UNHCR’s Representative to Macedonia and the UN Emergency Coordinator Amin Awad hired me to help set up a Think Tank at the University of Skopje on refugee and migration studies.
Core competencies utilized: Research, negotiations, policy analysis, program design & development, advocacy, resource mobilization, program audit, coaching, team building, training.
I led the set up of the Center for Refugees and Forced Migration Studies (CRFMS) Skopje, a UNHCR project. Management and academic mechanisms, established under my leadership have ensured success and sustainability of the CRFMS. I also developed and negotiated new projects and activities with the UN, EU funding agencies, foundations and organizations within and outside Macedonia.
With whom ?
Placing a new Think Tank on the global map
Refugees, Internally displaced, Humanitarian emergencies
Strategic Communication, Strategic Partnerships
The Centre for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies was a newly established think tank. The challenge was how to establish linkages and partnerships with the well-established think tanks around the world on refugee and migration issues.
In 2000 UNHCR and the University Ss. Cyril and Methodius, Skopje jointly set up the Centre for Refugee and Forced Migration Studies (CRFMS).
UNHCR commissioned me to develop the strategy for this Think Tank including a Communications Strategy.
Following the strategy a website, newsletter, brochures and flyers were developed for the Centre. Targeted dissemination of the outreach material resulted in high visibility of the Centre and its output.
We established a strategic partnership with the Brookings Institute and an international conference in Skopje on IDPs was organized.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
University of Skopje Ss. Cyril and Methodius
Institute for Sociological Juridical and Political Research
Helsinki Committee of Macedonia
Centre for Human Rights, Macedonia
Strategic partnerships were established with leading think tanks including the Brookings Institute and the European Centre for Minority Issues and an international conference in Skopje on IDPs was established.
“ Sunoor Verma has pioneered important and innovative methodologies in relation to project planning and delivery, has the capacity to ensure rapid and reliable project implementation according to agreed targets and possesses an amazing degree of strategic oversight and insight. ”
European Centre for Minority Issues, Germany
Setting up a Think Tank on refugees and forced migration studies
Refugees; Internally displaced; Humanitarian emergencies
Institution building; Confidence building; Fundraising; Think Tank set-up; Strategic planning; Strategic partnerships; Strategic communications
Within the first ten years of its existence, two major refugee influxes impacted the Republic of Macedonia. Support of the international community helped the country cope gracefully with these humanitarian emergencies. Acknowledging the inherent volatility of the region, it was vital that the know- how generated in the country in dealing with displaced populations is institutionalized and capacity be built systematically for emergency preparedness.
I conducted a needs assessment and a mapping of potential partners. I then developed the project proposal and fundraised with donors to set up the Center for Refugees and Forced Migration Studies (CRFMS) at the Ss. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje. The aim of the Center is to become a leading regional resource center in its field; to foster a regional network of similar research centers and to promote standards of excellence in research on Refugee and Forced Migration related subjects. Set up with seed funding from UNHCR, I led vigorous fundraising andexpandedthe portfolio of donors. Ialso set up and mentored the project management team of the centre. The project was implemented from February 2000 to September 2001.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR
Skopje University Ss. Cyril & Methodius
Institute of Sociological Political and Juridical Research
BPRM USA Government
Royal Norwegian Foreign Ministry,
- Set up of an active, well functioning research centre on refugee and forced migration issues
- Established a wide portfolio of donors thus enhancing the sustainability of the centre
- Management staff was trained to take over the management of the centre
- Well functioning resource center with a specialized library
- Internationally networked program on refugee studies was established
“ Sunoor Verma always underlines the importance of local ownership. He may have a lot of knowledge and expertise, but he always ensures that his visions are closely connected to reality on the ground. ”
Adviser, Human Rights & Democracy
Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida),
Department for Europe, Division for South Eastern Europe.