Few topics divide the Australian voting public as sharply as immigration. Some people are inclined to ‘stop the boats’, others to ‘close the camps’, however, finding solutions to the complex problem of displacement will require more than three-word slogans. As the world faces the largest number of displaced people since the Second World War, there has never been a more important time for informed and evidence-based discussion on refugee issues.

Andrew Kaldor AO and Renata Kaldor AM, who in 2013 partnered with UNSW to set up the world’s first academic centre devoted to international refugee law, both arrived in this country as child refugees in the aftermath of the Second World War. They found Australians to be very welcoming, and so have always given back to the community. Deeply distressed by what they see as cruel policies from successive Australian governments, the Kaldors chose to do something to promote ‘a calm and reasoned discussion’ about the matter.

The Andrew & Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, led by Scientia Professor Jane McAdam, was established with a mission to generate cutting-edge research to support the development of legal, sustainable and humane solutions for displaced people. Through outstanding research and public engagement, the Centre has earned a reputation as a leading expert voice in the refugee debate.

Andrew and Renata Kaldor recently spoke at a Scientia Circle lunch explaining why they feel so passionate about the need to protect refugees and other forced migrants, and the role for research in forging solutions to this complex issue in a ‘post-truth’ world. Watch the speech below.