Yale hosts a series of international seminars on refugees and forced displacement
Tuesday’s event on the Syrian refugee crisis marks the start of the 10th series of seminars in Yale’s program on refugees, forced displacement and humanitarian responses.
Yale Daily News
On Tuesday, the Yale MacMillan Center hosted the first event in its 10th series of refugee program seminars, titled “What Is Home? Stories of belonging to the new Syrian diaspora.
The seminar series, which began in 2017, is an initiative of Yale’s Program in Refugees, Forced Displacement, and Humanitarian Responses, also known as PRFDHR. The initiative is chaired by economics professor Musfiq Mobarak, who has research specialties in developing countries.
“Yale should study or contribute in some way to the understanding [forced displacement]said Mobarak. “The question was, how do we design a program, and what is Yale’s comparative advantage?”
Mobarak noted that the seminar series aims to facilitate the global exchange of ideas needed to fulfill the mission of the PRFDHR – and that the seminar series aligns with the goals of the PRFDHR to provide avenues for research and teaching. , as well as advancing the state of knowledge to support policy responses.
The seminar series, Mobarak said, is one of many initiatives launched by the program to create a community for those interested in forced displacement and refugee studies.
Program Director Teresa Delgado took charge of the seminar series in 2019 and has witnessed its growth.
“He’s grown a lot,” Delgado said. “We are very happy because our role is to disseminate … the research that has been done on the subject.”
Delgado also noted that the reach of the seminar has grown significantly since she began working on the program. While previous seminars averaged around 300 virtual viewers, the latest seminar in the series “When Does Migration Law Discriminate Against Women?” featuring Oxford University lecturer Catherine Briddick, received over 2,000 spectators from around the world.
Mobarak and Delgado emphasized the seminar’s global reach — its audience members connect from New Haven and the United States to Lebanon and Turkey.
“One thing we’ve done that’s different with the seminar series compared to most seminars at Yale is that it’s open to the public and open to the public around the world,” Mobarak said. “Many of our seminars are attended by people from countries that host large numbers of refugees.”
Delgado noted that this diversity carries over to the speakers themselves.
When Delgado searched for speakers, she said she hoped to find experts in multidisciplinary academic fields, from political science to economics, and scholars both at home and abroad.
“I try to diversify as much as possible from different perspectives,” Delgado said.
Wendy Pearlman, a professor of political science at Northwestern University, who spoke at Tuesday’s event about her research interviews with Syrian refugees, migrants and asylum seekers, underscored the unique nature of the event. academic, which she felt was more commitment-oriented than she was used to. .
“The real purpose of the conference was to read excerpts from the interviews themselves,” Pearlman said. “It was much more focused on sharing stories and presenting voices than on literature and scholarly findings.”
Pearlman also thought the seminar series was extremely valuable for its distinctive perspectives and found it to be a great way to learn about the views of its community of topics.
Pearlman added that she appreciates the engagement she has received from global audiences – especially as she is in the early stages of a new book project, covering the research she discussed at the event. .
“I was thrilled when I saw the list of attendees that there were a lot of Syrians and Syrian Americans,” Pearlman said. “It opened up a space for people to… share their own experiences.”
The next seminar in the series – focusing on market structure and extortion in El Salvador and moderated by Princeton University professor María Micaela Sviatschi – will take place on Tuesday, February 22 at Henry R. Luce Hall.