1st Global Conference
Migration and Diasporas
Saturday 2nd December 2017 – Sunday 3rd December 2017
Conference Abstracts and Papers
Resilience of Humanitarian Entrants to Pursuing Higher Education
Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute, Australia
Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute, Australia
Higher education, Humanitarian entrants, Australia, resilience
This paper looks at the recent experiences of humanitarian entrants in Australia accessing higher education in the course of their settlement in Australia. Based on practice-based research, the study attempts to broaden our understanding of the challenges faced and the opportunities taken to rebuild lives through education. While there is a lot of research that has focused on resettlement of refugees, there is a knowledge gap in the nuances of their spirit and strength in overcoming extreme conditions to aspire and achieve higher education. For the researchers, the importance of this has been highlighted in their work as practitioners in outreach to raise aspirations of under-represented groups in the Australian higher education system. For the researchers, the significance has been the resilience of individuals and groups in overcoming the lack of family and social networks, acculturation in a developed nation, English language proficiency, access to basic services, the experience of trauma of life threatening situations and more in their resettlement in Australia. Therefore, the aim of the study in relation to displaced people is threefold: (1) reveal barriers that influence achieving higher education (2) highlight the factors, that can influence individual aspirations (3) to inform effective Australian policies in broadening higher education participation.
The methodology employs narrative analysis of personal stories and case studies, drawing on secondary data of documentary movies. The study also draws on secondary data, such as publically available printed reports and news stories in an effort to deepen understanding of resilience in respect to higher education access of humanitarian entrants. The expected outcome of the study is to inform decision –makers of meeting specific needs of humanitarian entrants through policies.
“We are too old to learn”: Adult Refugees’ Perspectives on English as a Second Language Classes
Nazareth College & Refugees Helping Refugees, USA
refugees, resettlement, English classes, adult learners
This paper discusses adult refugees’ perspectives on English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. Adult refugees resettled in the United States and who are not speakers of English often take English language classes, either voluntarily, or as a requirement for receiving public assistance. Learning English is crucial for refugees’ successful resettlement, as language is often cited as a major barrier to accessing services, and for employment. While the importance of learning English is acknowledged, the provision of English as a Second Language classes varies in availability, accessibility, and quality. Success in learning English is often measured in written and spoken exams, which are administered at various stages as a basis for advancing students to different class levels. In addition to these exams, however, it is important to understand how refugees perceive these classes, not just in quality, but accessibility as well. In this study, five focus group discussions were held with refugees from five different language groups, taking ESL classes at a refugee service center at an urban area in western New York State. The students were asked to discuss their perceptions on the quality of the classes, improvements in written and spoken English, concerns and challenges of the program, and suggestions for improvement. The study revealed varied experiences in the program, including challenges with timing of classes and quality of instructions. Many of the older adult learners expressed that they were too old to learn English sitting in classrooms, and requested that non-classroom teaching and learning methods be considered.
A Comparative Study on the Relationship between the Cultural Oriented Strategies of EU and Non-EU Migrant Students over their Mental Health and their Academic Achievement: A Case Study of the Vienna University, Austria (poster)
Alpen-Adria University of Klagenfurt, Austria
Migrant, Mental Health, Academic Achievement, Cultural Oriented Strategies
Based on the statistics by the UN, in 2005 there were more than 195 million international migrants in the world; in fact, one out of every 33 people was a migrant. Europe has 34% of the international migrants and is the first in ranking among other continents. Communities and cultures change over time for a variety of reasons, including immigration. One of the implications of immigration is the issue of mental health and the educational performance of immigrants after entering another culture. In this context, knowledge and understanding of cultural factors can help to reduce the problems among immigrants via recognizing and scientific understanding of the issue. The main objective of this study is to investigate about the relationship between cultural-mindedness strategies with mental health and the academic performance of noun European migrant students and European students at the University of Vienna .The general research: Is there a relation between the acculturation strategies and the mental health and the academic performance of noun European immigrant students and non-European students of University of Vienna?The theoretical framework of this study is based on the approach of social psychology with an emphasis on Berry’s theory (1998).This study is descriptive. It is also an ex post facto research. The method of data collection is through field study and questionnaire. The Educational Pham and Taylor Performance Questionnaire (EPT), General Health Questionnaire with 28 questions (GHQ-28) and Acculturation Strategy Questionnaire will be adapted and revise for this study. In addition, library methods will be used for gathering information and setting the theoretical framework with reference to research, books, journals, dissertations, research projects, articles, and related web sites. The statistical population of the study includes 100 European and 100 nun European emigrant students of University of Vienna library.
