In November 2007, it is 60 years since the UN-General Assembly approved the partition plan for Palestine. The failure of the plan and subsequent Arab-Israeli war led to the expulsion of the refugees, spread across several Middle East countries. The refugee problem has since remained unsolved despite UN General Assembly resolutions demanding their return: resolution 194 securing the refugees' right of repatriation has been affirmed more than one hundred times since 1948. Despite six decades of continued resistance to permanent settlement in host states, the bitter fact is that refugees have been unable to return to their homeland and denied social and political freedoms.

Today, there are about 4.2 million Palestinian refugees in the Middle East registered with United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). A large number of the refugees suffer from poverty, lack of civic rights and live in the midst of intense social and political conflict. The longest exile in modern history the refugees are caught between exile and alienation as non-citizens of host states. Yet, extensive grassroots activism has served to preserve refugee identity and the demand for "right of return" is undiminished. However, the mythology of uniqueness has hindered the understanding of the multiplicity of the Palestinian refugee ties between host country and place of origin. For example, the protracted exile has produced a kind of transnational identity which is still under-studied.

The main purpose of this workshop is to take a fresh look at the refugee problem and examine Palestinian refugee exile and alienation from historical, social, cultural and legal perspectives. The secondary objective is to debate new approaches that can add to our understanding of the complexity of the Palestinian the refugee problem. We welcome contributions that examine the Palestinian refugee experience along time and space and comparative studies of Palestinian refugees across the Levant. Research based on fieldwork will be privileged. Topical issues include, but are not limited to; refugee law and institutions, durable solutions, right of return, flight and exile, identity and marginalization and discrimination in the host country and refugee camps as "closed spaces of exception".

The workshop is organised by CMI and the Palestinian Institute for the Study of Democracy - Muwatin in association with the Global Moments of the Levant project.

Participation is by invitation only.

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