Refugee Studies Resources

Gilman Foreign Policy in Focus: Refugees and Migration Virtual Seminar Series - June 1 – June 29, 2023

Seminar 1: Introduction to Foreign Policy in Focus: Refugees and Migration

June 1, 2023, 12:00-1:30 ET

Seminar 1: An Introduction
Seminar Files
  1. According to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, the definition of a refugee is someone who is outside of their home country and unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin due to a well-founded fear of being persecuted because of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, and political opinion.
  2. 83% of refugees are hosted in low and middle – income countries. Although many refugees do reside in refugee camps, the reality is that the majority live outside of camps (in urban and peri-urban areas, informal tent settlements or rural communities).
  3. There are three “durable solutions” for refugees that are supported by the UNHCR and global community: (a) resettlement into a third country, (b) voluntary repatriation to the country of origin; or (c) local integration into a country of asylum.

UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) Global Trends Report — This annual report conducted by the UNHCR provides an overview of refugee trends around the world.

Refuge: Rethinking Refugee Policy in a Changing World — In Refuge, Betts and Collier seek to broaden the understanding of the contemporary global refugee crisis by addressing the failures of the historical international refugee regime. As both authors argue that there is a lack of comprehensive solutions, they also look to reinstate clarity regarding refugee policies as they assess the cause and effect of such issues; ultimately proposing their own humanitarian approach to the problem.

Displaced Podcast - Alex Aleinikoff: “Let’s Start With How We Define ‘Refugee’” — Former UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees, Alex Aleinikoff, discusses why the definition of a refugee and how the way that people think about the entire international refugee regime needs to change. In an engaging and challenging conversation with hosts, Ravi and Grant, this podcast implements a historical perspective while also addressing the question of “burden-sharing” and who truly has a responsibility to protect refugees?

Refugees vs. Migrants – What's the Difference — A short educational YouTube video quickly explains the difference between a refugee and a migrant by defining each term individually.

Key Migration Terms — A list of important terms related to migration and refugees as well as their definitions.

Seminar 2: The Global Policies and Politics of Refugee Protection: The Current System and the Path Forward

June 8, 2023, 12:00-1:30 ET

The Global Policies and Politics of Refugee Protection: The Current System and the Path Forward

Seminar Files

Recomended Readings

Live Links From Webinar

  1. The colloquial way refugees are defined and the legal definition under the 1951 Convention have consequential differences as to who is recognized as a refugee. The way that states govern different demographics of refugees is based on the title or labels inscribed on them. For example, being an IDP versus being a refugee dictates what kind of access to rights, resources, territory, aid, and action they can get. 
  2. Arar and FitzGerald(2022): A systems approach to understanding refugees shows how refugeehood - the experience of becoming and being a refugee interacts with refugeedom - the relationship between refugees, state, and society. 
  3. The Grand Compromise (Cuellar, 2006): There is a system of global refugee management in which states in the Global South host most of the world’s refugees and states in the Global North finance refugee hosting abroad. States actively seek to control and maintain global migration movements–their political interests and institutional imperatives play a key role in shaping refugee experiences and the way the world understands varying refugee situations. 

1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees — The 1951 UN Convention and its 1967 Protocol are the key legal instruments that form the basis of the international refugee regime. These documents define what a refugee is, identify the rights associated with refugee status and the legal obligations that states have to protect a refugee under international refugee and human rights law.

The Refugee System: A Sociological Approach — Forming a backdrop to explore and explain the current refugee system, this book focuses on the story of a Syrian family spread across multiple countries. In a deep analysis, Arir and Fitzgerald offer valuable insight into the structures of the international refugee regime and how migration movements are shaped.

Global Refugee Crisis Overwhelms Humanitarian Aid System and Exacerbates Its Shortcomings” — As war, conflict, and persecution have caused massive amounts of forced displacement worldwide, the international humanitarian aid system is failing to effectively help those in need, which is fueling calls for reform.

Our Refugee System is Failing. Here’s How We Can Fix It — In his Ted Talk, Betts discusses the critical shortcomings of our responses and solutions for helping refugees. He argues that refugees are a shared global responsibility, yet our anti-immigrant and anti-refugee policies are detrimentally impacting our ability to adequately assist these demographics in need.


