• Kick off

Summer school 2024: Central and Eastern European Migration and Asylum Policies: Understanding  Temporary Protection, Shaping Perceptions, and Fostering Inclusivity


Policy dialogue: Migration Matters: From Crisis Management to Sustainable Solutions

In June 2024, the Acronym Project successfully organised its second policy dialogue, titled “Migration Matters: From Crisis Management to Sustainable Solutions”. This insightful event, moderated by Katarína Cséfalvayová from the Institute for Central Europe, brought together policy representatives to discuss pressing issues related to migration and asylum.

The first part of the policy dialogue featured Paula Puškárová, Member of the Slovak National Council under political party Hlas, alongside Zuzana Števulová, Member of the Slovak National Council under political party Progresívne Slovensko. In the second part, an insightful interview was conducted with Eduard Heger, the former Prime Minister of Slovakia.

The policy dialogue began by addressing the role of research and science-based evidence in public debate, particularly its conspicuous absence in public debates on migration and asylum, in contrast with some other policy areas such as climate governance. Both guests emphasised the importance of integrating research findings into migration policy discussions. They noted that migration debates are often driven by emotional narratives and political agendas, rather than factual evidence. Fostering a culture of evidence-based policy making in migration requires concerted and continuous efforts to educate politicians and the public about the migration and asylum. There is a strong need for collaboration between researchers and policymakers to ensure that scientific findings are accessible and applicable to real-world scenarios.

Drawing from their extensive experience in migration governance, both guests shared insights on how perceptions of migration are formed within the population. They agreed that media portrayal and political rhetoric significantly influence public opinion, often leading to spread of disinformation and misinformation. Personal experience and positive storytelling, showcasing successful integration stories and explaining policies regarding the migration and asylum in Slovakia and elsewhere in Europe can bring the change of the narrative around migration.

The dialogue also explored the relevance of integration policies in countries with relatively small immigrant populations, such as the Slovak Republic and the broader Central and Eastern European region. Both Paula Puškárová and Zuzana Števulová affirmed the necessity of having advanced migration, asylum as well as integration policies regardless of the size of the immigrant population. Proactive integration policies are crucial for social cohesion and can prevent future societal tensions. Policies should be tailored to the specific context of each country, but must include access to education, employment opportunities, and social services to ensure that migrants can contribute meaningfully to their new communities.

Following the initial discussions of the policy dialogue, the second part featured a conversation with the former Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic, Eduard Heger. The Prime Minister recounted his experience dealing with migration flows mainly from Ukraine during his tenure. He highlighted the complexities and multifaceted nature of migration, explaining how not only economic, social, and political factors intersect to influence policy decisions, but also social pressure from different stakeholders, international partners and the general public. He stressed the challenges of navigating public opinion and media narratives.

Furthermore, he emphasised the need for collaborative efforts between countries to manage migration flows and support refugees. Echoing earlier discussions, the former Prime Minister also underscored the importance of evidence-based policy making. He advocated for the integration of research and data into the development and implementation of migration and asylum policies in Slovakia.

The policy dialogue highlighted the urgent need for a shift towards evidence-based migration and asylum policies and the importance of addressing public perceptions and integration challenges. By bringing together policymakers, researchers, and community leaders, the Acronym Project continues to foster meaningful discussions that pave the way for sustainable solutions in migration governance. The insights from all guests, Paula Puškárová, Zuzana Števulová and Eduard Heger, underscore the need for courteous dialogue in the public space in order to bring informed and compassionate approaches to migration policy in the Slovak Republic and beyond.








ACRONYM Team Hosts Roundtable Discussion at ISA 2024 Annual Convention


We are thrilled to share exciting news from the ACRONYM project team! On April 4th, 2024, our team had the honour of organising a thought-provoking roundtable discussion at the prestigious ISA 2024 Annual Convention held in San Francisco. Titled “Contrasted Perceptions of Migration: Insights from Opinion Research Across Europe,” the discussion delved into the diverse perspectives on migration across European societies.

The roundtable brought together leading experts, researchers, and scholars in the field of migration studies to explore the nuanced and contrasting views held by various segments of society. With migration continuing to shape social, political, and economic landscapes globally, understanding these perceptions is crucial for informed policymaking and effective interventions.

During the discussion led by Anneliese Depoux (UP), our esteemed panellists presented insights gleaned from opinion research conducted across Europe, ranging from the attitudes of Slovak priests towards migrants (Katarína Cséfalvayová, ICE), to perception of integration by Ukrainian refugees (Helene Thiollet & Filio Savatic, Sciences Po Paris) and public perceptions of the climate-migration nexus (François Gemenne, ULiege). These findings shed light on the multifaceted nature of migration attitudes, revealing a spectrum of viewpoints ranging from acceptance and support to scepticism and opposition. By examining the factors influencing these perceptions, including socio-economic factors, cultural dynamics, and political contexts, our panellists provided valuable insights into the complexities of migration discourse.

