MIGDIA Research Project:
Migration, Transnational Educational Paths,
and Diasporic Plurilingualism

What Migdia?

Our research project Migration, transnational educational paths and diasporic plurilingualism investigates questions of education, democracy, and migration in Finland and Lebanon. Our perspectives come from sociolinguistics, anthropology and world politics. Migration shapes societies in many ways, both in the Global South and in the Global North. The central question everywhere is how transnational educational paths are built in such a way that they offer individuals avenues for social participation, possible further education, and employment. Transnational educational paths also challenge us to think about whose voice is and should be heard when building such paths.

Our research contexts range from Arabic mother tongue classrooms to the everyday life of immigration background families in Finland and Lebanon. Our investigation focusses on everyday life, and everyday plurilingualism, and the educational policies that shape them. These policies are examined both from the perspective of Finnish education policy and by analysing the ideological boundary making of organizations working on refugee education in Lebanon from the perspective of world politics and global governance.


We examine the role of the Arabic language in the everyday life and school work of students and teachers in a multilingual context. Additionally, we focus on the frameworks provided for plurilingualism by the educational system. Our goal is to understand the multilingual and multidialectal practices of everyday life and the ideological understandings associated with them.

We explore educational issues from the perspective of Arab families who have settled in Finland and Lebanon. The aim is to understand how daily gendered caring practices impact women’s opportunities to pursue an education and integrate into a new language environment, as well as how educational opportunities shape gender dynamics.

We examine the ideological foundations of refugee education from a critical political economy and global governance perspective. We specifically focus on the role of the economic theory of human capital in the global governance of refugee education.

The team

Our interdisciplinary project team consists of researchers in linguistics, language education research, anthropology, and world politics. It includes researchers from the Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Educational Sciences, and Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki, as well as researchers from the University of Tampere. The project is led by Docent Irina Piippo.



War in the Shadow of Gaza: Israel, Hezbollah, and Lebanon

Taavi Sundell's article providing a brief overview of the tensions caused by the Gaza war in the relations between Israel and Lebanon surveys the results from the heightened tensions up until now, particularly in Lebanon, discusses the possibilities of the conflict expanding, and provides background on the situation in Lebanon regarding its limited governance capacity amplified by the present exceptionally severe economic crisis.

Read more

The Economic Foundations and Aims of Higher Education: Capitalism and Contingency in the Construction of Academic Worlds

The lectio praecursoria presented by Taavi Sundell in the public defense of his doctoral dissertation on March 4, 2023, has been published in Finnish. In his lectio, Sundell emphasized the importance of considering the diversity of economic and academic worlds in discussions about the relationship between universities and the economy. Economising discourses and policies are concerning as they often narrow the accepted goals for universities, science, and education. Furthermore, they are often based on simplistic views of the (capitalist) economy.

Read more

Newly arrived students in the classrooms

The popular science book titled "Vastasaapuneet luokkahuoneissa: Ikkunoita valmistavaan opetukseen ja monikieliseen kouluun," (Newly arrived students in the classrooms: windows to preparatory education and multilingual school) published by Vastapaino, provides an accessible exploration of the multilingualism in schools, offering insights through vivid examples and delving into research. The book consists of an introduction, twelve peer-reviewed chapters, four concrete pedagogical perspectives, and four educational policy perspective chapters.

Read more

Partners and supporters