Seminar 3: Exploring Experiences of Refugees and Migrants through Case Studies

June 15, 2023, 12:00-1:30 ET

Exploring Experiences of Refugees and Migrants through Case Studies

Seminar Files

Resources Referenced in Seminar

Amali Tower, Climate Refugees: 

Sahra Ismail and Mark Okello Oyat, Education in Dadaab:

  1. Climate impacts like rapid onset events (natural disasters, heavy precipitation) and slow onset events (sea level rise, deforestation) drive displacement across borders. Climate is not included under the 1951 UN Convention as grounds for asylum, ultimately creating a legal gap and a lack of social protections for vulnerable populations. 
  2. Through education, refugees in the Dadaab Refugee Camp can become not only leaders, innovators, advocates, breadwinners, researchers, and incentive workers but they can also construct their own identities beyond the camp community. While education is a powerful, important, and critical tool for refugees, the Dadaab Refugee Camp has limited and unsustainable access to higher education and inadequate funding for both teachers and students. 
  3. While provisions of humanitarian aid focus on the loss of belongings, for internally displaced persons they strive to regain a sense of normalcy and stability in their lives as they struggle with the inability to plan for their futures. Displacement is an existential condition that lasts for decades and requires solutions to be grounded in the local context of that displacement rather than a top-down approach.

Living, Learning and Teaching in Dadaab — This webpage provides a brief overview describing the makeup of the Dadaab Refugee Camp in Northeast Kenya. It offers details into the different refugee populations that occupy this area and also explains reasons for forced displacement. Finally, this article touches on the importance of education as well as the challenges that refugees face in obtaining higher educational opportunities.

Africa’s Biggest Refugee Camp to Expand as Kenya Approves More Land for Dadaab — A short video describing the conditions of Dadaab Refugee Camp and Kenya’s plans for expansion. It features interviews with refugees and genuine footage from the camp which ultimately provides personal insight and details regarding this specific refugee crisis.

A Refugee at 4, He Felt Like a Lost Star. Now His Voice Shines in a Graphic Memoir — In a candid interview, Omar Mohamed describes his personal refugee story from living in the Dadaab Refugee Camp to going to school to resettling in Arizona and ultimately writing his own graphic novel.

Life and Inspiration in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp: Moulid Hujale at TEDxMogadishu — As a former refugee living in Dadaab, Moulid describes the troubling conditions of the camp and explains how he worked to partner with several organizations to provide education, training, and other important resources to the youth.


Education: Needs, Rights and Access in Displacement — This comprehensive report features the voices of displaced students as they reveal the significance of education in their lives as well as the various obstacles, they face in gaining access to educational opportunities. Covering a wide range of topics, this review offers diverse and critical insight into the transformative power of education for refugees while advocating for better accessibility and support.

Hosting States and Unsettled Guests: Eritrean Refugees in a Time of Migration Deterrence — Riggan and Poole utilize ethnographic interviews to craft a nuanced and detailed perspective on the challenges Eritrean refugees face in Ethiopia. They specifically address the issue of educational opportunities, arguing that education is "teleological violence," by which they mean it gives refugees hope and a narrative for the future, but for a future that will never come.

REACH: Research, Education, and Action for Refugees Around the World — This webpage addresses a number of diverse topics related to migration and refugee education. The mission of REACH is focused on making educational opportunities accessible for young people everywhere by engaging educators, policymakers, and researchers to fulfill these goals.

School Started by Refugees Becomes One of Uganda’s Best — An article about the success of an educational project created by a group of Congolese refugees and the powerful ways that education can be used to alleviate poverty, conflict, and economic instability.

An Agent of Change — An animated story creatively bringing to life the stories of different refugee students and teachers living in Dadaab Refugee Camp.

A Future to Meet One’s Aspirations: Education and Refugee Experiences in Dadaab — A podcast dedicated to cutting-edge research on peace, security, and conflict around the world. This episode focuses on Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya and the need for accessible education as well as durable futures for its refugee inhabitants.

Refugee Education: Building Durable Solutions (REBuild) — A project conducted by a team of experts on refugee education who researched different models of education while challenging traditional paradigms for education in development. As education promises refugees a durable future, how can they actually access those opportunities?

Why I Fight for the Education of Refugee Girls (Like Me) — In this brilliant TED Talk, Mary Maker advocates for accessible education inrebuilding the lives of refugees. As a refugee herself and now a teacher of other young refugees, her personal story provides critical insight into garnering hope, understanding, and peace for those who have suffered from instances of forced displacement.


Refugee Camps — This webpage gives an in-depth explanation of refugee camps, answering a range of questions from the planning and design aspects of a camp to the services provided. It even features descriptions of specific refugee camps like Bidibidi Refugee Settlement and provides stories straight from the camp systems.

Refugee Republic — Utilizing a unique and creative approach, Refugee Republic is an interactive transmedia webpage that works to highlight the real lived experiences of refugees in Domiz Refugee Camp in northern Iraq. It features a combination of photographs, drawings, film, sound, and text to enrich people’s understanding of refugee camps through a sensory experience.

