About Us

In the world’s leading city of immigration, in a time of a troubling resurgence of anti-migrant action and rhetoric, in a University with a faculty and student body committed to social justice, the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility supports critical and applied scholarship and provides opportunities for social action and policy engagement for faculty, students and the broader New School community.

The Institute fosters concentric circles of scholarship and action—in our University, our city, and the world.  We contribute to the University community by offering courses, sponsoring lectures and events, and supporting extended visits of leading scholars.  We engage deeply with New York City, supporting student work with the wide range of groups and communities in the City. We undertake initiatives to inform and influence public debate and public policy at the national and global level.

The term “mobility” in the Institute’s name is the key to our mission. It commits us to a dynamic understanding of concepts central to the field of migration studies—borders, citizenship and other forms of membership, the nation-state, forced migration, migration due to climate change and disasters. It also opens up for examination the prevailing political, cultural and economic narratives that both influence and are influenced by scholarship, policy and social action.  It is a time for serious scrutiny of the premises, categories and policies that have produced the current historical moment, and for imagining new approaches to understanding human mobility (and immobility).

Key Research Themes

The concept of mobility is at the core of the Zolberg Institute’s work. An understanding of mobility is advanced by the collaborative interdisciplinary scholarship produced at The New School. As the first migration center in the world with a mobility focus, we are uniquely positioned to help students imagine new ways to understand and facilitate human movement.

Refugees and Forced Migration
We collaborate with leading research institutions and organizations around the globe on publications and policy interventions relating to refugees. We offer funded fellowships for students to engage with refugee policy with the International Rescue Committee. We also manage Forced Migration Forum, a scholarly blog devoted to refugee and forced migration policy analysis.

Climate Induced Migration
Climate change, disasters, and development are drivers of migration and continue to grow in importance. We collaborate across The New School community, including with Parsons School of Design and Milano School of Public Engagement, to contribute new ideas and debate on climate’s role in migration.

NYC and Beyond
Our city has been described as “everyone’s second home.” The New York City population is now more than one-third foreign born; dozens of immigrant communities inhabit the metropolitan area. We work with the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs and other organizations to identify internships for Student Fellows. We also support students undertaking “embedded research” on migration and mobility with immigrant communities.

Changing the Narrative
The Statue of Liberty has symbolized the nation’s immigration narrative for a century. Today that narrative is under threat, at home and abroad. Leaders in many nations are increasing border restrictions, denying safe haven to refugees, and building walls. The Institute sponsors research and discussions to examine narratives of hospitality, facilitation of choice (to leave and to remain), and multi-directional migration. We connect the strengths of the University in this effort—analysis of global trends, critical thinking about borders and membership, creative engagements that engender re-visioning, and representations through data visualization and the arts.
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