Speakers » Florian Forster

Florian Forster

Head, Immigration and Border Management (IBM), Department of Migration Management (DMM), International Organization for Migration (IOM), Switzerland



Special Topic: Disruptive global trends and the role of effective identity technology


Benji Hutchinson

Other Panelists:
Anne Shere Wallwork
Seth Stodder


  • The threat of terrorism
  • Mass displacement and movement of populations
  • Political implications

Regional conflicts, mass refugee migration, economic uncertainty, political unrest, domestic lone wolf attacks, and international terrorism are just some of the disruptive trends that have become complex global challenges. These challenges share the common requirement of needing to identify individuals for various reasons. Governments, non-governmental organizations, and for-profit companies face these challenges and must identify friend from foe, innocent from guilty, citizen from foreign national, or those entitled to social benefit. 

This panel will discuss major disruptive global trends affecting our world today and how identity technologies aid decision makers in their missions to prevent or manage the effects of those trends.  This panel will appeal to those working the fields of foreign policy and immigration, national defense and homeland security, and identity technology.


Since August 2014, Florian G. Forster has served as the Head of IOM’s Immigration and Border Management Division (IBM) at IOM Headquarters (HQ) in Geneva/Switzerland. He oversees a team of IBM specialists and support staff in HQ, provides technical oversight to the senior IBM specialists posted in IOM’s eight Regional Offices and the African Capacity Building Center (ACBC) in Moshi/Tanzania, and is responsible for developing and overseeing IOM's global approach to activities in the field of Border Management and Immigration.

IOM implements more than 150 immigration and border management projects across the globe at any given time; of the current 10,000 IOM staff members worldwide, several hundred colleagues are directly involved in implementing IBM activities in areas such as Border Management (incl. Integrated Border Management), Border Management Information Systems, Immigration Detention and Alternatives to Detention, Regularization of Entry and Stay, Readmission, Counter Migrant Smuggling (CMS), Border Security, Identity Management and Travel Documents, iAPI, Facilitated Migration Services (Visa Application Centers, Immigration Verification Programs, etc.), as well as Humanitarian Border Management (HBM).        

Before his current posting, Mr Forster worked as IOM’s Chief of Mission in Hanoi/Vietnam (2009/2014), Head of IOM’s Special Liaison Mission in Paris/France (2005/2009), Head of Office of IOM Berne/Switzerland (2000/2005), and Program Officer and Acting Chief of Mission of IOM in Phnom Penh/Cambodia (1995/1998).

Prior to his work with IOM, Mr Forster served as Legal Officer and Head of Legal Unit for the City of Munich/Germany on refugee, migration and youth matters, and as Civil Servant for the Bavarian Ministry of Justice (1999 & 1991/1995).

Mr Forster has studied law at universities in Paris/France and Munich/Germany and passed the German Bar examination (‘2nd State Examination’) in 1994.

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