School of Transnational Governance
Students take part in an executive training session at the European University Institute. Photo by the European University InstituteCredit

Migration Communication Strategies: Effective Approaches to Depolarize the Debate


Date: 24-25 September 2020

Place: European University Institute, Florence

Course Coordinators: Andrew Geddes (Director of the Migration Policy Centre, EUI) and Leila Hadj Abdou (Research Fellow at the Migration Policy Centre, EUI)

  Training Programme




Immigration is a controversial issue that is polarizing societies. Its rising salience has evoked heated debates and the rise of hate speech. Additionally, it has also driven dissatisfaction with political elites and migrant advocates who are often perceived as out of touch with citizens’ concerns about immigration and diversity. As a result, we are facing a growing uncertainty about how to best communicate about immigration-related issues and how to reach out to segments of society that might be sceptical of immigration. Major stakeholders, institutions and organisations are now addressing this issue proactively. Governance actors working in the field of migration, however, are in need of more opportunities to develop practical skills to depolarize the debate.

The executive training will develop and strengthen communication skills by providing in-depth insights into the factors that decisively shape how people perceive and react to immigration and ethno-cultural diversity. It will teach participants to identify and apply productive communications approaches towards migration-related issues in challenging contexts.


How you will learn during the training:

  • Participation in knowledge transfer sessions led by accomplished practitioners and academics with deep experience of key issues impacting the immigration debate both globally and locally
  • Participation in interactive training sessions, that are focused on the interpretation of opinion data, and that address the main challenges posed by the current immigration debate
  • Analysing case studies based on real-life migration campaigns and communication strategies


What you will gain from this training:

  • How to effectively communicate about causes and effects of immigration, and about immigration/integration policies with concerned citizens.
  • How to construct communication strategies that foster social cohesion in an effort to tackle destructive forms of discrimination and hate speech.
  • How to understand and incorporate insights about attitudes to immigration and about the impact of underlying factors influencing how people think and feel about migration.
  • How to understand the positive role of facts and evidence in the migration debate, as well as their shortcomings.


Fees: 1,300 € 

A discount of 25% will be applied to the charges for international European and national civil servants, as well as to members of the NGOs. 
The fees cover the cost of the course as well as coffee and lunch breaks. Travel and hotel costs are not included in the fees. 


Meet your trainers: 

James Dennison is part-time Professor at the Migration Policy Centre of the European University Institute, where he works on the Observatory of Public Attitudes to Migration (OPAM) – the first observatory to collect and produce comprehensive, international data on public attitudes toward migration.

Leonard Doyle is the Director of Media and Communications for the International Organization for Migration, based in Geneva, Switzerland. He has previously worked with IOM in Haiti and the Philippines in humanitarian emergencies. Prior to that he was Washington Editor and Foreign Editor of The Independent (UK).

Andrew Geddes is Director of the Migration Policy Centre (MPC) and holds the Chair at the European University Institute in Migration Studies. He is the author of numerous books and research articles on migration.

Leila Hadj Abdou is a Research Fellow at the Migration Policy Center (MPC). Previously to coming to the MPC, she held positions at the University of Vienna, the School for Advanced International Studies in Washington D.C., and the University of Sheffield. Leila is specialized on migration governance and migration politics, issues she has widely published on. 

Daniel Howden is an award-winning journalist; his work focuses on primarily on migration. He is visiting Fellow at Oxford University's Refugee Studies Centre and managing director of Lighthouse Reports, which builds topic-based newsrooms. He has pioneered an open newsroom for emerging migration reporters across the EU. 

Eóin Young is co-founder and Programme Director in the International Centre for Policy Advocacy (ICPA). He has worked mainly as a trainer and mentor in supporting the development of policy research, writing and advocacy capacity in the NGO and governmental sectors in the EU & Eastern Europe/Central Asia for more than 15 years.