I learned a lot at the second International Forum on Migration Statistics (IFMS) in Cairo

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Last week I had the pleasure to participate in the second International Forum on Migration Statistics (IFMS) in Cairo. The conference, which took place from January 19 to 21, had been organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA). It, furthermore, received support of the African Union and the Egyptian government. The event was both informative and inspiring. It has been a personal pleasure to make many new acquaintances, but also to meet again dear colleagues and friends.

The conference was highly interesting and, among many other things, offered insights into the specific challenges migration statistics and migration researchers, in general, are faced with in different African countries.

A main topic of the conference was the use of new technologies and data sources in migration research. In this context, Michele Vespe (European Commission, Joint Research Centre) organized the session Data innovation for the analysis of international migration and mobility. The panel included Amparo Gonzalez (Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)), Ettore Recchi (Science Po & MPC EUI), Diana Ihring (IMPACT), Marzia Rango (IOM), and me. It was a very interesting session with a great turnout, followed by stimulating discussions with the audience. I used the occasion to present the work on Facebook Sampling I have realized together with Michael Braun. Specifically, I showed that Facebook – when perceived as a survey tool – has to offer the scientific community much more than “just” big data. The slides of this presentation are available on the conference website (subsection “Data innovation for the analysis of international migration and mobility”). Michele Vespe wrote an excellent summary of the panel (pdf version). Below you can find some pictures of the event. I thank Michele and colleagues for allowing me to include them here.

I also had the honor to chair the session Old Definitions New Approaches: Migration and Big Data, organized by Tuba Bircan. This session’s contributions centered – as the title suggests – very much around the intersection of the sometimes challenging task of defining our research subject and the use of new technologies to gather data on it. The panelists included: Tuba Bircan (Free University of Brussels), Jisu Kim (Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa), Marta Gomez Gimenez (GMV, Spain) Carlos Edmundo Arcila (University of Salamanca, Spain), and Rose Evra (Statistics Canada).

© European Union
© European Union
© European Union