About CESI

Centre for Refugee and IDP Studies (CESI) was established in 2011 through partnership of UNHCR and Faculty of Political Sciences at University of Sarajevo, as a first academic centre in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Western Balkans Region dedicated to forced migration studies.

The violence that accompanied the disintegration of Yugoslavia in 1990s produced around four million forced migrants (displacing app. every sixth person in the region). The 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), characterized by high level destruction, hostility purposefully directed towards the civilians and gross violation of human rights, was especially devastating  on a demographic level with over 100,000 dead, around 20,000 missing and  2,2 million i.e. 60% of the country’s population, expelled or forced to flee their homes.

Efforts aimed at undoing and alleviating the effects of forced displacement in the region have informed similar efforts made elsewhere in the world and have played an important role in shaping international practice, including the UN’s Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. However, until 2011, there was no institution in the region that primarily focused on the causes and consequences of forced migration, while at the same time raising awareness as to the problems that displaced persons face.

CESI is a first academic centre for forced migration studies in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and the Western Balkan’s region. As such, the Centre provides education, research, and training in the field. We are, first and foremost, committed to the study of forced displacement and human rights directly connected to the legacy of the recent war-induced displacement in BiH and the region, but we also function as a knowledge base for the common forced displacement issues worldwide.

Through the four main objectives of our work – resource activity, research, education, and academic exchange and networking – we provide access to objective and current information on forcibly displaced persons (asylum seekers, refugees, internally displaced, returnees) in BiH, region and wider.

The Centre’s future activities are to further facilitate dialogue and cooperation among actors in the field, and to stimulate the multidisciplinary and collaborative research that can bring positive changes in the legislation, policy and practice relevant to forcibly displaced persons.


Objectives and mission

The CESI acts as an impartial institute of research and learning on the subject of forced displacement.  In reaching its objective to serve as a resource centre and platform for promoting dialogue, public awareness and academic research and education in the field, we work to realize activities, such as, but not limited to:  

  1. Developing and maintaining a resource centre with specialized BiH focused in-house library with reference books, academic journals, and a digital resource base with documents and other publications on refugee and IDP population in BiH. Part of our digital resources can be accessed through our website aiming to become an online library.
  2. Educational activities i.e. offering study and learning opportunities for students, academic workers, policy makers, practitioners, researchers, and wider public by means of hosting regular Refugee law clinics organized by UNHCR and its implementing partners, monthly guest lectures by prominent international FM-scholars, Summer schools in forced migration methodologies, Weekly seminars  on current FM issues worldwide, Round tables and debates and multidisciplinary post-graduate courses in forced migration studies.
  3. Internship for domestic and foreign scholars. For detailed information see our ToR on the website.
  4. Interdisciplinary and action-oriented research and analysis in the area of forced displacement with local and regional focus.
  5. Cooperation and exchange with local, regional and international research institutions, humanitarian and legal aid organisations.



– Access to objective and current information on forced displacement in BiH as well as in a wider global context;
– Learning about/conducting academic research in the field of forced displacement;
– Promoting awareness on refugee and IDP issues;
– Acquiring academic and practical excellence in the field of forced migration;

You are welcome to visit us on site and/or use the resources that we offer online!