Skip to main content


Institute for the Study of International Migration (ISIM)/The Exodus Institute Symposium on Internal Displacement


Venue: Georgetown University Conference Center, Washington DC

The event will be comprised of two parts. First, the morning session is a public symposium with presentations by academic experts and policy-makers who will assess the present system and challenges facing future work with IDPs. This is intended to set the stage for a more focused discussion in a smaller afternoon private meeting to strategize about how to carry forward the suggestions made in the meeting. These recommendations will be shared with the World Refugee Council for its consideration at a late June meeting.  


8.45 am Welcome and Opening Remarks:   Al Trenk, Exodus Institute and Katharine Donato, Director, Institute for the Study of International Migration 

9.00-10.30  Panel 1.  Taking Stock, Where We Are

Cecilia Jimenez, Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of IDPs: Overview and Implementation of the Guiding Principles.

Alexandra Bilak, Director, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre: What We Know, Don’t Know, and Should Know about IDPs. 

Phil Orchard,  Associate Professor, University of Wollongong, The impact of the Guiding Principles on the Development of National Laws and Policies. 

Hansjoerg Strohmeyer, Director of Policy, Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:  The Challenge of Reducing the Number of IDPs in the World.  

Devota Nuwe, World Refugee Council, Internal Displacement:  Lessons from Uganda.

Strategy Session – Policy Solutions and Recommendations

This off-the-record meeting will consider ways of advancing the issue of IDPs and then crafting policy recommendations to feed into current consultations of the World Refugee Council and other global initiatives, including the GP20 Action Plan developed under the auspices of the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of IDPs. These discussions will form the basis for a strategic action plan to be carried forward by various stakeholders.

In this meeting various ways of reviving attention to IDPs will be considered. These may include: 1) supporting governments to protect and assist people displaced within their own countries and holding them accountable for their actions; 2) ensuring access by humanitarian actors to IDPs; and 3) putting IDPs back on the international agenda by considering proposals to create a new high-level position at the UN, convene a global summit on IDPs, and/or to convene a High-Level Panel on IDPs.  Policy recommendations will be crafted to feed into current discussions on internal displacement and to feed into the work of the World Refugee Council. We will also discuss and develop a specific set of action steps to respond to the pressing needs of IDPs.