Posts by: Batul K. Sadliwala

The synopsis taught in Irish schools of the demographic impact of the Great Hunger that devastated Ireland from 1845-52 is as follows: 1 million dead, 2 million emigrants. Is it a general rule that famines generate mass migration or was Ireland the exception? Remarkably, despite long-standing demographic research into famine and intensive current interest in migration, there is no definitive answer. But there is urgent policy interest in the link between mass starvation and migration. This article examines the causes and migration patterns of episodes of mass starvation from the 19th century onward and demonstrates the critical need for deeper research on the linkages between famine and migration. Among the unanswered questions: Does migration mitigate starvation or worsen it? Does it precede or follow famine? And how?

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Indisputably, these developments constitute a crucial aspect of Riyadh’s broader national reform agenda, as led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Within the wider regional context of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), they mark the long overdue acceleration of a trend towards improving citizen women’s participation in the economy and public life. Yet, improvement in the lives of half of the region’s citizens cannot be understood if we ignore the demographic reality that roughly 49 percent of GCC residents are foreign nationals, at least a third of whom are noncitizen women.[1] An important question is whether state policies aimed ostensibly at women’s empowerment represent an exercise in national inclusion or nationalist retreat? The answer is, “Both.”

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“Crisis” is a word ubiquitous in today’s popular, academic, and policy discussions about migration and displacement, whether we’re talking about those who brave the journey across the Mediterranean in the search for better livelihoods in Europe, the Rohingya fleeing mass atrocities in Myanmar, or Syrians and Yemenis forced from one town to another in their […]

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