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Jonathan Crush, Background

Jonathan Crush holds the CIGI chair in global migration and development at the Balsillie School of International Affairs. He was raised in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Swaziland. After obtaining his first degree at Cambridge University, he moved to Canada and completed his M.A. at Wilfrid Laurier University and Ph.D. at Queen’s University. The initial focus of his research was the history of the colonial and apartheid migrant labour system in Southern Africa.

Jonathan’s policy work on migration and development took root during the 1990s, when he and a South African colleague, through an International Development Research Centre-funded project, pursued policy alternatives to the destructive South African mine migration system. In the mid-1990s, Canadian efforts to engage with South Africa, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), gave Jonathan opportunities to research policy on migration movements with Idasa, a high-profile African NGO.

After the collapse of apartheid, there was a complete reconfiguration of migration movements in Africa, as South Africa became a destination for economic migrants as well as refugees from neighbouring countries and the rest of Africa. Jonathan advised the South African government on the development of new immigration and refugee policies and has consistently advocated for a developmental approach to South-South migration. He founded the Southern African Migration Project (now Programme) (a consortium of Canadian and African researchers) in 1997 and co-founded the Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA) with the IOM, in 2002.

As international momentum has built for research and policies that connect migration with development, Jonathan has become a major contributor to international debates on the need for development-friendly governance of migrant movements. He has consulted on issues for a number of government departments and organization, including the G77 plus China; the Association of African, Caribbean and Pacific States; the OECD; the ILO; the Global Commission on International Migration; the World Bank; the UNDP and UNESCO.  Jonathan also leads the CIDA-funded African Food Security Urban Network (AFSUN), where he is working on promoting knowledge about food security issues through training, research, advocacy and community engagement. His current research focuses on South-South migration, diaspora engagement policy and the nexus between migration and food security.

A recipient of numerous academic awards and honours, including the Joel Gregory Prize of the Canadian Association of African Studies and a Queen’s Research Chair in International Migration, Jonathan also serves as  as director of the Southern African Research Centre at Queen’s. He sits on the Advisory Board of the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town, where he holds an honorary professorship. He has authored or edited 10 books and over 120 journal articles and book chapters on migration issues.

Jonathan splits his time between Waterloo and Kingston. He particularly enjoys watching live cricket, rugby and soccer, all of which he played in his youth, and is an avid traveller.

Notable Media & Presentations

  1. Crush, Jonathan (2010). “Labour Migration in Southern Africa.” Report for the OECD, Paris.
  2. Crush, Jonathan and Sujata Ramachandran (2009). “International Migration, Xenophobia and Human Development.” Report for the UN Human Development Report, 2009, New York.
  3. Crush, Jonathan (2009). “The ‘Urban Poor’ Flaw.” Globe and Mail. November 20.
  4. Crush, Jonathan (2009). “Migration in Southern Africa.” Presentation to Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ottawa.
  5. Crush, Jonathan (2009). “The South African Diaspora and the Diaspora in South Africa: Implications for Research, Policy and Development.” Paper presented to International Conference on Diaspora for Development. World Bank, Washington

Selected Publications

  1. Crush, Jonathan (2012). Migration, Development and Urban Food Security. AFSUN Series No. 9, Cape Town.
  2. Crush, Jonathan and D. Tevera (2010). Zimbabwe’s Exodus: Crisis, Migration, Survival. Ottawa and Cape Town: IDRC and Idasa.
  3. Crush, Jonathan and W. Pendleton (2009). “Remitting for Survival: Rethinking the Development Potential of Remittances in Southern Africa,” Global Development Studies 5, no. 3-4: 1–28.
  4. Crush, Jonathan and B. Frayne (2009). Surviving on the Move: Migration, Poverty and Development in Southern Africa. Midrand and Cape Town: DBSA and Idasa.
  5. Crush, Jonathan (2002). “The Global Raiders: Nationalism, Globalization and the South African Brain Drain.” Journal of International Affairs 56, no. 1: 147–172.

In the News

  1. Engagement among diasporas in Canada: the South Africa exception, Michelle Zilio, iPolitics, May 31, 2013
  2. Mitigate ‘brain drain’ by investing in diaspora-led development projects, study urges Canadian government, Tobi Cohen, Postmedia News, May 29, 2013
  3. Finding the Nexus of Development, CNBC Africa, November 28, 2012