Who came during the 2015 European refugee ‘crisis’?

In 2015, a large number of refugees came to Europe in what has come to be referred to as a European refugee ‘crisis’. Now, some of the focus has shifted towards questions of integration of those who came. But who were they? One of the countries hosting many of the refugees from 2015 is Austria, and a team of researchers spent some time in 2015 interviewing over 500 of those who came, asking them for example about their educational background, attitudes and values.

Judith Kohlenberger, researcher at the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital, Vienna University of Economics and Business, joins us to tell us about what they found. Find out more about the project here and read the published article about the findings here.

What do we really know about refugees?

We are told that we are currently witnessing the biggest refugee crisis sine World War Two and that the average stay in refugee camps is 17 years. But is this true? Refugee historian Benjamin Thomas White, Lecturer in History at the University of Glasgow, joins the podcast to take issue with these claims. He argues that statistics are incomplete, that our understanding of refugees’ experiences are often mistaken and that exaggerating the extent of the problem is unhelpful.

Benjamin Thomas White is a Middle East historian by background, who now teaches the history of refugees in the world since the late nineteenth century. He also does research on the global history of the refugee camp. Find more on his blog, Twitter and here about his work on refugees in Syria.