The Peaceful Return of Victims of Forced Displacement

This PEACERETURN project awarded €2.5 million project sees Neophytos Loizides collaborate with Dr Ed Morgan-Jones as well as Professor Betul Celik (Sabanci University) and Professor Charis Psaltis (University of Cyprus).

Neophytos Loizides, Director of the Centre for Conflict Analysis Research (CARC) at the University of Kent, has been awarded a European Research Council (ERC) advanced grant of €2,657,725 for his project, PEACERETURN.

The PEACERETURN project, which will run for five years, focuses on victims of forced displacement and their decisions to return (or not) to their pre-conflict communities.

Loizides and colleagues from the University of Kent, the University of Cyprus, and Sabanci University, seek to understand why the proportion of actual returnees worldwide has been in significant decline in the past three decades despite the growing consensus among governments, international NGOs, and often victims of displacement themselves of the value of peaceful voluntary return.

The project will investigate why voluntary return is declining and what leads to partially successful returns or failures.

Loizides said: ‘We are at an unfortunate moment in history witnessing an alarming increase of displaced persons; at the same time, there has been a significant decline, up to 85% in the past three decades, in the number of individuals who return to their original pre-conflict homes. PEACERETURN examines this puzzle focusing on victims of mass displacement and the individual, community-based, and institutional factors that shape voluntary peaceful return.’

The grant awarded by the ERC is part of its €544 million Horizon Europe programme – a project which supports cutting-edge research in a wide range of fields, from medicine and physics to social sciences and humanities. It is amongst the most prestigious and competitive EU funding schemes, awarded to established, leading researchers with a proven track-record of significant research achievements over the past decade.

PEACERETURN will be led by Loizides along with Professor Betul Celik (Sabanci University), Dr Ed Morgan-Jones here at Kent and Professor Charis Psaltis (University of Cyprus).