Complex Migration Flows and Multiple Drivers in Comparative Perspective (MEMO)

MEMO is a large-scale comparative study that brings together researchers and community partners to deepen understanding of regional migration systems and to help improve international migration governance. The project is led by the Canada Excellence Research Chair in Migration and Integration program at the Toronto Metropolitan University and made possible with the support of a Partnership Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Previous approaches to migration governance research have been more segmented, focusing on specific migration drivers (e.g. economic, political, environmental) or types of migration (e.g. humanitarian versus labour; international versus internal). This compartmentalization prevents us from seeing the complete picture and connecting migration to wider socio-economic and political transformations taking place today.

The MEMO Partnership focuses on mixed migration flows and seeks to develop a socio-ecological systems approach. Uniquely, MEMO integrates macro, meso and micro data to develop a single framework for understanding the behaviour of migration systems, meaning it considers:
1. drivers that impact an entire population group, such as conflict, climate change, or a country’s policies affecting economic opportunity;
2. drivers, or specific factors or actors, that have an impact on individuals, such as institutions, cultural practices, or policies, which may have an uneven effect on members of communities;
3. features unique to individuals that affect their decision-making and agency, such as their desires, hopes and means to seek opportunity away from their home.
MEMO also takes a geographic approach, providing a systematic comparison of internal, intra-regional and intercontinental migration flows across the three regional systems (Americas, West Africa, East Africa).

Supported By: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
Duration: January 2023 – March 2025