lean and harvest seasons, before and after the COVID-19 lockdown. Their results suggest continued lockdowns may lead to even greater hunger, malnutrition, and desperation than what has already been observed. Read more from Professor Mobarak on this topic in his recent Foreign Policy article and Yale Insights article. Y-RISE is engaged in supporting developing country governments devise evidence-based COVID response strategies. Professor Mobarak will describe that work.

Day 2: 16 September 2020 (Wednesday) 6:45 pm – 9:00 pm

Chair and closing remarks: Amina Maharjan Livelihood Specialist, ICIMOD

Discussants: Sanjay Sharma, PhD Student, National University of Singapore and Khagendra Acharya, Assistant Professor, Kathmandu University

Panel 2: Migration, Livelihood and Reintegration

  1. Mapping the Gendered Impacts of Differential Inclusion on Livelihood Precarity and Migrant Capability in South Asia: A Preliminary Study of Nepalese Women Domestic Workers in Delhi, India 
    Meghan Satish Kadam, Mahatma Gandhi National Fellow with the Ministry of Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Government of India

  2. Of Camps, Carpets and Controls: Understanding the Livelihood Pattern of Tibetan Refugees in Kathmandu
    Neelam Shahi, Master of Arts in International Relations and Diplomacy (MIRD), Tribhuvan University
    Gaurav Bhattarai, Faculty Member, Department of International Relations and Diplomacy (DIRD), Tribhuvan University

  3. Return Migration and Reintegration - Widening the Theoretical Remit
    Prakash Khanal, PhD Student, University of Reading, United Kingdom

  4. The Comparative Study of Psychological Wellbeing and Educational Performance among Children of Migrant and Non-migrant Parent
    Madhusudan Pokharel, Master of Arts in Psychology, Central Department of Psychology, Tribhuvan University
    Khem Raj Bhatta, Lecturer, Central Department of Psychology, Tribhuvan University

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