Questioning the Media and Public Discourse: Reshaping Attention and Inclusion Strategies for Refugees

July 13, 2022

Columbia Global Centers | Istanbul, in collaboration with Columbia University’s Center for Sustainable Development (CSD) and School of Social Work, hosted a hybrid event on forced migration and possible innovative solutions in social inclusion on July 7. Professor E. Nezih Orhon presented a talk on the Reshaping Attention and Inclusion Strategies for Refugees (RAISD) Project while reflecting on media and public discourse. The event was moderated by Dr. Anindita Dasgupta, from the Columbia School of Social Work.

Following the opening remarks of Professor Yanis Ben Amor, Executive Director of CSD, Prof. Orhon spoke about the historical overview of Syrian migration and gave the timeline of media and public discourse within the context of refugees in Turkey. He mentioned the common stereotypes and narratives portrayed through media in Turkey towards refugees. “Everyone has an idea about refugees,” said Prof. Orhon as he highlighted the absence of their personal experiences, “even if they have shared a moment with them or not.” Moreover, he also emphasized that “there is no single voice of the refugees”.

Prof. Orhon went on to argue that “there is a great need for a joint problem-solving approach to rehumanize Syrian refugees” and explained the research methods used during the three-year RAISD project, which is supported by the European Commission’s Horizon 2020. The main objective of the project was to find innovative solutions for the attention and inclusion of distinctively vulnerable groups among forcibly displaced people. The RAISD project collaborated with seven countries to understand the variability in defining vulnerable groups and their specific challenges and needs throughout different regions. In addition, Prof. Orhon highlighted the importance of inclusion strategies and collaborative research software for addressing the specific needs of refugees/migrants and uplifting their voices.

The seminar is available here.

Contributed by Brooke Coskuner, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health