Conference: Migration in Focus: Addressing Informational Challenges in Humanitarian Actions

The MIRROR Consortium is pleased to announce its latest event which will be taking place on the 15-16th of December, 2021, in the historic Fort St. Elmo in Malta. The conference will be hosted in a hybrid format enabling both physical and online attendance thus increasing the opportunity for wider participation from all over the world.

The Migration in Focus conference, organized under the umbrella of the EU-funded project MIRROR (Migration-Related Risks Caused by Misconceptions of Opportunities and Requirement), seeks to act as an interactive platform fostering debate on the most challenging and novel issues in the field of migration. The main focus of the conference is identifying novel ways to fill in “informational gaps” in formulating and deploying policies and humanitarian responses targeting migrants. As such the organizers are seeking contributions aimed at identifying good practices and tools that have positively contributed to enhancing knowledge in this field as well as studies on existing gaps and persistent challenges.

Important information about travel to Malta:

Please note that the physical event in Malta is limited to 50 participants due to current COVID-19 restrictions. 

For the most up to date information about travelling to Malta, please visit the official website of the Government of Malta here.

All passengers travelling to Malta are required by the Superintendence of Public Health for Malta to complete a digital Passenger Locator Form. Please visit this site for more information.

About the venue: Fort St. Elmo in Malta

The MIRROR conference will be held as a hybrid event, providing two opportunities for participation: in person in Malta at the historic Fort St. Elmo or  virtually.

Fort St. Elmo (Maltese: Forti Sant’Iermu) is a star-shaped fort in Valletta, the capital of Malta, and holds a special place in the history of the country. Initially constructed as one of the key defence points due to its strategic position on the tip of the Sciberras Peninsula.  This dominating position now offers unobstructed panoramic views of the harbours and the surrounding towns and villages. 

Please note that the physical event in Malta is limited to 50 participants due to current COVID-19 restrictions. 

For the most up to date information about travelling to Malta, please visit the official website of the Government of Malta here.

All passengers travelling to Malta are required by the Superintendence of Public Health for Malta to complete a digital Passenger Locator Form. Please visit this site for more information.

After the conference, a reception dinner will be served at the restaurant MUŻA. To adhere to local regulations and assure the safety and comfort of our guests, the dinner will be seated.

Photo courtesy of Fort St. Elmo

Fort St. Elmo Address

Fort St. Elmo – Conference Hall 

WG29+WG6, Valletta VLT, Malta

The venue is wheelchair accessible.

Parking Space – Street parking or parking inside the facility at an extra cost.

The 2-day hybrid event has an interactive structure comprising several panels, roundtables and technology demonstrations and will bring together among stakeholders from the academic world, policy-makers, civil society and international organisations working in the field of migration.

Please find more details about the event in the agenda below:

Day 1 – Wednesday, 15th December 2021

08:30 – 09:30

Welcome coffee & Registration

09:30 – 10:00

Welcome and introductory remarks

University of Malta MIRROR Project Coordinator
10:00 – 10:30

Reversing the gaze: information flows, migration and humanitarian responses

Giorgia Doná (Centre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging, University of East London, UK)
10:30 – 10:40


10:40 – 11:25

Panel (1) – Information Flows in the field of migration Moderator: Joe Cannataci

“Talking the talk, but not walking the walk: Human Trafficking, Information Flows and Migration” – Tanita Cotarcea (IOM Romania) “Information as Aid: The Red Cross and Red Crescent Work with Migrants” – Ezekiel Simperingham (Global Lead, Migration and Displacement, IFRC) “Predicting migration flows in the EU. The ITFLOWS project” – Cristina Blasi Casagran (Universidad Autonoma de Barcelona)
11:25 – 11:35

Coffee break

11:35 – 12:20

Panel (2) – Information campaigns: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Moderator: Aitana Radu

“Mismatches between expectation and reality, and the use of information campaigns” – Sara Carrasco Granger (Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Spain), Karen Latricia Hough (Centric, Sheffield Hallam University, UK) and Kahina Le Louvier (Northumbria University at Newcastle, UK) “Information campaigns in Twitter”Elisa Leonardelli (Fondazione Bruno Kessler, Italy) “Information networks and the role of bots” – Sara Miccoli, Cecilia Fortunato (Università La Sapienza, Italy)
12:20 – 12:30

