Session 5

Dealing with Displacement: Refugees, Human Rights, and International Policy- Panel

(Moderator: Steven Schroeder)

One of the major humanitarian consequences of war is human displacement. The question of displacement and state responsibility has become even more pertinent in the past several years, especially with the on-going war in Syria. This round table explores and critically examines such issues, focusing on the successes and failures of refugee assimilation in the US, Turkey, and elsewhere; local and international policy surrounding refugees, and; collective education around this vulnerable worldwide population.

“Building Collective Resilience and Trauma-Awareness among Refugee Populations in North Carolina”, Jeremy Rinker (University of North Carolina-Greensboro)

  • While limited understanding between both the newly arrived and long-time citizens act to maintain separate discourses about the added value of refugees and immigrants, it is argued here that building shared narratives about the refugee experience is critical to overcoming the social discord among Bhutanese refugees and between these refugees and citizens of their adopted homeland in the Triad of North Carolina. A general lack of understanding of the ‘other’ does little to create an outlet for the collective trauma among the newly arrived, or the nationalist chosen traumas of the average Triad citizen. This paper will be a summary of findings from an on-going community wellness project among Triad Bhutanese communities - - a project aimed at building collective social resilience.

“The Middle Eastern Refugee Dilemma: Humanitarian and Political Aspect”, Ali Askarov (University of North Carolina-Greensboro)

  • As the new wave of the violent conflict in the Middle East has caused a grave humanitarian crisis, it has become apparent that most European countries are reluctant to accept refugees from the Middle East. Turkey is the largest receiver of refugees and perhaps the host country that has offered the best opportunities for its refugees. This paper will discuss the basic policies of the Turkish government to address refugee problems in the country and examine the details of the negotiation between the EU and Turkey.

“When the Local is Global: Exploring Global Critical Pedagogies in Refugee Education”, Daniel Rhodes (University of North Carolina-Greensboro)

  • The global West has historically suffered from ethnocentrism and Westerners often do not feel the need to understand or respect those from other cultures. However, with the dramatic increase in refugee and immigrant populations, those who live in the West no longer have the luxury to ignore the sociopolitical events that lead to mass migration. This paper will be drawing from such critical theorists as Kwame Anthony Appiah, with his ideas of “Rooted Cosmopolitanism,” and Edward Said’s ideas of “Orientalism” as context to frame the importance of global critical pedagogy in helping educators and students understand the diversity and complexity in how our local communities are now becoming global communities.

“Critical Analysis of Resettlement Policy in the US: State Variations and Refugee Outcomes”, Amal Khoury (Global Studies Department, University of North Carolina-Charlotte)

  • As of December 2015, a record high 65.3 million people were displaced from their homes by conflict and persecution. Only about 1% of the 21.3 million refugees worldwide are resettled to third countries every year following a thorough and lengthy process of selection and vetting by UNHCR and the admitting country. While the United States accounts for a small percentage of such resettlements, it is important to study the resettlement experiences of displaced communities in the U.S. and critically analyze the variation in state-level resettlement programs that lead to different experiences for refugees. My study not only investigates the policies but ultimately seeks to reveal the impact of resettlement policies on the refugees themselves and understand how issues like cross- cultural educational differences, language barriers, cultural differences, precarious financial condition, and anti-refugee sentiment, to name a few, can generate serious obstacles in the process of their resettlement. This critical examination seeks to inform more effective resettlement policies and programs that can meet the demands of the increasing humanitarian crises.

​Tools for Coping with and Overcoming Student Burnout- Roundtable

Dean J. Johnson (West Chester University)

In such a time as this student activists regularly experience depression and burnout. Many of us try to encourage self care. Faculty, what tools have you introduced or used with student activists to assist with self care? What are some ways you help students cope with depression and burnout? Students, what has been helpful to you when dealing with burnout and depression related to your political activism? What are your tools for self care? Come join the conversation...

UAB Peace and Human Rights Studies - Roundtable

Tina Kempin Reuter (University of Alabama at Birmingham), Douglas Fry (University of Alabama at Birmingham), Ajanet Rountree (University of Alabama at Birmingham), Nicholas Sherwood (University of Alabama at Birmingham), D. Antranet (University of Alabama at Birmingham), Lee Hicks-Stewart (University of Alabama at Birmingham), Caitlin Beard (University of Alabama at Birmingham/Southern Poverty Law Center), and David J. Smith (George Mason University/Forage Center for Peacebuilding)

This roundtable discussion focuses on the development of peace and human rights studies at UAB. It will review the development of new programs integrating peace and human rights, especially the Master’s degree in Anthropology of Peace and Human Rights, the Institute for Human Rights, and other curriculum and research related innovations. Participants will also consider how these new programs fit within the context of Birmingham’s history, the civil rights movement, and peace, social justice, and human rights issues at the local, regional, national, and international level. Finally, the roundtable will look at the need for bridge building and promotion of dialogue across different cultural, socioeconomic, and political divides and how programs like the ones developed at UAB in peace and human rights can foster understanding and contribute to civil discourse.

