More than one million refugees arrived in Europe last year. Alexander Betts, an Oxford University professor and foremost expert on immigration and refugees, thinks that the West has some room for improvement in its reception, and perception, of those million people.
As the director of the world’s leading refugee research institution, the Oxford Refugee Studies Center, Betts believes that immigration will become a defining trend of the 21st century. Why is that? Because more states are becoming increasingly fragile, with weak governance, and because humans are now far more mobile than they have been at any previous point in history.
The challenge to host countries is in framing the proper response. In his recent TED talk, Betts argues that, “Rather than seeing refugees as inevitably dependent upon humanitarian assistance, we need to provide them with opportunities for human flourishing.” In other words, to view them as an economic resource rather than a drain. When provided with the right to work and freedom of movement, some refugees will seize the opportunity to become fantastically productive. Betts cites figures from Kampala, Uganda, where 21% of refugees own businesses, and 40% of their employees are native Ugandans.
Named to the Thinkers50 2017 Radar list of up-and-coming thinkers, Betts also studies innovation in the humanitarian realm. To learn more about how he can help your organization find productivity in unexpected resources, contact us.