Renegotiating Cultural Identity in Lahiri’s The Lowland
University of Vermont, USA
Nationalism, Citizenship, Diaspora, Cultural Identity, Communalism, Essentialism,
In this essay, I examine Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel The Lowland in order to
contemplate how our concepts of “nationalism” and “citizenship” are shifting. Theorists Franz Fanon and Stuart Hall are also crucial to the conversation as they shine light on the pitfalls of these unexplored concepts. The piece discusses how the concept of nationalism changed after decolonization as well as how nationalism is often used to ensure that the masses identify with a sense of nationhood rather than their class interests. After discussing how concepts of nation have changed, I look to Lahiri’s novel to offer insight into how one might go about cultural renegotiation in a time of migration and diaspora. The two main characters, Subhash and Gauri, are the focal point of this part of the piece because they exist in-between India and the United States through diaspora. Lahiri’s literary contribution demonstrates how it is possible to fight homogenization of peoples (specifically communalism) and celebrate dialectic negotiations of “home” as well as how such a negotiation is demonstrated through the diasporic self. The literary exploration is key to the piece because it allows us to push beyond just theory to contemplate what praxis might evolve out of these ideas. Literature has always served such a role and allows us to think creatively and critically about theory in practice. Such a discussion is overall essential in our given political climate since terms like “nation” (and related terms like “patriotism”) need to be re-examined as they promote hostile borders in an increasingly interconnected world. This work is ultimately a good fit for the Progressive Connexions organization as well because it brings the tools of academia into a real-world approach that seeks to alter our conceptions of how we navigate borders.
Displacement as a Celebration of Blurring in Amitav Ghosh’s Shadow Lines
Indian Institute of Management Indore, India
Displacement, Identity, Fluidity, Hegemony, Performative Self
The citizens of the post-globalized world are known for their mobility and adaptability in different situations. However, this same movement creates flux, which results in fluid and indescribable selves. The individual is then stuck between different spaces and is unable to choose the site of belonging. This generates constant displacement in the psyche of the individual.
This paper will study this phenomenon through an analysis of Amitav Ghosh’s Shadow Lines. It will also look at the manner in which the fluidity can be both crippling and empowering. The blurring of boundaries through the various displacements, be they personal or national in nature (through the Partition of Bengal), create in-between identities that move conflictedly across a spectrum of self-construction. The paper will attempt to examine these multiple identities in order to study the potential movement from conflict to liberation to empowerment that fluidity may provide.
The paper will also argue that constructs such as “home”, “nation”, “singular identity” are systemically flawed, circumscribed, and hegemonically promoted, while the performative reality of self is always in flux with blurred boundaries. It will study the narrative style to compare and contrast with the themes of flux and mobility in order to establish the ascendancy of the performative over the pedagogic.
Next Year in Jerusalem or in New York?
Bar Ilan University, Israel
One of the first known Diasporas is the Jewish one. It is characterised by Jewish people dispersed from their homeland, Israel, longing for it and aiming for an eventual return.
This presentation focuses on the notion of home and homeland in the identity and identification of Jewish women in Brussels. In this presentation I describe community ceremonies where collective memories are built and reinforced.
Looking at the characteristics of Diaspora, I discuss the assumption of Clifford (1994) that not all criteria are valid for all Diasporas. I look in particular at the notion of “Home and Homeland.” Furthermore, I discuss the assumption of Magid (2006), analysing the experiences of Jewish women in Brussels and claim that the term “homeland” needs to be reviewed as a characteristic of the Jewish Diaspora.
I do not say that Israel has no longer an important place in lives of Jews, on the contrary; the State of Israel is an important element in the formation of the Jewish identity – both personal and collective – but I do say that many Jewish women interviewed feel that the country of residency is “home” for them. I argue that the notion of homeland has to be looked at differently. Israelis see Israel as their homeland and home in most cases. Jewish women describe a different feeling towards Israel as a home. The land holds a meaningful place in their heart and in some cases in their lives, but it will not necessarily be their “home”.
