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Farewell message from Marion Couldrey

I was once told by a refugee – who was frustrated that FMR couldn’t support his asylum claim – that I only had a job because of people like him. And he was right. And I have tried to remember that throughout my 28 years as Editor with FMR.

I’ve also been aware that every £, $ and € given by donors to support FMR is money that could have been spent on programmes more directly helping people who have been forced to leave their homes. And yet those donors consider funds for FMR as money well spent, and I’ve had the privilege of receiving 28 years’ worth of appreciative feedback from readers, and examples of FMR’s impact both direct and indirect.

So as I leave FMR, I would like to thank all those readers, authors and donors (and my FMR colleagues over the years) who have collaborated to make FMR a valuable, accessible tool for knowledge exchange and learning and inspiration to help improve policy and practice for displaced people. To those of you whose lives as displaced people have been discussed and analysed in the pages of FMR, I hope we have been respectful and of some use.

So much has changed over these 28 years.

When the magazine was launched in 1987 at the instigation of the Refugee Studies Centre’s founder, Barbara Harrell-Bond, the field of refugee studies was still young. We used to receive far more article submissions from practitioners than from researchers but that trend has reversed in recent years. The size and look of the magazine have changed over the years but what has not changed is, sadly, the need for such a forum.

Over the years, we have sought to cover topical issues (especially country-focused, such as Burma, Iraq, DRC, Afghanistan, Syria), issues of emerging importance (for example, climate change, urban displacement, technology) and those issues which merit greater attention than they tend to receive (such as disability, HIV-AIDS, local communities). With each issue I have learned much… sometimes more than I wanted to know about inhumanity but more often about resilience and innovation and determination and compassion.

I’m leaving FMR at a time when the number of people fleeing Ukraine is rising rapidly, with the world’s response offering interesting comparisons with responses to other large movements of people fleeing war and horror. Perhaps the subject of a future issue of FMR? I won’t be Editor, but I’d be very interested to read that issue…

Thank you for being part of the far-flung community that reads, supports and uses FMR. I’m proud to have been a part of it.

Marion Couldrey

FMR Editor, 1993–2022

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