Drivers of Migration: Violence, Security, Lack of Economic Opportunity

february, 2022

16feb1:00 pm2:20 pmDrivers of Migration: Violence, Security, Lack of Economic Opportunity


(Wednesday) 1:00 pm - 2:20 pm


USF Student Center

200 6th Ave S

Event Details

War, political instability, insecurity, repression and conflicts over resources all trigger flows of migration.

Panel Discussion Moderated by Robert Sattin

Speakers for this event

  • Abdul H. “Zi” Azizi

    Abdul H. “Zi” Azizi

    Real Estate Advisor, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty Born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan, Abdul H. “Zi” Azizi’s early life was marked by extreme hardship. In 1994 during the Jihadist war to seize Afghanistan, four-year old Zi was wounded when a bullet grazed his head during a firefight. His father also was wounded and their house burned in a rocket attack. As a young boy, Zi helped support his family by selling cooking oil on the streets of Kabul. The Taliban era brought greater hardships for the family when Zi’s mother was forced to quit the job she had held for 20 years at a bank and his father was briefly jailed. During this time, Zi began to learn English by watching American movies broadcast from a black-market satellite dish installed at night and removed before dawn to avoid punishment by the Taliban. U.S. Special Operations Forces liberated Afghanistan from the Taliban in 2001 and Zi and his family became engaged in supporting coalition efforts. At age17, FEDEX hired Zi to deliver packages to the U.S. military and he soon become manager of the FEDEX operation serving coalition military and defense contractors. Graduating from the Swiss University for Management, Economics and Finance in Kabul with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration in 2013, Zi began working for an Orlando-based U.S. defense contractor that handled programs teaching literacy to the Afghan military. In 2013, Zi was accepted at St. Petersburg College, and in 2015, he became a licensed real estate professional. An ambassador to the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce, Zi brings a cross-cultural outlook to clients from around the world. He gives back to his adopted community as an active and proud member of Rotary International.

  • Justin Schon

    Justin Schon

    Dr. Justin Schon is a Senior Research Analyst at AidData, a reasearch laboratroy at the College of William and Mary. His research explores the dynamics of human migration, specifically: 1) Whether, when, where, and how people move; and 2) Intersections with armed conflict, climate change, public health, and development. His book, Surviving the War in Syria: Survival Strategies in a Time of Conflict (Cambridge University Press, 2020) examines civilian survival strategies during conflict with a focus on the Syrian civil war. His peer-reviewed articles are published or forthcoming in Comparative Political Studies, Environmental Research Letters, Political Geography (x2), Journal of Refugee Studies, Civil Wars, International Interactions, Journal of Peace Research, Journal of Social Structure, Perspectives on Politics, Oxford Research Encyclopedia, PLOS ONE, and Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict. Dr. Schon's public scholarship includes contributions to a special issue of Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS), essays on coronavirus in the Middle East, an invited perspective for the Department of Defense's Strategic Multilayer Assessment program, and an essay in the Migration Policy Institute's Migration Information Source. He has also written for The Conversation, Wilson Center's New Security Beat, The Washington Post's The Monkey Cage, Political Violence @ a Glance, OECD's Development Matters, Duck of Minerva, and Syria Comment.

  • Robert Sattin

    Robert Sattin

    Robert Sattin, President of The Appleton Group, Lawyer - After over 33 years in the private practice of law in Hartford, CT, Bob came to St. Petersburg where he spent 8 years as the president of The Appleton Group, which developed and ran a network of over 270 law and accounting firms located in 100 countries. In that position, Bob not only interacted with member firms around the world, but also led semi-annual conferences in Europe, N. America, S. America and Asia.

  • Scott Solomon

    Scott Solomon

    M. Scott Solomon is Associate Professor and Director of the School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies at the University of South Florida-Tampa. He received his Ph.D. from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University in 2002. Prior to joining the University of South Florida in 2005 he taught at the New School University, New York University, and Lingnan University in Hong Kong, where he served as The Lingnan Foundation Teaching Scholar. His research interests include globalization, international political economy, and migration. In addition to authoring numerous book chapters and articles, he is the co-author (with Martin Griffiths and Steven Roach) of Fifty Key Thinkers in International Relations (Routledge) and (with Mark Rupert) of Globalization and International Political Economy: The Politics of Alternative Futures (Rowman & Littlefield). His current research centers on international migration, particularly issues of state initiated migration policies for remittance generation, policy responses to brain-drain, and medical migration.

  • Wendy Pearlman

    Wendy Pearlman

    Wendy Pearlman is a Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University, where she specializes in Middle East politics. She is the author of We Crossed a Bridge and It Trembled: Voices from Syria (Custom House, 2017), based on interviews that she conducted hundreds of displaced Syrians across the Middle East, Europe, and the United States since 2012. The book is a collection of first-hand testimonials that chronicles the Syrian uprising, war, and refugee crisis exclusively through Syrians’ own stories and reflections. The book has been longlisted for the American Library Association’s Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence, called “essential reading” by the New York Times, and been recommended in reviews in the New Yorker, Guardian, and Chicago Review of Books, among other outlets. Wendy is continuing to collect more testimonials from displaced Syrians to prepare a new book. Wendy has also written three books related to Palestinian politics and the Arab-Israeli conflict: Occupied Voices: Stories of Everyday Life from the Second Intifada (Nation Books, 2003), Violence, Nonviolence, and the Palestinian National Movement (Cambridge University Press, 2011), and Triadic Coercion: Israel’s Targeting of States that Host Nonstate Actors (co-authored with Boaz Atzili, Columbia University Press, 2018). Wendy has published essays and articles in Time, Guernica, Huffington Post, Washington Post, and Reuters, as well as academic research in journals including Arab Studies Journal, International Migration Review, International Security, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Palestine Studies, Middle East Law and Governance, Perspectives on Politics, Politics & Society, Security Studies, and Studies of Comparative International Development. Wendy earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University, an MA from Georgetown University, and a BA from Brown University. She has conducted research in Spain, Germany, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Israel, and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. She has received fellowships from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Fulbright, the Center for Arabic Studies Abroad at the American University in Cairo, the United States Institute of Peace, and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. A dedicated teacher, Wendy has been awarded the Northwestern University Weinberg College Distinguished Teaching Award and R. Barry Farrell Award for Excellence in Teaching, and has been elected to the Associated Student Government Faculty Honor Roll numerous times. She won “best article” awards from the Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies and the Syrian Studies Association, as well as the 2011 Deborah Gerner Grant for Professional Development. Frequently invited to give guest lectures on the Middle East, Wendy has delivered hundreds of talks on four continents. Addressing audiences ranging from retirees to high school students, she has spoken at universities, public libraries, museums, art galleries, literary festivals, bookstores, conferences, and volunteer trainings. She has done dozens of interviews for print, radio, television, and podcasts.

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