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Showing posts from 2017

Shifting Focus: Refugee Crisis in Developing World

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Shifting Focus: Refugee Crisis in Developing World
By Bidya Subedi
On the first day of our AGI-Rome Program, we met with Fr. Thomas Smolich from Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). JRS plays a critical role in educating refugees to help them interact and communicate with other people on camp and most importantly to build skills to response to the emergency crisis. During his presentation, Fr. Smolich said, “86% of forcibly displaced people are hosted by developing countries.” Furthermore, according to UNHCR (2016), the top refugee-hosting countries were Turkey (2.5 million), Pakistan (1.6 million), Lebanon (1.1 million), Iran (979,400), Ethiopia (736,100), and Jordon (664,100). However, European Union’s top receiving countries were Germany with more than 300,000 and Sweden with 100,00. The numbers provided by Fr. Smolich’s presentation and UNHCR surprised me because it contradicted with my as well as most Westerners understanding of refugee crisis. UNHCR: Figures at Glace

Initially, I was s…

Beyond Empathy: Action Over Pity

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Beyond Empathy: Action Over Pity
By Soka Keo

The Academic Global Immersion (AGI) Rome Program in the School of Management at the University of San Francisco (USF) gives graduate students the unique opportunity to learn about the complexities of the refugee and migrant crises in Europe, more specifically what are the challenges in Italy and what is being done (UNHCR Facts and Figures, Italy). I was really excited for the opportunity to participate in the AGI-Rome Program but I knew this experience would be very emotional and personal for me.

To give you some background information, my parents were once refugees. My parents survived the war and genocide in Cambodia in the late-1970s (The Cambodian Genocide). My parents were forced to leave their homes, loved ones, and the country they loved so deeply. Fortunately, my parents were given the opportunity to have a better life and they were granted political asylum and immigrated to the United States in the early 1980s. As soon as my p…

Inclusive Excellence at USF and Abroad

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Inclusive Excellence at USF and Abroad
By Samantha Wilkinson
At The University of San Francisco, where diversity and human rights are among the most important values, the term “inclusive excellence” is used often to refer to the acceptance of all types of people into the university community. I found myself focused on this familiar phrase often throughout the duration of the 2017 Academic Global Immersion program in Rome. Unfortunately, the week-long course on Humanitarian Emergency Management highlighted how far the world is from reaching inclusive excellence, especially when it comes to our forcibly displaced peoples. Fortunately, the representatives from Jesuit Refugee Services, Programa Integra, Caritas, and UNHCR not only helped us to understand the severity of the current refugee crisis, but they also provided us with solutions that we can use to assist in alleviating the crisis.

On an individual level, informing ourselves and working towards eliminating our personal biases …

ARCH OF TRIUMPH OR HUMILITY?

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Arch or Triumph or Arch of Humility? 
by Marco Tavanti
During the Academic Global Immersion in Rome #AGIROME students walked through the Triumphal Arch of Titus (81 AD). We also noticed some of the details in the relief panels. One of the images represented the original use of these arches designed to purify the emperor from the blood of battle and to enter into the City of Rome to govern. As he was standing in the chariot with four horses as a sign of human-divine victory, a woman is dressed with wings reminding him to be humble and not to think he is God. "She would hit him with a feather and constantly remind him that he is human and only after his death he will be god" - our expert guide Georgea Colella told us. 
We are reminded of the symbolic meaning of these ancient practices as newly elected President Donald J. Trump attended the Jan. 21, 2017 national prayer service after his inauguration as the 45th US president. Past history carries many lessons for today's un…

AGI-ROME 2017 INNOVATIONS

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The Academic Global immersion Program in 2017 has evolved!

By Marco Tavanti

We are proud about the new developments implemented in our third Academic Global Immersion Program (AGI) in Rome. Here are a few reasons and innovative elements that made this year's program another high quality experience.

1. Humanitarian Emergency Integration

The AGI-Rome program is now part of a Graduate Program Certificate for the University of San Francisco's School of Management and a preferred elective integrated in the Master of Nonprofit Administration (MNA) Program. This integration is important to further extend the learning quality and career outcomes of a program like this. It is also instrumental to help prepare students who want to change the world for the better through professional careers such as those in humanitarian emergency management.

2. Roma Program Coordination

This year we are grateful for the leadership role that Ms. Chiara Peri of Jesuit Refugee Service Italy and Centro Ast…

Through the Eyes of a Child

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Through the Eyes of a Child: The Migrant & Refugee Crisis as Told by the Most Venerable Population
By Clorens Andre
During the Academic Global Immersion study in Rome we received exposure to how European governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are managing the protracted migration and refugee crisis. Christopher Hein, Spokesman and Strategic Advisor for the Consiglio Italiano per i Rifugiati, taught us about the geopolitical, intergovernmental and international approach to the migrant & refugee crisis. You can learn more about the approach by reading about the 1951 Refugee Convention where the legal obligations of participating nation states to protect displaced people were outlined.

