Ideas to Action: A Conversation with the Zolberg Institute and IRC president David Miliband


The New School

Wollman Hall 65 West 11th Street, New York, NY 10003

New York, NY, US, 10003

Ideas to Action: a conversation with the Zolberg Institute and IRC president David Miliband  

October 4th, 2018 | 7:00pm – 9:30pm

The New School

RSVP Required

Over 80 years ago, The New School opened its doors to leading scholars threatened by the rise of Nazism in Germany. Working with the forebears of today’s International Rescue Committee, men and women of conscience took action to support refugees. Today the world is again facing an enormous crisis. Over 68 million people are displaced— more than at any time since World World II.

In 2016, the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at The New School entered into an innovative partnership with the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Through this partnership, students and faculty work with IRC field offices to apply the latest advances in social sciences and design to tackle the world’s biggest humanitarian problems.

On October 4th, we invite you to join a wide-ranging conversation on global humanitarian challenges, the role of academies and social institutions in enabling humanitarian action, and how members of The New School community can get involved in supporting refugees and displaced people.


  • Alex Aleinikoff, Director of the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility, will introduce the Zolberg Institute, the long history of humanitarian thinking at The New School, and the fellowships offered to scholars from master’s and doctoral programs across The New School.

  • Zolberg – IRC Fellows will present their work with the IRC to develop new solutions for challenges facing refugees (including violence prevention, health, education and resettlement).

  • David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee, will speak on current humanitarian crises and ways the international community can improve response — followed by live audience discussion and Q/A. This conversation will be recorded for Displaced, a new podcast from IRC and Vox Media.

This event is presented by The Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility. The Zolberg-IRC partnership is generously supported by the Arnhold Foundation.

About Rt Hon David Miliband

David Miliband is the President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee. He oversees the agency’s relief and development operations in over 30 countries, its refugee resettlement and assistance programs throughout the United States and the IRC’s advocacy efforts in Washington and other capitals on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable people.

Miliband had a distinguished political career in the United Kingdom over 15 years. From 2007 to 2010, he served as the youngest Foreign Secretary in three decades, driving advancements in human rights and representing the United Kingdom throughout the world. As Secretary of State for the Environment in 2005/6 he pioneered the world’s first legally binding emissions reduction requirements. His accomplishments have earned him a reputation, in former President Bill Clinton’s words, as “one of the ablest, most creative public servants of our time”.

Miliband’s parents were refugees from Belgium and Poland to the UK in the 1940s. As the son of refugees, he brings a personal commitment to the IRC’s work. Miliband’s first book, Rescue: Refugees and the Political Crisis of our Time, was published by TED Books in November 2017.

About Alex Aleinikoff

Alex Aleinikoff is University Professor, and has served as Director of the Zolberg Institute since January 2017. He received a J.D. from the Yale Law School and a B.A. from Swarthmore College.

Alex has written widely in the areas of immigration and refugee law and policy, transnational law, citizenship, race, and constitutional law. He is currently at work on a book tentatively titled, The Arc of Protection: Reforming the International Refugee Regime. His book Semblances of Sovereignty: The Constitution, the State, and American Citizenship was published by Harvard University Press in 2002. Alex is a co-author of leading legal casebooks on immigration law and forced migration.

Before coming to The New School, Alex served as United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees (2010-15) and was a professor at Georgetown University Law Center, where he also served as dean and Executive Vice President of Georgetown University. He was co-chair of the Immigration Task Force for President Barack Obama’s transition team in 2008. From 1994 to 1997, he served as the general counsel, and then executive associate commissioner for programs, at the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

Alex was inducted into the American Academy of Arts of Sciences in 2014.

Learn more: 

  • Apply to become a Zolberg-IRC fellow — fellows will embed with interdisciplinary working teams at the IRC, conduct field work to bring ideas to action, and receive annual stipends of up to $25,000.