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International Migration

Directed by Professor Michael W. Doyle and Mr. Gregory A. Maniatis, the Columbia Global Policy Initiative launched its project on International Migration in 2013. The project consists of two main areas of work: support for the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration, and a project to draft a Model Treaty on International Mobility.

The project has worked with Sir Peter Sutherland, the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration (SRSG) since 2013. Now in his 10th year, the SRSG is working to assess how international cooperation can improve the outcomes of migration for states and fully realize migrants' human rights. In a forthcoming report to the UN Secretary-General, the SRSG will define the most urgent areas for action by governments and other relevant stakeholders, focusing principally on institutional change and innovation. The Columbia Global Policy Initiative serves as the secretariat for this report and will host a consultation meeting for the report at Columbia University in spring 2016.

In 2015, the project also launched a new effort to draft a Model Treaty on International Mobility. The goal of the model treaty is to both reassert and reaffirm the existing rights afforded to mobile people and corresponding rights and responsibilities of states as well as to expand those basic rights where warranted to address the growing gaps in protection and responsibility that are leaving people vulnerable. With the assistance of a commission of high-level academic experts, the project will provide a model international legal and normative architecture that addresses the rights of all mobile people. The project will host a series of workshops with the commission of academic experts to draft and debate the model treaty with support from the Open Society Foundations–International Migration Initiative. 

Policy Goals

  • Formulate new rules for migration that can benefit migrants as well as states of origin, transit, and destination
  • Demonstrate that the liabilities and inefficiencies of migration can be curbed while its quality and outcomes can be significantly improved through improved policies
  • Contribute to a new normative and legal agenda on international mobility that further entrenches the rights of mobile people and addresses the gaps in current international legal regimes


  • Michael Doyle, Director, Columbia Global Policy Initiative
  • Gregory Maniatis, Co-Director, International Migration
  • Maggie Powers, Project Coordinator, International Migration

Support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and the Swiss Agency for Development & Cooperation

North America


University ProfessorDirector, Global Policy Initiative


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