Our Home in the Desert: Life Inside a Refugee Camp (Refugee Documentary) — This documentary sends a team of journalists to document life in the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan, showcasing the agency and real everyday lives of refugees.

Tour of 5 Refugee Camps — This interactive website provides virtual tours of five refugee camps. It features pictures and testimonies from refugees and fieldworkers.


Life on Hold: The Struggle of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon — Life on Hold presents an intimate and interactive view into the lives of Syrian Refugees in Lebanon. This project explores the stories of refugees through incredible visuals, maps, film, photos, and even sounds of their environments.

“Political Economy of Control: Urban Refugees and the Regulation of Space in Lusaka, Zambia” — This article touches on the challenges that urban refugees experience living in their host countries. As urban refugees are blocked from the formal sector by the Zambian government, they are forced to find opportunities to survive like working in the informal economy.

Cities and Towns — As more refugees are moving into urban areas, this edition of Forced Migration Review examines the ways in which cities and towns can be more accommodating and equipped to address their needs. In particular, it emphasizes the different contexts and challenges that urban refugees face as opposed to residing in traditional refugee camps.

URBANREFUGEES.ORG — While urban refugees tend to miss out on receiving humanitarian aid due to their location within cities, this organization works to ensure all their needs are met and addressed. Not only does this webpage raise awareness about the conditions many urban refugees endure, but they also strive to prioritize refugee independence and agency by creating and supporting refugee-led organizations within their communities.

Refugees Want Empowerment, Not Handouts — In this passionate TED Talk, Robert Hakiza advocates for better support and humanitarian aid reform to adequately address the unique challenges that urban refugees endure.Rather than relying on unnecessary and insufficient aid, refugees need opportunities to become self-reliant and empowered on their own.


The Great Climate Migration — As the climate crisis is exacerbated, climate-induced displacement is becoming an increasing threat and concern. In this series by the New York Times in collaboration with ProPublica, the articles explore questions, causes, and the future of global climate migration in different areas around the world.

Climate Refugees: The Human Face of Climate Change

Climate Refugees — This human rights-based organization seeks to address the intersection of climate change and human rights by raising awareness and researching climate-induced displacement.

Climate Refugees with Grace Adcox and Amali Tower — This podcast introduces what it means to be a climate refugee, how this definition functions within the realm of international law, and why people are fleeing due to environmental issues. This episode features insight from Amali Tower, the founder of Climate Refugees, and graduate student, Grace Adcox.

Climate Change Displacement is Happening Now – Displaced Podcast — On this episode of the Displaced Podcast series, Professor of Law and Director of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law, Jane McAdam, explains how those impacted by climate-induced displacement do not receive refugee status and what can be done with existing legal frameworks to offer them protection

Climate Crisis and Displacement: From Commitment to Action — This edition of Forced Migration Review examines the way the climate crisis impacts human mobility and addresses how policymaking has the potential to alleviate those effects.

Dispossessed by Climate – Iraqi Refugees in Their Own Country — This article follows how the lives of Iraqi farmers have been transformed by climate-induced displacement and tracks waves of internal displacement occurring all across Iraq.


“The Concept of Internal Displacement — Mooney emphasizes the need to focus on internally displaced persons due to their increasingly vulnerable status.

2023 Global Report on Internal Displacement — This year’s report on internal displacement features noteworthy data and analysis with a focus on how disasters, conflict, violence, and food insecurity shape internal displacement.

Who is an Internally Displaced Person? — This short video identifies who falls under the status of an internally displaced person and how this term differentiates from being a refugee. It highlights why IDPs are among the most vulnerable populations in the world and why it is more challenging to help IDPs than refugees.

Uncertain Futures: Ukrainian Refugees in Turkey, One Year On — This article follows the lives of displaced Ukrainians in Turkey and highlights the varying experiences and impacts the war has had on them.

A Conversation With a Ukrainian War Refugee and the American Who’s Sponsoring Her — This interview describes the experience of a Ukrainian Refugee in the sponsorship program created by the Biden Administration. Svitlana Yavenko and her family talk about their life in Ukraine before and during the war and how they’ve adjusted to settling in Atlanta.

UN Shares How Many People Fled Ukraine Due to the War — This article breaks down key data and figures from the UN Refugee Agency regarding the number of refugees from Ukraine and IDPs in Ukraine as well as the top hosting countries for Ukrainians.

Ukraine — This webpage features impressive background and analysis tracking the course of the war in Ukraine while providing critical updates from a team of experts on the region.

How the War in Ukraine Impacted my Family’s Life — This short TED Talk features the personal story of Tatiana Korotisnky and how it feels to know your country is at war. She hopes that by sharing her experience that the world will not forget about Ukraine and will continue to help her people.

