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The Adriatic path of Eastern European asylum seekers during the Cold War. The case study of Italy as a transit country

Tuesday, March 7, 2017, 5:15 pm – 6:45 pm

Despite the fact that the 1951 Refugee Convention was rooted in the Cold War environment, so far the international historiography has devoted just a marginal attention to the period between 1951 and 1989. Moreover, the majority of the studies have been dealing with exceptional circumstances such as the post-WWII displacement and the refugee crisis fuelled by the political events such as the 1956 and 1968 Soviet invasions or the collapse of the communist regimes. However, such a focus might be misleading, neglecting the fact that an influx of Eastern European citizens into the Western countries has been a constant throughout the entire Cold War history and beyond.

This presentation will look at the Adriatic path of the Eastern European asylum seekers and the role of Italy as a transit country. In doing so, it will take into account both the international context – from the Cold War framework to bilateral relations –, the country's balance between immigration and emigration as well as the agency of the refugees and their strategies enacted to overcome the obstacles.

The event is jointly organized by OSA Archivum and the Migration Research Group (MiRG) at Ceu.