Brookings Institute

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What ?


Where ?

When ?

With whom ?

Setting up a Think Tank on refugees and forced migration studies+
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.


2000, 2001

What exactly?

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.

With- whom?

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,


Brookings Institute

What happened?

  1. Set up of an active, well functioning research centre on refugee and forced migration issues
  2. Established a wide portfolio of donors thus enhancing the sustainability of the centre
  3. Management staff was trained to take over the management of the centre
  4. Well functioning resource center with a specialized library
  5. 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. ”

Peeter Kaaman
Adviser, Human Rights & Democracy
Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida),
Department for Europe, Division for South Eastern Europe.