Szymon Parzniewski

The role of migrants in building city resilience for emergency response and disaster disk reduction (DRR): a case study of Birmingham (UK) and Sendai (Japan)

Supervisors: Professor Jenny Phillimore and Dr John Round


In the last two decades there has been a constant rise in resilience-related research (including urban, community, family, economic, cultural, security, disaster prevention and other areas). Both in the academic and policy circles there has been a rising interest of the role of policy-making on building city resilience and effective response to emergencies. However, given the role of migration and diversity in modern societies there is a limited empirical social research on integrating migrants into resilience and disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts, which means that a greater understanding of the contemporary features of resilience policy-making is required.

Szymon is undertaking doctoral research into the role of migration and policy entrepreneurship in building city resilience. This research investigates the local practices in the UK and Japan in building resilience to emergencies and disasters among migrant communities. His recent co-authored contribution to a book: Migrants in Disaster Risk Reduction: Practices for Inclusion has been presented at the 2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Cancun (May 22-26, 2017).


Szymon graduated with a BA in International Relations with German from Swansea University, which included Erasmus exchange visit to the University of Bamberg and a working experience at the Robert Bosch GmbH in Stuttgart (Germany). In order to broaden the academic horizons and learn about international relations and migration related issues from diversified perspectives, Szymon decided to pursue a Double MA in International Relations (MAIB) from the Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University, University of Potsdam and the Moscow State Institute for International Relations (MGIMO), which he completed in 2014. For his PhD project, which looks at city resilience and the role of migrants in the UK and Japan, Szymon has won a 1+3 ESRC award. He has previously worked as a Regional Policy and Liaison Intern at the IOM Regional Office for South-Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia (SEEECA) in Vienna. As part of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) Summer Program from June until August 2016 he has been a Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Far Eastern Studies (CFES), University of Toyama.


  • BA International Relations with German, Swansea University, (First Class)
  • Double-MA Degree in International Relations (MAIB), Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University, University of Potsdam and the Moscow State Institute for International Relations (MGIMO), (Final Grade: Excellent)
  • MA Political Science (Research Methods), University of Birmingham, (as part of the 1+3 ESRC Award)

Research interests

  • Migration
  • Resilience
  • Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR)
  • Policy Entrepreneurship
  • Comparative Approaches

Conference papers

"High-Skilled Return Migration to Armenia: the Role of this Phenomenon in the Process of Regional Development", presented at the VI International Scientific and Practical Conference 'The Role of Migration in the Socio-Economic and Demographic Development of Sending and Receiving Countries in Eurasia: The Case of Eastern Europe and Central Asia', The Armenian Academy of Science, Yerevan, Armenia, 7/NOV/2014.

"The Methodological Considerations of Analysing the Role of Media in Immigration Policy-Making: the Search for Interdisciplinary Theoretical Approaches", presented as part of the Panel on "Migration and Socio-Economic Development of Countries" at the IV International Congress of the Center for American Studies (NUCLEAS), The State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), Brazil, 27/AUG/2014

"A reflection of reality or a 'parallel reality'? Conceptualisation of the role of media in representing immigration policy in the post-Soviet space", presented at the International Summer School for Young Scholars, 'International Migration in the Post-Soviet Space: Reflections, Patterns and Implications', Koç University, Istanbul, Turkey, 7/JUL/2014


Parzniewski, S. and Phillimore, J. (2017). ‘Multilingual Disaster Support Volunteer Training in Japan: Participant Observation of Methods and Practice in Toyama Prefecture’, In Migrants in Disaster Risk Reduction: Practices for Inclusion, May 2017, pp. 42-46. This study is part of the Migrants In Countries In Crisis (MICIC) Initiative (International Organization for Migration and Council of Europe).

Parzniewski, S. (2017). ‘Children in disaster risk reduction: building resilience among migrant families’, In UNMGCY Youth Science Policy Interface Publication – Special Edition: Disaster Risk Reduction: A Road of Opportunities. May 2017, pp. 81-85.


Twitter: @sparzniewski