One of the key themes that emerged from the discussion was the importance of challenging prevailing narratives and stereotypes surrounding migration. By engaging in evidence-based dialogue and promoting empathy and understanding, we can foster more inclusive and compassionate societies that embrace diversity and celebrate the contributions of migrants.

The roundtable discussion at the ISA 2024 Annual Convention underscored the ACRONYM project’s commitment to advancing knowledge and promoting dialogue on critical issues related to migration. As we continue our research and outreach efforts, we remain dedicated to fostering constructive conversations and driving positive change in migration policy and practice.

We extend our sincere gratitude to all the participants, attendees, and organisers who contributed to the success of the roundtable discussion. Together, we are shaping a more informed and empathetic approach to migration that reflects the richness and diversity of human experiences.

Stay tuned for more updates and insights from the ACRONYM project as we continue our journey towards building a more inclusive and equitable world.





A rotating chair in Migration and Asylum studies  




Second annual conference on asylum and migration




ACRONYM Project Hosts Side-Event at COP28 Conference: Examining Climate-Induced Migration Patterns in European Cities


We are thrilled to share exciting news from the ACRONYM project team! On December 8th, 2023, our team had the honour of hosting a compelling side-event at the COP28 conference in Dubai, focusing on the critical intersection of climate change and migration in European cities. Titled “How Climate Change Will Affect Migration Patterns to and from European Cities: Highlights from the ACRONYM Project,” the panel discussion delved into the profound implications of climate-induced migration for urban demographics and policy-making.

European cities are already grappling with the impacts of climate change, from heatwaves and floods to other extreme events. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some residents are considering migration away from cities in response to these climate impacts. For instance, a recent FNH/Odoxa poll in France revealed that 4 out of 10 respondents have contemplated relocating due to climate-related concerns.

At the same time, European cities continue to receive significant influxes of migrants, with an increasing number originating from countries highly vulnerable to climate impacts in the global South. This side-event provided a platform to explore how demographic patterns in European cities are likely to shift as a result of climate-induced migration.

During the panel discussion, experts and researchers from the ACRONYM project presented insights and findings from their research. They highlighted the complex dynamics of climate-induced migration, shedding light on how these migration flows differ from other forms of migration. Importantly, the event underscored the need for nuanced approaches to migration and asylum policy-making in response to climate-induced migration.

The discussion also emphasised the importance of addressing the underlying drivers of climate-induced migration, including adaptation and mitigation efforts to build resilience and reduce vulnerabilities. By understanding the unique challenges and opportunities presented by climate-induced migration, policymakers can develop more effective strategies to support affected communities and ensure inclusive urban development.

The ACRONYM project team is committed to advancing knowledge and promoting dialogue across Europe and beyond on diverse aspects of migration, including climate-induced migration, which is likely to become one of the main factors of population displacement in the coming years. We extend our gratitude to all the participants, attendees, and organisers who contributed to the success of this side-event.





First annual conference on asylum and migration


The first annual conference on migration and asylum under the ACRONYM project, titled The European Asylum Policy After Ukraine took place in Bratislava on July 12-13, 2023. The conference proved to be an enriching and dynamic event that brought together politicians, policy makers, academics and experts on migration and asylum from various institutions to engage in insightful discussions and meaningful networking.

With a diverse range of thought-provoking sessions, policy discussions, and keynote addresses, the conference fostered a platform for exchange of innovative ideas and cutting-edge research. The keynote address, titled “A Matter of Will, Not Capacity: European Asylum Policy After Ukraine” by François Gemenne from the University of Liège, marked the opening of the conference. Following this, the first panel was introduced by Katarína Cséfalvayová (ICE Director), who also welcomed speakers within the first panel, organised in the form of a policy dialogue. The panel featured Slovak Members of Parliament Andrej Stančík (Demokrati) and Martin Klus (Sme Rodina), politician Ábel Ravasz (Saska) and representative of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic, Ivan Kováč. This panel set the stage for the conference by initiating conversations about migration and asylum policies and their implications and challenges in the aftermath of the Russian war in Ukraine.

After the first panel, the audience had the chance to listen to Valon Halimi, the IOM Chief of Mission in Slovakia. In his address, he emphasised the significance of perceiving migration as an essential component of society, both historically and presently, rather than merely as a problem demanding immediate solutions. This segment of the conference highlighted the pressing need to change negative discussions and dominant narratives surrounding migration.

