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The King’s Experts Series is a series of events exclusively for King’s alumni. Through these events, attendees have the opportunity to hear from leading academics, researchers and practitioners at King’s on some of the most important issues of our time. 

King’s Experts Series: Forced Displacement and Seeking Sanctuary

In May 2022, the United Nations reported that there are now more than 100 million people forcibly displaced across the world. This number includes over 53 million people who are displaced inside their own countries. This event will address some of the key challenges facing forcibly displaced people in the UK, including the impact of hostile environment policies. In this panel discussion, three King’s migration experts will discuss refugee mental health, access to social services, experiences of exclusions and belonging, and the lived experience of arriving in the UK as a sanctuary seeker.


Dr Leonie Ansems de Vries

Leonie Ansems de Vries is a Reader in International Politics at King’s College London, Chair of the Migration Research Group and Director of the King’s Sanctuary Programme. Her work combines research on migration, borders and the politics of violence with practical action and policy development on safe and legal pathways. Leonie is currently writing a monograph on the politics of exhaustion in Europe, which examines the ways in which exhaustion is employed as a tool of governance to control people forced to move and how it is endured and resisted as a lived experience.


Dr Francesca Meloni

Francesca Meloni is a Lecturer in Social Justice in the School of Education, Communication & Society at King’s College London. Her research focuses on contemporary processes of migration and social exclusion. She is interested in the interface between migration, policy, race, and age, and in the impact of legal status on the experiences of belonging and access to social services. Francesca is currently leading a collaborative pilot project ‘Hostile Environment Data-Sharing: Mapping Evidence and Developing a Collaborative Approach’ that examines the extent and impact of data-sharing practices used for immigration enforcement in healthcare, education and policing.

Janahan Sivanathan

Janahan Sivanathan is the Sanctuary Project Officer at King’s College London. Janahan gained his law degree in 2021, having been motivated to study law after experiencing the UK’s immigration system first-hand as a Tamil refugee. He was named runner-up for the Future Legal Mind award 2020 for his essay on discrimination against Foreign National Offenders embedded in the UK immigration system. Janahan is a Trustee at Medical Justice and previously worked at the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants as the Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer and as a paralegal.


Dr Guntars Ermansons

Guntars Ermansons is a Lecturer in the Department of Global Health & Social Medicine at King’s College London and a group lead for Refugee Mental Health and Place Network. His main research interests are centered on migration and forced displacement, particularly focusing on refugee mental health and diaspora; urban anthropology, with a specific focus on marginalised and disadvantaged communities; and the moral economies and politics of drug use and control.

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At this event

Leonie  Ansems de Vries

Reader in International Politics

Guntars  Ermansons

Lecturer in Social Science, Health & Medicine

Francesca Meloni

Lecturer in Social Justice

Janahan Sivanathan

Sanctuary Project Officer

Event details