Global Studies Colloquium: "Yazidi Migration: Iraq, Kurdistan and Europe"

Thursday, December 5, 2019 at 12:30pm to 2:00pm

The Department of Global Studies' Colloquium Series is a lecture and lunch series, which has been made possible by the generosity of the Orfalea Endowment for the Master's Program in Global Studies.  The Colloquium Series strives to open and explore a wide range of interdisciplinary debates and their interaction and engagement with the global, hosting new guest speakers each quarter from UCSB and beyond.  The upcoming event will be hosted in the SSMS 2001 conference room in the Global Studies Department on Thursday, December 5th at 12:30pm. Please see below for the featured talk:

"Yazidi Migration: Iraq, Kurdistan and Europe" 

Karel Černý, Charles University, Prague

The project focuses on refugees from the Yazidi minority in Iraq and their motivations to migrate to Europe. It is based on field research conducted both in the Kurdish regional government in Northern Iraq and Germany. More than forty in-depth interviews with refugees/IDPs discuss the complex motivations that the refugees take into consideration when making decisions about their migration, especially to Europe. The project presents the perspective of the Yazidi refugees themselves, which is in some respects unique to this religious minority, but findings also contribute to general discussion about the motivations of refugees from warzones in the contemporary Middle East.

Why do Iraqi Yazidis want to migrate to Europe (a synonym for Europe is usually Germany)? We can assume that the obvious reason is the military attack on the Yazidi communities by the Islamic State in 2014. Or we can claim that the main reason is the military conflict in Iraq at that time. However, Iraqi Yazidis did not directly run away from their villages to Europe, most of them took refuge in autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan instead. Also, Iraqi Yazidis have been emigrating to Europe before, both from Iraq (Sinjar) and from autonomous Kurdistan. So, such a mono-causal explanation does not fit the complex reality of Yazidi migration to Europe. The research uncovers a complex set of motivations for migrating to Europe and provides a multi-factor explanation of phenomena.

Karel Černý is a sociologist from Charles University, Prague. His research focuses on the contemporary Middle East and on Muslim communities in Western societies. He was a Fulbright fellow at UCSB in 2012-2013. His latest book Instability in the Middle East (2018) deals with structural roots of the Arab uprisings.  


For more information about the Colloquium Series, please contact Professor Jan Nederveen Pieterse, Global Studies Colloquium Director:

UCSB Social Sciences and Media Studies Building, Conference Room 2001 (2nd Floor)

Event Type

Lectures & Presentations

Target Audience

Graduate Students, Faculty & Staff


Social Sciences


global studies, colloquium


Global Studies
Google Calendar iCal Outlook