Ukraine — This report features maps and datasets as well as other interactive material about displacement trends due to conflict from the war in Ukraine.

Ukraine Crisis — This webpage focuses on providing support for Ukraine by fostering a humanitarian response with data and information from the public.


Here you can find more information on resources related to Ukrainian refugees.

Seminar 4: Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the United States

June 22, 2023, 12:00-1:30 ET

Refugees and Asylum Seekers in the United States and Canada

Seminar Files
  1. While refugees are resettled all over the United States, over half go to the following 10 states: California, Texas, New York, Michigan, Ohio, Washington, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Florida.
  2. Although resettlement is often a desired durable solution for many refugees, it is not without its many challenges. Once refugees arrive in countries of resettlement such as the United States or Canada, they face challenges such as: language barriers and needing to learn a new language; cultural differences; varying belief systems; mental health challenges; needing to find a job quickly; limited financial support; pressure to send remittances to relatives back home; feelings of sadness and guilt for leaving their home country, their friends, and their family.
  3. Each resettlement country has overarching policies and procedures that shape the resettlement process, the lived experiences of a refugee’s resettlement journey is incredibly complex, diverse, and multi-faceted.

Resettled Podcast —  This six-part podcast series features the stories of refugees as they resettle in Virginia. As these refugees adjust to their new lives, listeners will gain a new understanding ofthe overall resettlement process through this storytelling initiative that works to uplift refugee voices.

Resettlement — This issue of Forced Migration Review features articles discussing the process of resettlement. Drawing on case studies and other datasets, it examines whether resettlement is a beneficial solution for refugees.

Resettlement Process — This webpage provides an in-depth description of the steps of the refugee admissions program in the United States as well as additional information about refugee resettlement.

How Does the U.S. Refugee System Work? — Not only does this article feature critical information about the history of the United States refugee resettlement programs, but it also explains the current administration's approach to alleviating the international refugee crisis.

‘We Left Everything:’ Afghan Refugees Reflect on Their New Lives in the D.C. Area One Year Later — After the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, thousands of Afghan refugees have been resettled in the United States. This article follows the lives of five refugees as they undergo the resettlement process in the D.C. area and describe their personal refugee experiences.

The One Refugee Podcast — Each episode of this podcast series features a deep dive into a refugee’s journey and their resettlement process in the United States. It uniquely focuses on the issue of higher education as they highlight refugee students from all over the world.

Kabul Falling — In this eight-episode narrative podcast, Afghans themselves share their experiences during the Taliban takeover in 2021.

Seminar 5: Taking Action and Making Change to Support Refugees and Global Migration

June 29, 2023, 12:00-1:30 ET

Taking Action and Making Change to Support Refugees and Global Migration
  1. While the international refugee crisis is complex and has many challenges, there are many ways individuals can get involved whether through volunteer work, donations, or even pursuing a career in this field. At the end of the day, resettlement happens at the local level and works because of dedicated support from local communities.
  2. EVERY CAMPUS A REFUGE is dedicated to making every college campus in the United States partner with a local resettlement agency as well as local communities to hosts refugees to support successful integration.
  3. Operation Allies Welcome has been institutionalized as an enduring part of US resettlement infrastructure because it saw unprecedented success due to interagency coordination that leveraged resources across the Federal Government.

Every Campus a Refugee — This higher education initiative has a mission to make every American college campus partner with a local refugee resettlement agency to host refugees on university grounds and assist with their integration process.

Reclaim Childhood — Reclaim Childhood is an organization that seeks to empower refugee and local girls in Jordan by providing safe, inclusive, female-only spaces where they can enjoy playing sports and ultimately “reclaim” their childhoods.

Get Involved — This section of the UNHCR website explains the different ways people can get involved in supporting and assisting refugees around the world.

Solutions —  The UNHCR explains the three durable solutions traditionally used to alleviate the international refugee crisis so that supporters can better understand how to get involved and continue this important work.

The Refugee Crisis is a Test of Our Character — In this TED Talk, David Miliband discusses how each of us has a personal responsibility to assist with the global refugee crisis and offers tangible advice on how to turn empathy into action.

“Let’s Help Refugees Thrive, Not Just Survive” — Melissa Fleming utilizes her platform to uplift refugee voices in hopes that the stories she shares will inspire action and aid. Fleming shares ways the world can help rebuild refugee lives and sheds light on the resilient nature of refugees.

Children of Syria —  This documentary follows a Syrian family fleeing war-torn Aleppo and showcases their new life as refugees in Germany. It highlights the needs of refugees that are often overlooked and emphasizes ways different communities can help alleviate their suffering.