PGIF Project: Co-Creating an Urban Displacement Solutions Alliance

Principal Investigator

Neil Boothby
Neil Boothby

Co-Principal Investigators

Mary Mendenhall
Nora Akawi

Project Description

Columbia faculty and students are collaborating to create a university-wide platform to comprehensively address today's global migration crisis. A critical component of this initiative is to support our Global Centers in promoting solutions to large-scale urban displacement through partnerships with national and international actors. A President Global Innovation Fund (PGIF) project grant is requested to support the creation of an "Urban Displacement Solutions Alliance" in Amman, Jordan. The Solutions Alliance is a response to operational partners' requests to engage in "real time" research to inform scalable, sustainable solutions for Syrian refugees in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA). The project grant will support a series of workshops to determine how to combine expertise and resources of different stakeholders into effective partnerships to pursue sustainable solutions to urban displacement.

Workshops will:

  1. Engage refugees and affected communities in prioritizing urban displacement problems
  2. Determine how to build teams to study prioritized problems and develop informed responses
  3. Identify training and capacity development needs for local actors (i.e., municipalities, ministries, NGOs) in service-improvement and monitoring and evaluation
  4. Explore how to combine technology with traditional approaches to monitoring and evaluating policies and programs
  5. Agree how to document, communicate and translate lessons learnt into planning, programming and response for MENA region and global actors

Key participants include Columbia faculty and graduate students from five schools/institutes; senior staff at the Columbia Global Centers | Amman; and tentative operational partners include, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), International Rescue Committee (IRC), Durable Solutions Platform (DSP), War Child Canada, Jordan River Foundation (JRF), and municipalities of Jordan. Global Center staff from Istanbul and Tunis will also be engaged as needed to inform potential initiatives in their respective locations.