The Critical Issues in International Refugee Law Research Workshop is an initiative under the direction of James C. Simeon, Assistant Professor, School of Public Policy and Administration, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, and Centre for Refugee Studies Scholar, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Critical Issues in International Refugee Law Research Workshop is part of the “Refugee Law” Research Clusters of the Refugee Research Network (RRN), www.refugeeresearch.net/taxonomy/term/1. It seeks to bring together distinguished Superior and High court judges, legal scholars, leading academics as well as senior governmental and international organizations officials, specifically from the UNHCR, but also other UN agencies, and other interested parties, to consider a limited number of critical issues in international refugee law. These “senior expert meetings” are held on a periodic basis, approximately, about once every two years. The meetings are organized in a closed two-day research workshop format, under Chatham House rules, where the invited expert participants examine in depth no more than four key issues and concerns confronting international refugee law. The goals and objectives of the Critical Issues in International Refugee Law Research Workshop are not only to explore and to clarify, from a variety of perspectives, a number of critical issues in international refugee law but also to identify key points or areas that require further development and research. The principal or overarching aim of these Research Workshops is try to advance international protection for all those who are seeking refuge from persecution and the vile degradation of their human dignity.
Two highly successful Critical Issues in International Refugee Law Research Workshops have been held thus far, May 1-2, 2008, and April 26-27, 2011, at York University. For further information on these Research Workshops please see the following websites, www.yorku.ca/ciirl and www.yorku.ca/ciirl/2008. In addition to our highly informative websites, that includes valuable background materials for each of the Research Workshops and a Resources page, that contain links to well over 600 relevant websites in the field of international refugee law, we have also published a number of articles and an edited collected volume with Cambridge University Press, titled, Critical Issues in International Refugee Law: Strategies Towards Interpretative Harmony, www.cambridge.org/asia/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780521199520. A second edited collected volume will be published in the near future.
The Critical Issues in International Refugee Law Research Workshop initiative has been supported by a wide number of sponsors such as governmental and international organizations, private foundations, and, of course, York University. We are very grateful and appreciative of the financial support that we have received from all of our many sponsors.