Ine van Emmerik
Western Kentucky University USA
Dr. Miwon Choe
Extravaleren, Utrecht Netherlands
Literacy, inner house, empathic imagination, education, self-knowledge, creative-social learning, active pluralism
Builds herself a house
She befits letters to stichworts
Roof and doors
To inhabit it
With her words
To live there with language.
Every migrant (every human being one might say) experiences a transition when moving to another place to live. You not only have to find yourself a physical place to live, you are also rebuilding your identity, in a new house of language and images. Mastering the language of your new place to live is also rebuilding your own inner house, reframing your identity to a new setting, built on fundaments of what’s already developed through your life till that point in time.
In the process of learning a language, you have to envision your inner spaces, the different rooms of your house. You develop knowledge of yourself and in the educational process you get more rooted into society by building relations with teachers, other students, coaches, peers. This process works twofold: you explore both the inner house of the other and your own. In this process, you develop a deeper understanding of different cultural realities. By enlarging their own inner world, both ‘student’ and ‘teacher’ enhance their skills for emphatic imagination.
Tugging at the Heart Strings – Is Affective Exhibition Design Able to Effect Change in Museum Visitors’ Perception of Refugees and Migrants?
Christopher Thorsten Sommer
University of Oldenburg, Germany
Museum, Migration, Affective Exhibition Design, Contact Zone
In the last ten years the protagonists of migration, both voluntary and forced, made their way into national and local historical narratives at a variety of museums, some purpose-build to exhibit migration history, some focusing more broadly on national or local history. During exhibition development museum staff often attempts to liaison with ethnic communities or communities of interest, either in an advisory role or as full partners that can actively influence the shape of an exhibition. Displays feature emotionally charged immersive environments that focus on narrative and personal stories. A meta-narrative of successful establishment is the preferred form of representing immigration including refugee resettlement. This is tempered by sub-plots of failure, discrimination, exclusion, displacement and hardship, but they are often not a prominent feature of the exhibitions.
Central to these developments is an ‘affective turn’: affective exhibition design is a mainstay of representing migration history, a global trend that aims to create affective environments that not only engage visitors emotionally (for instance leading to empathy), but also offer a theatrical experience. In evoking empathy, and in enabling visitors to relate to refugees past or present, the paradigm of multiculturalism is presented as a positive and enriching concept that overcomes preceding notions of ‘nation’ and ‘national identity’ based on a monocultural paradigm. This ‘affective turn’ in exhibition design is directly connected to the emergence of new multicultural or even transcultural master narratives.
First I would like to explore this phenomenon in a presentation that compares overseas exhibitions (New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the USA) with European institutions. Visitor perceptions, the effect of affective strategies and their shortcomings will be discussed, leading to a deeper understanding of the role the museum plays in the current refugee crisis and how it can be an institution of change.
Secondly I would like to host a workshop or round table that explores these topics with conference attendees. Given that attendees do not necessarily have a museum background I envisage a discussion that focuses on concrete solutions how the museum can support NGO’s, social workers, artists, policy makers etc. and I would hope to establish a nascent network, that collaborates with museums to effect change.
Narrative of Displacement: Stories of Migration and the Power of a Community’s Resilience
SRD Foundation, USA
SRD Foundation, USA
SRD Foundation, USA
SRD Foundation, USA
The conflict in Syria has resulted in the largest refugee crisis since World War Two, displacing over 6.3 million people. Those who have fled have not done so without looking back. Syrian-Americans who migrated to the United States both before and during the conflict have been monumental in the organization, programming, and fundraising of aid for those remaining in Syria. Outside of those directly participating in the humanitarian response, displaced Syrian artists, writers, and filmmakers have worked to ensure that the conflict in Syria remains in the global public conscious. Artists and journalists such as the members of Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS) have contributed significantly in shaping the public understanding of the conflict and encouraging empathy for those affected.
Syrian-diaspora organizations through working with local actors stepped up during the past 7 years to have a seat on the decision making table alongside international actors and significant donors. Such organizations have prioritized the needs of their communities back home and contributed to support refugees and immigrants in their communities where they live.
