The Columbia Global Centers in Amman and Istanbul organized a symposium at Columbia University in New York to address the gap in the linkages between humanitarian response and development in light of a rapidly changing global context, and the need for new paradigms of refugee assistance and inclusion.
The symposium featured Columbia faculty engaged in the refugee issue, practitioners from the MENA region, and scholars who have been instrumental in treating refugee movements as a developmental issue in the context of Uganda and Malawi in the 1990s.
The aim of the symposium was three-fold:
Discuss Columbia University’s initiatives related to the refugee crisis, and present research on how to improve refugees’ access to health services, inclusive education and sustainable employment opportunities.
Highlight developmental approaches developed and practiced in the context of past humanitarian crises, extract lessons and reflect on its relevance today.
Ensure a robust scholarly exchange that will offer the possibility for partnerships to develop across campus with counterparts from the MENA region, and consider how academic institutions of higher education like Columbia University could inform future multidisciplinary interventions to support the inclusion of Syrian refugees.
The symposium was organized around the following themes:
The Refugee Response: Past Experiences and Current Practices
Developing a New Paradigm of Refugee Inclusion in Host Countries
The Role of Academic Institutions in Advancing Knowledge on this Global Humanitarian Challenge
Session 1: Overview of the Refugee Crisis and Main Challenges Preventing Inclusion – The MENA Context
Session 2: Past Experiences with the Integration of Refugees
Session 3: Pathways to Enhancing and Leveraging Human Capacity: Education, Employment and Health
Session 4: Shifting the Paradigm: Reflecting on Policy Responses at the Local, National and Global Levels
Closing Session: The Role of the University in Advancing Policy Responses and Reshaping the Narrative