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.