Global Studies Positioning Series (GSPS)
Migrant Youth and Global Cities
by Ali Alsmadi
The 2021 Global Studies Positioning Series featured six interdisciplinary lectures dedicated to studying global phenomena. In these lectures, the Center for the Study of Global Change brought national and international scholars together with IU faculty, staff, and students to present and discuss new perspectives on these global issues. In the spring, we held three lectures themed “Youth and Migration Discussion Series” that focused on the crisis of refugees and the aftermath of their displacement. For example, in February, Professor Patricia K. Kubow presented a lecture titled: “Syrian Refugees in a Host State: The Citizenship Identity Challenge for Syrian Students in Jordan’s Public Schools.” In March, Dr. Ozlem Erden gave a lecture titled: “Critical Analysis of Turkish Refugee Education Policies from 2011 to Today”. Dr. Erden discussed Turkey’s “guest discourse” of educational policies toward Syrian child refugees that led to the isolation of these children from the local children and immensely slowed down their learning process. Although Turkey moved on to a more integrating discourse, Dr. Erden indicated that the educational policies lacked proper preparation. The quick transition from one discourse to another furthered the child refugees’ academic and social problems. In April, Professor Jean Pierre Ndagijimana, a Rwandan Research Scholar and Visiting Global Fellow at the University of San Francisco, presented a lecture titled: “Complicating the ‘Forced’ Migration Narratives of Young Africans: Insecurity, Poverty, or Mundane Social Processes of Mobility?”. Dr. Ndagijimana discussed his experience with the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide and the refugees it produced and used it to develop educational and psychological strategies that could heal and reduce the traumatic symptoms the refugee experience.
The fall series themed “Resilient Global Cities” featured three lectures focused on the process and practices of resilience in global cities. In September, Dr. Eli Friedman presented a talk titled: “Rendered Surplus: The Struggle for Schooling Amidst Anti-Migrant Policies in Beijing.” Dr. Friedman discussed how the urbanization of Beijing affected education for rural migrants. In October, Professor Hilary Holbrow gave a lecture titled: “Temporary Migration and the Making of Ethnic Inequality.” Professor Holbrow discussed Japan’s Technical Intern Training Program (TITP) which brings young people from other parts of Asia to Japan to fill menial jobs temporarily. Dr. Holbrow argued, “by enabling dehumanizing and derogatory treatment of interns themselves, TITP may engender broader denigrating attitudes towards foreigners—attitudes which in turn have consequential and negative effects on opportunities and outcomes for foreign workers regardless of their individual visa or employment status.” In November, Rami Daher, an Associate Professor at the School of Architect and Built Environment at the German Jordanian University, presented a lecture titled: “Amman: Contesting Neoliberal Urban Transformations “Awareness Building, Resistance, and Activism.” Professor Daher discussed strategies to counter neoliberal urban transformation and to conserve public places of cultural heritage.