History of IMI
These two video interviews are with Professor Steven Vertovec, who is now Director of the Max-Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen and Professor Stephen Castles, who now holds a Research Chair in Sociology at the University of Sydney.
The International Migration Institute (IMI) was formed in response to a call in early 2005 to create a new institute at the University of Oxford focusing on migration. This call came from what is now the Oxford Martin School, a unique, interdisciplinary research initiative addressing key global future challenges.
At the time, Steven Vertovec was director of the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), and Stephen Castles was director of the Refugee Studies Centre (RSC), both at the University of Oxford. The then head of the Social Sciences Division, Nigel Thrift, asked them to ‘write’ a new institute that would complement the research of both COMPAS and RSC.
The vision that the two developed was one with global scope and a macro perspective. IMI, they decided, would look at the big picture of movements and dynamics, and would have a particular focus on those areas under-represented in the field of migration studies, such as the African continent.
Since 2006 when the institute was formally set up, it has attracted further funding for a variety of projects, which means that it has grown rapidly both in terms of the number of staff and the scope of its research.
Stephen Castles was director of IMI until August 2009. Robin Cohen was director from September 2009 until September 2011, when joint directorship was assumed by Oliver Bakewell and Hein de Haas.