Q& A

12:30 – 13:30

Networking lunch

13:30 – 14:20

Panel (3) – Field research migration Moderator: Katja Prinz

“Mobile media usage in Europe’s waiting room – Information, communication and the role of smartphones for refugees and migrants in Bosnia and Hercegovina” –  Kathrin Braun (Fremde werden Freunde, Austria) “Filling information gaps on population movements during humanitarian crises – the role of technologies during the response to Idai cyclone and the Cabo Delgado conflict in Mozambique”Valeria Fabbroni, Roberta Pellizzoli (Helpcode, Italy) “Norm compliance and lying patterns among refugees”Andreas Nicklisch (Center for Economic Policy Research, Switzerland)
14:20 – 15:10

Panel (4) – Societal acceptance of technology and Policy options in the field of migration Moderator: Kathrin Braun

“Factors Influencing Societal Acceptance of the technologies for inter-media analysis – the case of the MIRROR Platform” – Daniele Mezzana, Luciano D’Andrea (K&I, Italy) “Practitioners’ recommendations and suggestions to mitigate challenges related to migration”Maria Yordanova (Center for the Study of Democracy, Bulgaria) “Different kind of policy interventions – engaging with lived, complex, expressive realities of migrants’ lives” – Sergei Shubin (Centre for Migration Policy Research Swansea University, UK), Fiona-Katharina Seiger (Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands), Melina Breitegger (SYNYO, Austria)
15:10 – 15:20

Q & A

15:20 – 16:20

Technologies in the field of migration: Demonstration of the MIRROR Platform

Vasilis Mezaris (CERTH, Greece) Gerhard Backfried (HENDSOLDT Analytics, Austria) Erick Elejalde (L3S, Germany) Francesco Gallo (EURIX, Italy)
16:20 – 16:30

Coffee break

16:30 – 16:50

Feedback Session and Sum up

17:00 – 19:30

Guided Tour of Valletta & Visit to MUZA


Dinner at MUZA Restaurant

Day 2 – Thursday, 16th December 2021

08:30 – 09:30

Welcome coffee & Registration

09:30 – 09:40

Introductory remarks

09:40 – 10:30

Panel (5) – Protection of human rights and migration Moderator: Ina Pervan-Al Soqauer

“Human rights and border security technologies” – Jeanne Mifsud Bonnici, Jonida Milaj-Weishaar (University of Groningen, The Netherlands) “Data-driven policy in forced migration”Ana Enache (UNHCR Romania) “From Field to Advocacy, the use of OSINT & verification techniques on the move”Phevos Simeonidis (Border Violence Monitoring, Germany) “Recommendations and insights of practitioners’ practice”Patricia Bueso Izquierdo, José M. González Riera (Euro-Arab Foundation for Higher Studies, Granada, Spain)
10:30 – 10:40


10:40 – 11:00

Coffee break

11:00 – 12:00

Roundtable – Use of open-source information for humanitarian action

Contributions from Italy, Greece, Romania, Austria, Belarus
12:00 – 12:30

Concluding remarks

12:30 – 13:30


Registrations are now closed.

If you would like to attend our conference, please submit the registration form below. We will be in touch with you soon with more details about the event.

Please note that the physical event in Malta is limited to 50 participants due to current COVID-19 restrictions. 

For the most up to date information about travelling to Malta, please visit the official website of the Government of Malta here.

All passengers travelling to Malta are required by the Superintendence of Public Health for Malta to complete a digital Passenger Locator Form. Please visit this site for more information.

Our Speakers

Keynote speaker: Giorgia Doná

Giorgia Doná is Professor of Forced Migration and co-director of the Centre for Migration, Refugees and Belonging at the University of East London in the United Kingdom. For more than three decades she has worked as a researcher and humanitarian worker with displaced populations and refugees in Central and North America, Eastern Africa, and Europe. Her areas of expertise are conflicts and refugee movements; migration, borders, and digital innovations; child and youth mobilities; psycho-social humanitarian interventions; and refugee voices and representation. Recent publications include Forced Migration: Current Issues and Debates (2019, with Bloch); The Marginalised in Genocide Narratives (2019); and Child and Youth Migration: Mobility-in-Migration in an Era of Globalisation (2014, with Veale). Giorgia sits on the Board of Directors of the Barbara Harrell-Bond Foundation and is member of the Independent Advisory Group on Country-of-Origin Information, the Office of the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration in the UK.

Karen Latricia Hough

Dr. Karen Latricia Hough is specialised in Refugee Studies and received many important awards for her research including the Vice Chancellorships’ Award and the Bagby Award at the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on the development of Asylum and Immigration policy. She is currently a research fellow at the Centre of Excellence in Terrorism, Resilience, Intelligence and Organised Crime Research (CENTRIC), Sheffield Hallam University, UK, working on two H2020- funded EU projects, ICT Enabled Public Services for Migration (MIICT) and Perceptions.

