The Migration Laboratory

Going beyond “us” and “them”: Towards a Migration that benefits all

Human mobility is an increasingly important global reality­ that affects the present and future of both deve­loping and developed countries. The Agenda 2030 acknowledges that international migration­ and brain circulation offer significant development ­opportunities for origin and receiving societies as well as for the migrants themselves. At the same time there are also risks, especially if migration is not properly managed.

The Migration Laboratory brings together international thought leaders from different sectors to enable new perspectives and to facilitate the co-creation of ideas and innovative practices guided by the core question: “How can we act together across sectors so that migration is beneficial for all actors in society?”

Dates and Locations

“In the process of being immersed into the Laboratory I said: This is different. There’s more potential in this one, because after the talk there is a passion for everyone to do the walking and make tangible changes.”

Levinson C. Alcantara, Philippines



Participants will come from relevant sectors such as government, private sector and civil society.



Bangladesh, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Mexico, the Republic of Moldova, Morocco, the Philippines, Sweden, Switzerland and selected stakeholders from Sub-Saharan Africa.

Lab Impressions

Voices from the Migration Laboratory

Data Protection and Data Processing

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The process

The Migration Lab is based on the understanding that the collective experience from diverse perspectives is needed in order to comprehensively work towards a migration that benefits all. Building on this understanding, this multi-stakeholder dialogue process makes space for new perspectives, enables mutual understanding and builds bridges beyond institutionally and sector-specifically defined responses. It aims at providing opportunities to explore critical challenges and stakeholder relations in the field of migration and development, allowing for a new and systemic understanding of the field.

The Migration Lab will foster profound reflection, expe­rien­tial learning, and tangible action to empower participants to significantly further their work and that of their home organizations. It will provide a space for dialogue, experimentation and collaboration aiming at five key objectives:

  • To engage critically with the challenges and potentials of ensuring that migration is beneficial for all actors in society
  • To bring diverse interests in the migration system into dialogue and support a better understanding of mutual perspectives
  • To encourage cross-sectoral collaboration and new forms of cooperation on concrete change initiatives tackling critical issues in the field
  • To foster a global network of change agents
  • To impact upon national and global discourses on migration

The Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) has been successful in trust-building between and among stakeholders, international organizations, the civil society and private sector in the past. Within the framework of the GFMD and on behalf of the Federal Government of Germany – as Co-Chair of the 2017 GFMD Summit – the ­Global Leadership Academy and the Sector Project Migration and Development of German Development Cooperation (GIZ) are launching the unique Migration Laboratory. Between the GFMD Summits 2017 in Germany and 2018 in Morocco, the Migration Lab will provide safe spaces for exchange outside of the structural and power-related limitations that mark most institutional and systemic ­contexts.

“The  Lab helped us to get a deeper grasp of what’s going on in migration – because everyone has his/her own particular perspective. Here, we started to understand the complexity of migration issues and to become a little bit more humble about our own opinions.”

Ilyas Azzioui, Morocco


The Global Leadership Academy's objective is to enable change on a personal, organisational, and systemic level. The Migration Laboratory takes an emergent approach to change – it doesn't formulate the objectives for change initiatives, instead, the Lab provides an enabling space where new ideas can be sparked, networks created and paths to change tried and tested.

As one of the initiatives braught to life by the Migration Laboratory, The Global Academy on Migration and Development (GAMD) formed in the framework of the Global Forum of Migration and Development (GFMD). 

GAMD developed as a strategic partnership to fill the gap in migration and development policy implementation. Today GAMD grew into a global network of experts skilled in training, research and consultancy services from Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), national and local governments, the academia and the private sector.

stories of change

Athanasia Ioannou participated in the Migration Laboratory and was one of its most skeptical critics in the beginning. Coming from a governmental background in her home country Greece, she did not see the added value of a dialogue process like this or its distinguishing feature compared to other conferences or workshops. During an interactive session as part of the GFMD ad-hoc working group in summer 2018, Athanasia Ioannou talked about her change of perspective and the Lab’s current and future impact.

Read Athanasia's story

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