The complexity of the problem and the approaches to solve the problem can seem overwhelming. Civil war, economic hardship and natural disasters are among reasons why people flee their nation of origin. What tend to get lost in these complex issues are the human stories that connect u…

Refugee Is Not A Foreign Term

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 Refugee Is Not A Foreign Term
By Angeliqa Bridgett
Before this academic global immersion (AGI) to Italy, the word “refugee” rarely crossed my lips and thoughts. Knowingly sheltered since a young age from some of the tragedies of the world and our history, I was comforted in thinking that some incidences would not apply to me if I lived a morale and Christ-like life. As I reflect on a time where the term refugee even became relevant to me, I remember when a well-respected comedian and political activist stated “I was watching the news and saw all these Black people wading the water of Hurricane Katrina, and the news kept referring to them as refugees. These weren’t refugees! These are American citizens!” Now, after just one week I see how loosely the misconception of what a refugee really is and where many people create a bubble for themselves. This could happen to me, or you, and any of us; and yes, we could be considered refugees or internally displaced people (IDP) depending on…

Help Us, By Helping Them

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Help Us, By Helping Them 
By Stephen Bandy
After the week in Rome I find myself thinking, what now? What does all this mean and where do I fit in? Of course, I can talk to others, share my experience, master my elevator story but that will never be enough. A refugee we spoke with in Rome, that we were put in contact with through Centro Astalli, explained that most refugees “want to go home” and that he “has one foot in Italy and the other in Kenya.” I know that we should do all that we can do to make everyone feel welcome in a country that is foreign to them, but we should also be focusing our efforts on making sure they never had to leave their home in the first place. This can only be done if countries proactively invest in the major countries that the refugees are coming from, and going to first. Rather than reactively investing in increased border protection and country specific social programs.

It might seem that it is too late for this type of investment, the crisis is here, an…

Slavery Yesterday and Today

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Slavery Yesterday and Today
By Katrielle Vaslenio
The Colosseum, also known as the Coliseum, shown above, is one of the most iconic buildings in Rome. People from all over the world travel to Italy to see its impressive size and beautifully crafted Roman archways. The magnitude of this building is awe-inspiring. The Coliseum was on my own travel bucket list before this AGI-Rome trip.

However, on this AGI trip, I learned that this building has a darker history. Built in 70 AD at the commission of Emperor Vespasian, the Coliseum was a gift to the Roman people. His idea was to build a center place for the common and poor folk to enjoy in an attempt to keep his subjects happy. Styled as an amphitheater, the Coliseum could hold 50,000 seated spectators and 80,000 spectators standing. It is estimated that over 50,000 slaves built the Coliseum. These slaves came from areas all around the Adriatic Sea that were conquered by the Romans. On this trip, we took a tour of the Coliseum and learned …

Media and Refugees

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The Power of Words and Images: The Role of Media in the Refugee Crisis
By Julie Brown
People around the world rely heavily on news from various sources, ranging from television to newspapers, Facebook to Twitter, to receive information about current events. How these various media outlets report on a topic can set the tone for the public’s response to it; bringing awareness and support to the topic or discrediting it, all in a matter of moments. The media’s approach to the refugee crisis in Europe clearly illustrates how words and images can influence public opinion.

During my first day of the AGI-Rome experience, I was quickly confronted with this reality. Despite my thoughts that I was an “informed person” about the crisis, I soon realized that the information I had consumed yielded few facts about the real issues at hand and were based on the sensationalism or “if it bleeds it leads” approach to journalism. I was yet another countless victim to how the media was reporting on the cr…

A Personal Refugee Journey

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Yesterday's Refugee Epidemic, Today's Humanitarian Crisis Pandemic 
By Meno Crompton
I had to make a decision: to study humanitarian crises management in Rome or business analytics in Dubai?  I chose Rome for my visceral connection to the subject matter. The image that sparked my internal call to action was the 2015 image of 3-year-old Syrian boy, Aylan Kurdi, who drowned off the coast of Turkey. https://www.nytimes.com/2015/09/04/world/europe/syria-boy-drowning.html?_r=0 According to the UNHCR https://www.unhcr.it/, fleeing war and corruption in their homeland, over 3,000 people drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in 2016. This resonance connected to my own family’s journey when we fled war-torn Vietnam in 1981. To this day, I marvel at the rare stroke of luck my family was afforded. The UNHCR estimated that between 200,000 and 400,000 boat people died at sea. Other estimates compiled are that 10% to 70% of the one to two million Vietnamese boat people died in transit.

My mo…

Have Mercy

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Have Mercy
by Jane Tobin
On November 16, 2016, Pope Francis celebrated mass at St Peter’s Square closing the door on the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. To be honest, I had to dig around a bit to understand the context and significance of this event and this picture. First, Jubilee- what is its meaning of this event to the Catholic Church? According to the Vatican website, a Jubilee is quite simply, a Holy Year. Officially, it’s:
“a year of forgiveness of sins and also the punishment due to sin, it is a year of reconciliation between adversaries, of conversion and receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and consequently of solidarity, hope, justice, commitment to serving God with joy and in peace with our brothers and sisters.” But what was it about this Jubilee that made it extraordinary? Jubilees are usually proclaimed every 25 years. Pope Francis declared it on March 16, 2015, out of sequence, with a global appeal so that “the Church can draw attention to its mission as a w…

Refugee as Identity Crisis

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A Crisis of Identity: On Politics and Perception
By Shakti Flesher
Having spent the last week in Rome immersed in the local, national, and European context of forced migration and refugee reception has given me a much clearer picture of the challenges facing forced migrants and service providers.

One of the key themes that emerged throughout this past week is that the European “refugee crisis” is in fact not a crisis of refugee influx but rather a European crisis of identity and management.

Contrary to what we hear about most often in the news, Europe is not the primary destination of refugees. In fact, 86% of forcibly displaced people are hosted by developing countries. Turkey, Pakistan, and Lebanon are the top 3 host countries for refugees. While the number of people arriving in Europe in 2015 was less than 0.5% of the EU’s entire population, 25% of Jordan’s population is refugees. See this UNHCR report for more information: Global Trends: Forced Displacement in 2015.

So why is Eu…

AGI-ROME 2017 PROGRAM

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