International Refugee Research: Evidence for Smart Policy
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The Virginia Tech School of Public and International Affairs Refugee Research Project was prompted by discussions among institutional partners in the aftermath of the 2015 refugee crisis in Europe. With the number of displaced people growing exponentially throughout the world due to failed or failing states, civil war, or other devastating conditions reaching over 68 million in 2017, rigorous research to inform policy decisions is a necessity. Institutional partners from the United States, Germany and Belgium decided to undertake a research platform that would address refugee integration into local communities, based on the combined areas of expertise of international partners, and allowing for methodological pluralism. Case studies in integration were undertaken in the European Union, the United States, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Mali, and Sri Lanka; where appropriate, the findings highlight global commonalities of processes of integration, and local population reception. This research team recognizes that while most countries in which case studies were undertaken make a genuine effort to invest in and provide mechanisms of integration for the refugees, there are limits to how many resources any country can invest in refugee integration, particularly considering the sky-rocketing numbers of displaced people around the world. That is precisely why projects like this are necessary to lift up experiences of integration, give credit where it is due to a country’s efforts, and emphasize the urgent need for adequate research to inform policy, so decisions are made based on facts and evidence, not hearsay or anecdotal evidence. This brief is organized into six sections: I. Methodologies, II. Data Sources, III. Findings, IV. Policy Recommendations, V. Institutional Partners, and VI. Participating Institutions and People. Findings are organized in three sub-sections: 1. Triggers and Journey, 2. Arrival, (Temporary) Stay and Processing, and 3. Integration. Policy recommendations are organized on the basis of the agency they target including, government, non-governmental institutions, the media, and donor organizations.