Refugees: A Very Short Introduction

This is the text from the back cover of this issue of FMR. It profiles the last book written by our RSC colleague Gil Loescher, who died in April 2020.

Refugees: A Very Short Introduction

by Gil Loescher

This is a special book.

Gil Loescher died on 28 April 2020. He was in the final stages of preparing the manuscript for this book, which he considered to be one of his most important.

Gil was a gentle giant of refugee studies. His writings on refugees and world politics were pioneering and endure as a cornerstone for the discipline. He was humble, empathetic, thoughtful, curious and kind. But Gil was deeply troubled by world events in recent years, especially how the rise of populist and exclusionary politics and misinformation contributed to a breakdown in international cooperation and collective action.

Gil’s hope was that this book would be read by people wanting to understand the complexities of refugee movements and to take informed positions on the issue for themselves.

James Milner, colleague and friend, Ottawa, Canada


On 27 May 2021, viewers from 27 countries attended the virtual launch for Refugees: A Very Short Introduction. The book offers a concise and compelling introduction to the causes and impact of contemporary refugee responses. By drawing on Gil Loescher’s 40-year legacy as an authority on UNHCR and global refugee issues, the book offers a critical insight into the impact of today’s responses to refugee movements for States, global order and refugees themselves. The book also draws on more recent developments to call for a new approach that engages with the root causes of displacement and the politicisation of refugee responses, and for an enhanced role for civil society actors and refugee-led responses.

The launch event began with reflections from Gil’s family before turning to a discussion of the themes of the book and their significance, including from the perspective of global policy discussions, national responses in the global South, and refugee leadership. The event concluded with a discussion of how the book can act as a catalyst for new approaches to addressing the source of refugee displacement as well as ensuring that responses to refugee movements are more inclusive, comprehensive and rights-based.

Watch the launch event here:

For more details, and to buy the book (with 20% discount* to FMR readers), also available as an Ebook, visit


*Offer valid until 18/08/2023 at 11:59pm (GMT), and on this book only. Offer valid for individual orders only and not intended for resale or bulk orders of a single title. Prices, publication, availability, and shipping fees are subject to change without notice. All sales are subject to acceptance by Oxford University Press. Offer only valid for purchase on the OUP website and not through any other retailers. To redeem offer, enter code VSI20.

Proceeds from the sale of the book will support the Gil Loescher Memorial Fund


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