Activities of GRM


GRM International Conference "The Reality of Women Refugees"

International Conference


The Reality of Women Refugees
Perspective from Africa, Europe and Middle East


Date: 18 January (Thu.), 2018 
Time: 13:00-18:10
Venue: SK119, Shikokan, IMADEGAWA (Karasuma) Campus, Doshisha University

13:00-13:10  Reception
13:10-13:30   Introduction 
    Masanori Naito
    Professor, Graduate School of Global Studies
13:35-14:35   Presentation / Q&A session I
    Denise Garcia Bergt
    Co-founder/Journalist/Political Activist, IWS Berlin
14:45-15:45   Presentation / Q&A session II
    Ako Muto
    Senior Research Fellow, JICA Research Institute
15:55-16:55   Presentation / Q&A session III
    Chigumi Kawaguchi
    Research Fellow, JICA Research Institute
17:00-18:00   Discussion
18:00-18:10   Closing Remarks

Hiromi Masaki (Master student, Doshisha University)
Asuka Umemoto (PhD student, Doshisha University)
Dr. Iyas Salim (Organization for Advanced Research and Education, Doshisha University)


Asuka Umemoto
(Graduate School of Global Studies, D1 / GRM Student)

On 18th of January 2018, GRM International Symposium titled ‘The Reality of Women Refugees – Perspective from Africa, Europe and Middle East –‘ was held at Shikokan, Karasuma campus of Doshisha University. We invited 3 guest speakers for this symposium. Ms. Denise Garcia Bergt from IWS Berlin, Ms. Ako Muto and Ms. Chigumi Kawaguchi from JICA Research Institute. As indicated in the title of the symposium, it was mainly focused on women refugees. Since so-called ‘Refugee Crisis’ hit Europe, we are hearing the news about refugees, but mostly it’s been focused on their dangerous voyage to Europe and the media didn’t cover about their lives after dangerous voyage. Besides, when it comes to about women’s situation, their voices are often not heard and covered. Therefore, our main purpose for this symposium was to know the current situation which women refuges are facing all over the world.

In the introduction, explanation to basic background of current refugee issues was given by Prof. Masanori Naito of Doshisha University. After the introduction, presentations, Q&A sessions and discussion followed. First presentation was given by Ms. Bergt. She’s been working as a journalist and political activist. In her presentation, she showed us photos of refugee camps which were new for us and at the same time it was shocking. Personally, it was rather shocking to know that there’s no safe space for women in camps. Second presentation was given by Ms. Muto. She is a senior research fellow of JICA Research Institute. She has experiences of working for refugees in Middle East. In her presentation, she introduced us the definition of ‘refugees’ and the activity of JICA. Last presentation was given by Ms. Kawaguchi. She is a research fellow of JICA Research Institute. In her presentation, she explained to us about gender-based violence as well as the situation of women in her research area.

As for discussion, we suggested several topics for discussion thema based on the given presentations.

1) How to re-define the definition of ‘refugees’?
2) What is a safe space for women?
3) In order to create a safe space for women, what is required for?
4) Which actor can provide the most efficient supports for refugees?
5) Japan is known for its extremely low rate of recognition of refugee status. With this harsh situation, what Japanese government and society should do?

Not only guest speakers, but also some students joined the discussion. Therefore, we could exchange opinions from each perspective. As for conclusion, the symposium was quite fruitful for us and we’d like to continue to hold symposium like this in the future.