Global Migration Centre
22 January 2021

Global Migration Award 2020

We are pleased to announce the ex-aequo laureates of the Global Migration Award.

Silvan Oberholzer ( (Masters in Development Studies) and Yaël Parrotta (Masters in International Affairs ) ) win the Global Migration Award. The authors convinced the Jury with their excellent research, both of which will be published in the Global Migration Research Paper Series.

Silvan Oberholzer (2020 Masters in Development Studies)



Education as Humanitarian Response:
Access to Compulsory Education for Venezuelan Migrant and Refugee Children in Barranquilla

Building on Education in Emergencies (EiE), Education as a Humanitarian Response (EHR), and the human rights-based approach to education, this dissertation analyzes the experiences, challenges, and opportunities concerning access to compulsory education for Venezuelan migrant and refugee children in Barranquilla. By shedding light on the educational humanitarian response in Barranquilla, it draws lessons on access to education for humanitarian responses in large-scale migration settings. The research applies grounded theory to analyze 35 semi-structured interviews with 44 individuals and observation conducted in Barranquilla. It identifies six challenges and four opportunities in Barranquilla, and four implications for humanitarian responses concerning access to education for migrant and refugee children. Thereby, this study contributes to a better understanding of factors that impact access to compulsory schooling with a special focus on the various coordination agencies (governmental institutions, humanitarian actors) and the institutional (public schools, incl. administration and teachers) as well as the individual level (migrants and refugees).

The full text will be available in the Global Migration paper Series

Silvan Oberholzer is currenty working as a research associate at the University of Applied Sciences in Business Administration Zurich (HWZ) where he conducts research on the intersection of business and society. This position allows him to follow his passion in conducting interdisciplinary research while focusing on the role of different actors in taking responsibility to achieve sustainable development. His international experience and education acquired at the Graduate Institute helped him see the big picture and especially take into account the most vulnerable persons in our society. He is also involved in assisting the teaching of research methods which allows him to share his passion for research with students.

Yaël Parrotta (2020 MasterS in International Affairs)



Redefining Humanitarianism in the Making: Grassroots/Volunteer Organizations in Samos (Greece)

The “European Refugee Crisis” witnessed European states adopting specific policies aimed to securitize and externalize the bordering of migration. One of their main consequences resulted in the creation of “hotspots” where living conditions and rights of “people on the move” quickly started to deteriorate. As a result, civilian movements, and later on grassroots/volunteer organizations which are the focus of this paper, stepped in the humanitarian void left by states and traditional actors and soon reshaped the way humanitarianism was understood and practiced. Drawing on the work done in the field of critical humanitarian studies and building on interviews and active participation during six weeks of fieldwork, this paper argues that looking at the humanitarian practices of such organizations in the specific context of the Samos hotspot (Greece), allows to go beyond some of the structural and underlying flaws of traditional humanitarianism and to redefine it. 

The full text will be available in the Global Migration paper Series

Yaël Parrotta graduated in September 2020 with a Master degree in International Affairs from the Graduate Institute in Geneva. During her studies, she mainly did research on conflict transformation, humanitarian practices and migration issues. She is currently working as an academic intern at the Humanitarian Diplomacy Section at the FDFA. She is particularly interested in issues related to humanitarian or peacebuilding policies both relevant in migratory or protracted conflict contexts


The next call for papers will take place in October 2021.