CMRS strives to be a hub for scholars throughout the region. It participates in the building of an operational scientific community by conducting collaborative research, conferences, seminars and debates with a view to developing comparative analyses on migration and refugee issues. CMRS working papers and country studies, as well in-depth-analyses, are accessible here.

CMRS research work is developed along two main lines:

  • Systematic collection of information and data on migration, asylum-seeking and refugees in the Middle East and North Africa region 
  • Conducting in-depth studies on current and emerging migration and refugee issues


CMRS research priorities fall under the following areas

  • Population displacement has always been a main feature of the Middle East and North Africa region, from the world’s largest and most protracted one, that of Palestinian refugees, to the Sudanese, Somali, Western Saharan and Iraqi refugees. The Arab Spring led to further displacement, from those who fled the conflict in Libya in 2011 to those who continue to be internally displaced in Yemen, and finally the ongoing dramatic displacement of Syrians. The continuing crisis in Syria created a massive inflow of Syrians to neighboring countries. Jordan and Lebanon alone are hosting almost 2 million Syrians. Such a massive inflow places huge burden on the already fragile infrastructure of these neighboring countries. The difficulty of integrating Syrians in countries of first asylum and the low rate of resettlement pushed more and more Syrians to take the irregular routes to Europe. The ongoing crisis in Syria and other countries of the region, in addition to the difficult economic conditions in other countries, led to the current Mediterranean crisis and call for serious and rigorous research to highlight the implications of the crisis and recommend future remedies.     

  • Egypt, while party to international human rights agreements that guarantee refugee and migrant rights, relies primarily upon international and nongovernmental organizations to provide for the actual protection needs of its large and growing population of forcibly displaced people, as well as irregular migrants. As such, Egypt’s ability to protect these populaces is precarious and, in the face of growing population movement to and through the state, a more robust protection system would help to ensure a secure and stable environment through consistent, orderly and humane treatment of migrants and refugees. 

  • Research on international labor migration has expanded in academic institutions of all regions. Countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are major destinations of migrant workers. Their large oil revenues contrasted with their small populations are drivers of migration. On the other hand, demographic deficits and skill mismatches drive demand for labor migration in Europe. The economic crisis on the one hand, and concerns with the integration of migrants and its social and cultural costs on the other, act as constraining factors for labor migration. Egypt is related to both the labor markets of the GCC countries and of Europe. The production of knowledge on the current and future demand for migrant labor is of great importance to Egypt and corresponds to the just described international trends of research. The same applies to research on migration policy and the protection of Egyptian migrant workers

  • Before the onset of the Arab uprisings in late 2010, the Arab region already hosted the world’s largest population of forcibly displaced populations, and this has continued to increase over the past three years in a trend that is likely to continue. States of origin, as well as host states, face considerable challenges with regard to providing a humanitarian response whilst maintaining public order with regard to the social, economic and environmental challenges posed by large-scale population movements. Egypt’s ability to integrate protractedly displaced populations and provide them with livelihoods will not only provide a humane response to those in need, but will be an essential part of contributing to security and stability, domestically and regionally.