Research Initiatives

Research Initiatives

Mobility, Displacement, and Forced Migration in the Middle East

Migration on a global scale is an everyday practice. The term itself is used to describe patterns of human mobility that occur internally within a state or region, as well as those taking place internationally and trans-continentally. Migration can be applied to the process of people moving as a result of their own agency, voluntarily and as a choice. It can also be used to describe the process of having to move under duress, and this includes the categories of forced migrants, internally displaced persons, refugees, and asylum seekers.This project recognizes regional migration as a complex, widespread, and persistent phenomenon in the Middle East, and a topic best studied from a multidisciplinary approach. It broadens our understanding of the complex population movements that are seen in the Middle East, and includes the movements of those who may be identified in multiple different ways—migrants, migrant workers, guest workers, temporary migrants, low and highly skilled economic migrants, trafficked persons, forced migrants/forced workers, smuggled persons, refugees, and asylum seekers. Also included will be  other migrants such as unaccompanied minors, environmental refugees, and stranded migrants.

CIRS awarded five research grants to scholars and researchers interested in the study of “Mobility, Displacement, and Forced Migration in the Middle East”. Our goal is to support in-depth, empirically-based examinations of mobility and displacement within the Middle East, and to gain a fuller understanding of the forms, causes, dimensions, patterns, and effects of migration, both voluntary and forced. CIRS funded empirically-based, original research projects to fill in the existing gap in the literature. Through CIRS-sponsored research meetings, we create a scholarly forum where CIRS grant recipients share their research findings with other academics, policymakers, and practitioners.


The Middle East is currently facing one of its most critical migration challenges, and the region has become the simultaneous producer and host to the world’s largest population of displaced people. Exploring the conditions, causes, and consequences of on-going population displacements in this part of the world is key to better understanding some of the profound social and political changes currently underway in the region.

Click here to read more about another related CIRS research initiative, "Migrant Labor in the Gulf."

MobilityZahra Babar, ed., Mobility and Forced Displacement in the Middle East (Hurst, 2019).

*** This Funding Cycle is Now Closed.


The Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) at the Georgetown University School ‎of Foreign Service in Qatar invites proposals from scholars and researchers interested in ‎conducting original research on the topic of “Mobility, Displacement and Forced Migration in the Middle East.”‎

  • Click here to read about Mobility, Displacement, and Forced Migration in the Middle East Working Group I
  • Click here to read about Mobility, Displacement, and Forced Migration in the Middle East Working Group II

As part of its Research and Scholarship initiatives, CIRS organizes several ongoing Working Groups that convene in Doha to examine a variety of international issues. The primary purpose of CIRS research initiatives is to fill in existing research gaps, and to contribute towards furthering knowledge on the prevailing issues related to security, economic stability, and the political realm of the region. Each of these projects involves some of the most prominent scholars of the Middle East and the Gulf region. Each scholar participating will be working on a specific sub-topic, under the overarching subject.

Mobility, Displacement, and Forced Migration in the Middle East Working Group I