Elisa Leonardelli

Dr. Elisa Leonardelli is a research fellow in Digital Humanities at the Fondazione Bruno Kessler (Italy). She is an expert in investigating large amounts of textual data using techniques of artificial intelligence. Her research spans from abusive language and sentiment analysis to networks analysis. She particularly enjoys working with big data from social media and is currently involved in the PERCEPTIONS project. She holds a Biomedical Engineer degree and a PhD in Cognitive Science.

Kathrin Braun

Kathrin Braun

Kathrin Braun works as Researcher and Project Manager at Fremde werden Freunde. In her work, she focuses on political participation of refugees, communication patterns of refugees of migrants and migration and integration policy. Kathrin has a background in International Development Studies and Communication Studies.

Valeria Fabbroni

Valeria is an Architect by trade and mistake, with 25 years of experience with NGOs in designing, managing and supervising Humanitarian crisis and emergencies in more than 15 countries worldwide: Kosovo, Palestine, Iraq, Sudan, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Colombia, Philippines, Armenia, Libya, Yemen, India, and Pakistan amongst the others. She is Helpcode Programs Director.

Roberta Pellizzoli

Roberta has a PhD in Development and 15 years of experience as gender and social inclusion expert having worked in different capacities for bilateral donors, international development agencies, international NGOs, Universities, private sector actors, mostly in Southern Africa and the MENA region. For Helpcode, she is the Programs Manager for Mozambique and DRC.

Andreas Nicklisch

Andreas Nicklisch is a Professor for Economics and Statistics at the Center for Economic Policy Research at the University of Applied Sciences of the Grisons, Chur, Switzerland. He graduated in Economics at the University of Jena, Germany, in 2002 and received his Ph.D. in Economics from the Max Planck Institute of Economics, Jena, in 2005. The same year, he joined the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn, Germany, as a Research Affiliate. In 2010, he became Assistant Professor for Microeconomics at the School of Economics and Social Sciences of the University of Hamburg, Germany. Since 2016, he works at the Center for Economic Policy Research. Andreas Nicklisch is a behavioral and experimental economist. His latest work is focused on behavioral institutional designs that enhance the cohesion of cooperation within societies, and the effect migration has for social norms and values.

Maria Yordanova

Dr. Maria Yordanova joined the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD), Sofia, Bulgaria, in the late 1998 and has led the Center’s law drafting efforts aimed at approximation of Bulgarian legislation to acquis communautaire, and at promoting the EU standards in human rights protection. She has coordinated a number of projects in the area of human rights, justice, liberty and security, and has participated in studies on the rights of prisoners, the protection of victims of crime, the fight against organized crime and corruption, the possibilities for the introduction of information technology for case management in the judiciary and the development of indicators for measuring public confidence in criminal justice, for new instruments for judicial cooperation between EU Member States in criminal matters (European Arrest Warrant, European Investigation Order). Maria Yordanova has a number of publications in the fields of the outlined lasting research interests.

Melina Breitegger

Melina Breitegger (PhD) is a researcher and project manager at SYNYO, a Vienna-based research and innovation company. She is responsible for the development of the PERCEPTIONs platform and leads communication and dissemination activities in the EU-funded innovation actions MIICT and MICADO which develop ICT tools for migrants’ integration. Furthermore, she coordinates the Migration Ties project, which investigates transnational ties and milieu-affiliation of migrants living in Austria.

Ana Enache

Ana Enache is a Senior Protection Associate with UNHCR Romania, where she coordinates UNHCR advocacy on asylum procedure, integration and statelessness. Prior to joining UNHCR, she worked with grassroot organisations, other international organisations and as a consultant on issues of rule of law and international justice, particularly in the Western Balkans.

Phevos Simeonidis

Phevos Simeonidis is a researcher and human rights activist from Athens, Greece. He is an MA graduate from the Centre for Research Architecture and the Research & Investigations officer of Border Violence Monitoring Network, with his work focusing on the far/alt-right online, militarized border regimes, and human rights violations in the external borders of the EU.

Patricia Bueso Izquierdo

Patricia Bueso Izquierdo is a lawyer specializing in Human Rights, Migration and Gender Violence. She works as a Project Manager in the Euro-Arab Foundation.  She also has extensive experience of working in the Red Cross. Her research interests center on International Migration, Asylum and Forced Displacement. Her scientific work is focusing at present on people displaced by environmental causes.

José M. González Riera

José M. González Riera is Deputy Director and principal researcher of the Department of Research and Projects (Euro-Arab Foundation).  He is also Member of the Contemporary Arab Studies Research Group (University of Granada). He holds Master’s Degrees in Migration Law and Arab and Hebrew Cultures and Degrees in Arab Studies and Law. His expertise and fields of research encompass migration and human rights in Morocco.