The second panel led by François Gemenne (Université de Liège) united experts and academics Michal Vašečka (Bratislava Policy Institute), Ján Orlovský (Ministry of Interior of the Slovak republic), Clarissa Tabosa (Comenius University Bratislava) and Tinatini Tsertsvadze (UNICEF) who contributed to the discussion with data, their personal from-the-ground experience and recommendations to policy makers with respect to migration and asylum policies.


Part of the conference also included the introduction of the Central European Migration Research Hub, an online platform designed to unite and connect academics, policymakers, experts, and other stakeholders in the field of asylum and migration. The goal of this unified platform is to support the strengthening of interdisciplinary collaboration through networking and sharing of expertise and experiences. Additionally, the platform aims to help researchers make their work accessible to the public and colleagues in the region. Among other functions, this platform serves as an information centre providing updates on the latest publications in the field of migration, relevant conferences, and funding opportunities for projects in this area.

In the afternoon, two academic panels, composed of researchers and academics, introduced various aspects of migration and asylum studies. In the first panel, attendees had the opportunity to hear a presentation by Mgr. Ángel Torres-Adán, PhD. (Slovak Academy of Sciences), who investigates people’s willingness to help migrants, especially Ukrainian refugees in Slovakia. His presentation, titled “Who’s willing to help? An analysis of individual willingness to help Ukrainian refugees in Slovakia,” elucidated the key and decisive factors influencing people’s willingness to help migrants. Another intriguing presentation, “Public service translation and interpreting in refugee crisis: Challenges and barriers in migrants’ access to mental healthcare in Slovakia” by Soňa Hodáková, PhD., (Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra) highlighted the aspects and problems faced by translators and officials working with migrants, which greatly impact many aspects of migrants’ lives, such as mental and physical health resulting from life changes, often associated with trauma from war and resettlement. Researcher Mag. Malwina Talik, MA, (Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe) discussed aspects and differences in the perception of migrants of various nationalities in a presentation titled “Refugees (Un)welcome! A Comparative Analysis of the Response to Refugees and Other Migrants at the Poland-Belarus and Poland-Ukraine Borders: Lessons Learned for the European Asylum Policy.”

The presentation “Care in Crisis: Failures to Guarantee the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Refugees from Ukraine in Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia” by Mgr. Martina Zboroňová (Freedom of Choice / Comenius University Bratislava) highlighted many barriers and obstacles regarding health aspects that migrants, especially migrant women coming to Slovakia, must overcome. Another aspect of migration in Slovakia was presented by Mgr. Juraj Marušiak, PhD. (Slovak Academy of Sciences) in the presentation “War in Ukraine and its impact on Slovakia´s migration policy with the main focus on refugees of Roma origin“. The presentation highlighted the influence of Slovakia’s migration policies on migrants of Roma origin and the obstacles and difficulties they face in Slovakia. Last but not least, the presentation titled “The importance of living heritage safeguarding among displaced communities from Ukraine” by Mgr. Martina Wilsch, PhD. (Slovak Academy of Sciences) emphasised the need and importance of protecting the living cultural heritage of displaced and affected communities in Ukraine due to war. The protection of cultural heritage is crucial not only for preserving culture and building psychological resilience against aggression but also for strengthening mutual relations between the host society and resettled communities.

The first edition of the Migration and Asylum Conference, held in Bratislava, brought together numerous experts, providing a space for dynamic discussions about the migration, while also highlighting its often negative perception within society.  Presentations, discussions, and the establishment of a platform for researchers to connect were just a fraction of the conference’s success. Positive feedback confirms that there is an increasing interest in the issues of migration and asylum policy, not only from a professional but also from a human perspective. We believe that these stimulating discussions will continue to develop and evolve in future editions of the conference.










Summer School on Environmental Changes and Migration




Kick off of Acronym project


In early 2023, ACRONYM embarked on its journey with a pivotal kick-off event held amidst the breathtaking scenery of Štrbské Pleso in the High Tatras, Slovakia. Here, the three project partners convened to inaugurate a significant collaboration. Uniting a consortium of experts, bringing diverse experiences and expertise of each project partner, particularly within the Central and Eastern European region was a starting point for a fruitful cooperation under the Acronym project. This union was not merely about partnership; it was about forging a shared commitment that would propel us beyond conventional boundaries and spark transformative change in the migration landscape.

Together, we embarked on a collective journey, fuelled by a common purpose: to redefine the narrative surrounding migration and to drive meaningful, enduring change. As the event unfolded, unanimous agreement was reached on the importance of cooperation and the roadmap for future activities within the Acronym project.