In our round table discussion, we will examine the impact of diaspora community members carrying their narrative forward as a response and tool relating the conflicts or emergencies they’ve experienced. We will discuss how the inclusion of local actors in humanitarian programming improves an organization’s ability to respond to context specific situations and treats conflict affected populations as implementing partners rather than victims in need of assistance.
The discussion will be interactive where participants will share experiences based on their own unique context that comes from their countries of residence, and contribute to the outcomes of the session in the form of lesson learned and recommendations.
Journey Narratives of Eritrean Refugees living in The Netherlands: Becoming and Being a Refugee-Notions of Time, Place and Home
Supervising Gender Specialist, The Philippines
Eritrean refugees, refugee journeys, time, place, home
This paper analyzes the journey narratives of Eritrean refugees in The Netherlands in their becoming and being refugees. It consists of the different constructions of the participants’ journeys through its beginning or ending; an (un)imagined destination; and narratives of uncertainties. The study illustrates that focusing on refugees’ own meaning and narratives of their journeys helps in understanding the ‘temporalities’ and ‘permanence of temporariness’ in becoming and being a refugee.
I argue that the participants’ notions of time, place and home were altered while becoming and being a refugee as demonstrated by their narratives of waiting, enforced idleness and being made to wait especially before and after being granted refugee status. Important places like host countries of refugees can both be a place of ‘opportunity’ and ‘constraints’.
In addition, some journeys were constructed as open-ended or commences without physically leaving/fleeing ones country. The highlighted narrative is that, the refugee status does guarantee progression since refugees are still trapped in the expiration of their temporary residence and in the uncertainty of the end of their journeys as refugees.
The findings also demonstrate that ‘Time’ is considered a ‘valuable commodity’ that has been useful, but is also lost and will never be recovered. These findings illustrate that temporal conditions imposed by asylum procedures should be viable because for refugees, time is critical which can either be “oppressive when […] too slow” or might put them in a time trap (Cwerner 2001: 21).
I hope that this paper will give voice to the refugees whose narratives are part of the global narratives of refugees but are most often misrepresented or not heard.
How Real is Fictional Empathy? The Role of Literature in the Discourse on Global Migration
refugees, literature, empathy, multiculturalism, Canada, humanitarian appeal campaigns, literary fiction
Could a fictional representation of Canadian empathy toward refugees encourage readers to accept real-world refugees? What conditions must be met for a novel to nudge its readers toward a change in attitude about vulnerable people seeking entrance to nations of the Global North? This discussion-based presentation uses a novel in progress (the presenter’s dissertation project) as a jumping-off point for reflection on the role of literature in the discourse on global migration.
Literary fiction has been linked to the ability to effect change and promote empathy for the “other.” Scholars such as Martha Nussbaum believe literature can help readers imagine those who are culturally different – after all, novels ask you to step into the shoes of diverse characters. But that emotional gesture may mask underlying power imbalances, according to scholars such as Lauren Berlant. And empathy, suggests Carolyn Pedwell, may be nothing more than an act of imperfect translation, requiring one to acknowledge the foreignness of the “other,” and to transform oneself in order to understand those from different cultures. Even the Canadian ideal of multiculturalism is falling from grace: although applauded by the international community, Canada’s multicultural policy is seen by scholars such as Augie Fleras as increasingly problematic in a globalized, hyper-connected, intersectional world.
So what impact can a Canadian novel about cross-cultural empathy have on today’s discourse about migration? To explore fiction’s potential to encourage empathy toward refugees, this presentation includes a brief introduction of the concepts above, followed by a reading from the presenter’s novel in progress. The novel focuses on a Canadian character who creates a humanitarian appeal campaign in support of Syrian refugees, and the implications of that ad campaign on both donors and recipients. The presentation will also incorporate clips from real-world appeal campaign videos, and possibly a short writing exercise, to help spark discussion. Participants will also be asked to reflect on reading experiences that changed their existing perspectives.