Nonviolent Resistance in the Trump Era: Insights from Peace Science- Workshop

​​David Prater (War Prevention Initiative)

As evident in the literature, nonviolent movements are on the rise and are an increasingly effective form of resistance against various forms of violence and repression. The current U.S. socio-political reality calls for the development and analysis of nonviolent resistance movements, given that the term “resistance” is being used in a broad framework of challenging the agenda of President Trump. Insecurity and injustice have only become more aggravated with the current U.S. administration and the global rise of nationalist-oriented political discourse.

The expanding academic field of Peace and Conflict Studies produces high volumes of significant research, often underutilized by the many possible beneficiaries. Peace Science made available by the field’s academics—who sometimes are practitioners themselves—is a tremendous resource to those interested in nonviolent resistance. Utilizing these insights is especially important when considering strategic movement building and deliberate action to achieve campaign goals. This workshop will discuss how nonviolent resistance movements, and individuals, can use insights from Peace Science to inform strategic resistance and apply the appropriate pressure on relevant actors to bring about desired change. Together, we will examine nonviolent campaigns currently addressing U.S. foreign and domestic policy and consider how selected resistance literature, nonviolent movement monitoring groups, civilian peace teams, and other resources might inform and assist these movements. By including participants, I hope to encourage a conversation with academics, activists, and practitioners on how bridging the gap between Peace Science and peace action can assist in the proliferation and success rate of nonviolent resistance movements.

Islamophobia Workshop : The Empowerment of Hate- Workshop

Khaula Hadeed (Council on American-Islamic Relations)

The Status of Civil and Human rights of American Muslims, a Religious Minority in the United States

In 2016, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) recorded a 57% increase in anti-Muslim bias incidents over 2015. This was accompanied by a 44% increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes in the same period. From 2014 to 2016, anti-Muslim bias incidents jumped 65 percent. In that two-year period, CAIR noted that hate crimes targeting Muslims surged 584 percent.

The workshop will offer an in-depth, comprehensive reflection on the implications of bias due to Islamophobia in the U.S., also a noted trend in the past election cycle and under the current administration. The trend has contributed to an erosion of constitutional protections and rights of all Americans. The workshop will also include a discussion on the pervasiveness and impact of Islamophobia in the workplace and in educational institutions. It will offer recommendations, methods, and strategies for proactive steps that can create and nurture positive and inclusive environments.

Saturday Solutions: Reducing Conflict in Under-served Communities thru Student and Parent Training- Workshop

Jameria Johnson Moore (Attorney and mediator, Common Ground Mediation Solutions), Angelina J. Sperling (Attorney and mediator, Common Ground Mediation Solutions) 

Saturday Solutions is the brain child of Common Ground Mediation. The founders of both the program and company are Jameria Johnson Moore and Angelina J. Sperling. Both are licensed attorneys and registered mediators in the State of Alabama. Their mission is to foster peace through the teaching and training of conflict resolution. This requires the study of different types of conflicts which will prepare parents, teachers, and students to effectively promote and encourage nonviolent, collaborative and peaceful ways to resolve conflict.

Because they truly believe in their mission they have created a conflict resolution program for parents and students called Saturday Solutions. While the primary focus of education is predominately on academic skills, they believe that life skills are equally important. Conflict is a fact of life and is here to stay. In fact, conflict that is not dealt with effectively can be one of the biggest detriments to success, both in school as well as in life. Thus, the school environment must become a training ground instead of a battleground.

For three decades studies continue to show that the majority of surveyed teachers feel that aggressive students undermine learning for others and most feel that academic achievement would improve dramatically if the problem was remedied (Heydenbeck & Heydenbeck, p. 164). Saturday Solutions will address not only the aggression but a plethora of contributing factors that create disturbances for teachers and administrators. They want students as well as parents to take a proactive instead of a reactive role in deescalating and resolving conflict. Hopefully, this training will also improve the students’ social and emotional skills.

"Peace Has No Borders"- Film

Deb Ellis (Co-Director of Peace Has No Borders/Associate Professor & Director of Film and Television Studies, University of Vermont)

Escaping one battlefield for another, contemporary soldiers of conscience wage a 10-year fight to avoid deportation and punishment if returned to the U.S. from Canada.