Human Mobility and Plurinationality: The Catalan Case
Facultad de Politicas y Sociologia. Universidad Complutense de Madrid
migration; human mobility; plurinationality; catalunya; nation-state; identities; north-africa
Catalunya has been – and still is – one of the main migration receptors in the Spanish State. Historically, Catalunya has been a receptive centre of immigration, absorbing the so called internal migration from workers coming from Andalucia, Murcia or Galicia. However in the past few decades there has been a radical change in the patterns of human mobility, as the migrants that Catalunya now receives are fundamentally from north-africa. At the same time this occurs, the debate about the catalan national identity and its indepedentista revendications cannot be ignored and constitute one of the main debates – and one of the main challenges – in the spanish political agenda.
Taking these two assertions, this research intends to deepen the concept of human mobility to include both type of migrants (the catalan exodus -exilio- as consequence of the economic crisis and the migrants from north-africa). Additionally, the relation between these emerges the need to reformulate the concept of plurinationality, to include and recognize the diversity of the catalan nation that is in dispute and to pinpoint exactly which place those migrants take up at the construction of that society.
For that, my proposal is to organize a workshop or a debate about “human mobility and plurinationality: the catalan case”.
‘Expat-Preneurs’: An Unexplored Potential Source of Economic Growth For Developing Countries? A State of the Art Literature Review.
University of Wroclaw, Poland
Expat-preneurs, ethnic entrepreneurs, ethnic entrepreneurship, migrant entrepreneurs, migration, lifestyle migration, mixed-embeddedness
The large majority of migrants move to countries which are more economically developed than the country they leave behind. Therefore, it is no surprise, that – when it comes to the phenomenon of ethnic entrepreneurs – the large majority of studies have almost exclusively focused on entrepreneurs who fit within this context. A good example is Ward’s study of Afro-Caribbean, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi migrant entrepreneurs in the UK (Ward, 1987). What has been less studied is ethnic entrepreneurs who have migrated in a counter direction, that is to say, relocating from more economically developed countries to less economically developed countries. For example, a German IT professional who emigrates to the Philippines,
where he/she establishes and runs a web design company; or a Canadian who emigrates to Mexico to set up and run a surf school. In order to differentiate this phenomenon from traditional ethnic entrepreneurs, the term “expat-preneur” is suggested. What is known about expat-preneurs? What studies and research have been carried out so far? Despite having potentially very positive economic effects for the host country, there appears to be a large gap in the literature. This state of the art aims to summarise the small number of studies which have been conducted so far, and subsequently shed light on areas for possible future research.
Hapsburg Empire, European Union: Past as Prologue
Air War College, USA
Otto von Habsburg, son of the last Austro-Hungarian emperor repeatedly stated “I am a European.” A voting member of the European parliament, he was equally open about the fact that he felt the European Union was a worthy successor to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and that the continents’ problems could only be solved by uniting.
Yet for much of the 20th century the dominant answer to providing security, stability and peace in the face of ethnic and religious differences in Europe was increased segregation and Balkanization … from the creation of new states after World War I based upon Woodrow Wilson’s 14 points, to ethnic and religious expulsions and killings during and then after World War II, to the breakup of the Soviet Union, to the wars in the Balkans during the 1990s.
At the same time, however, western European elites involved with the construction of the Western European Union in 1948 (WEU) and the European Union (from its roots in the 1950s) began to roll back the dominant position that nationalism and religion played in defining Europe. At the highest levels, leaders desired to forge a meta-identity, one that would gradually grow and eventually replace national and religious identity. While no one expected traditional identities to vanish overnight, they would eventually be hollowed out and filled in by a new globalized European outlook.
The EU faces many problems today. But arguably the most critical issue, from a European security and stability standpoint, is taking in and successfully integrating enormous numbers of culturally distant ethnic groups migrating into Europe; and this on a scale not seen since World War II. Migrant groups come principally, though not exclusively, from the Middle East and Africa and they are more distant from the dominant European cultures than was ever the case regarding intra-European migration.
As the EU rejects the idea of segregation and embraces a multi-cultural and globalized Europe it should per force look at what might have been. The Habsburg Empire was one that successfully managed a multiethnic and polyglot state for the better part of a millennia, and we forget about the example it provides because of the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the descent of the empire and Europe into the inferno of World War I. But Franz Ferdinand was not preordained to die, and many of his and his colleagues ideas for reforming the empire raise serious and critical questions for us today about migration, integration and creating a unified globalized European identity. Perhaps, in the current European migration crisis, the EU needs to look less towards Brussels and more towards Vienna a century ago.
Migration: A Security Threat or Securitisation Process?
Zeynep Ece Unsal
Istanbul Gelisim University, Republic of Turkey
Cyber Security, Corporate Security and Crisis Management Initiative, Republic of Macedonia
Security, migration, migrants, terrorism, EU policies
Migration is as old concept as human history. When we look at the history of humanity, there had been a migration movement in the establishment story of almost every nation-state. These migratory movements had occurred either to ensure the safety of the nation or to achieved better living conditions. At that time, the concept of migration, which is perceived as a natural result of the needs of the societies, is now being placed in many different forms. After the two World Wars and Cold War security threat, a more peaceful international society was expected, but the world has begun to meet new security threats. The concept of migration and terrorism and especially the direct or indirect relations between these concepts have begun to be considered as new security threats. The attacks of September 11th have been a milestone in the consolidation of this perception. With similar attacks taking place in Europe, immigrants directly have become percept as a security threat by the nation states. Today, there are many different flow of migration due to the different reasons. In this paper, the relationship between migration and terrorism will be examined and an analysis of the EU’s approach to the refugee crises resulting from the Syrian civil war will be conducted. Is there a direct relationship between immigration and terrorism? Who are the perpetrator of terrorist attacks that occurred in Europe after 2001? Should every migrant be considered a possible criminal? How can we explain the foreign fighters in Europe in such a pre-acceptance way? Is migration a threat to the security of nation states or is it part of process of securitisation migration by policy makers? What are the possible predictions for the next EU immigration policy?
Effects of Securitization: Increased Security Risks of Unsettled Refugees
Refugees, Securitization, Human Trafficking, Human Security, UNHCR
Securitization refers to an assemblage of speech-acts, which move topics from political to security discourse. This paper studies how securitization of refugees has affected self-settled urban refugees and refugees who are still on the move. Using the UNHCR as the focal point that represents the opinions of global North, the paper focuses on how the securitization of refugees has affected the responses of governments and counter-reactions from refugees. From there the paper moves on to look closer at the harshening responses of the receiving countries and the viable strategies that the refugees are left with, notably self-settling or embarking on dangerous journeys. The paper establishes that securitization has led to an increase of security threats that the refugees have to face, both in severity and quantity. As crossing the borders to safety has become more difficult, refugees are increasingly pushed to use the services of human smugglers, which notably increases their risk of ending up as human trafficking victims. Disabling responses towards self-settled refugees in the global South also often creates easy supply for human traffickers. As reactions stemming from securitization pushes refugees to the hands of smugglers and to situations without access to justice, the refugee movements have become possibly a notable income mechanism for terrorist organizations, militant groups and organized crime. If actors behind human smuggling and trafficking also pose a grave international security threat it means that securitization of refugees has not only worsened their security, but the whole international security situation. The paper concludes that securitization is not only harmful to refugees, but that it also creates a vicious circle of further securitization.
Xenophobia and discriminatory attitudes towards Mozambican immigrants in South Africa
Monash University, Australia
Xenophobia, Discrimination, Attitudes, Immigrants, Mozambique, South Africa
South Africa is viewed as a country in political transition whereby xenophobic violence and discriminatory attitudes towards immigrants have been labelled as the “dark side of democracy”, a “new pathology”, “apartheid vertigo” and evidence of the “demonic” nature of South African society. The spirit of Ubuntu has been defined only for the benefit of South Africans and has not been extended to African immigrants from other African States.. This paper explores and describes the lived experiences regarding xenophobic and discriminatory attitudes towards Mozambican immigrants’ in South Africa. The present study was part of a larger investigation, and this paper focuses on qualitative, exploratory, descriptive and contextual approach using individually written narratives on xenophobic experiences. Thematic analysis was used to tease out different themes in the data. Mozambican immigrants reported frequently experiencing xenophobic attacks and discrimination on the part of South Africans. We recommend, amongst others, that there be a new approach to South Africa’s migration policy and its implementation.