Monday, May 2, 2022

Humanitarian Safe Corridors

The humanitarian corridors initiative of Sant'Egidio, Waldensian Board and Evangelical Churches in Italy here welcoming Children of Syrian refugees arriving at Rome Fiumicino Airport from Beirut. Photo: Source: Oikoumene

Corridoi Umanitari - Humanitarian Corridors: New Solutions for Refugee Safety and Integration

By Dr. Marco Tavanti, AGIROME Program Director

Pope Francis views the humanitarian corridor initiative as a drop that can change the sea and the world. When facing the humanitarian and refugee crisis due to the Syrian conflict he went to the island of Lesbos and took 12 with him. In the press conference on the return trip, when asked why he had gone for only 12 people, he replied by citing a similar question a reporter had asked Mother Teresa: “So much effort, so much work, just to help people die? What she does is useless! The sea is so big! ”. And she replied: "It is a drop of water in the sea, but after this drop the sea will not be the same!". And so the Pope echoes: “It is a small gesture. But of those small gestures that we all have to do to reach out to those in need." A drop that can change the sea

The Need for Safe Passages

During the 2022 Academic Global Immersion #AGIROME Program, the students felt emotionally drained. On one hand we met nonprofit and international organizations scrambling to respond to the rapidly escalating Ukrainian humanitarian crisis that emerged over the ongoing global humanitarian crises with more than 82 million of forcibly displaced people around the world. On the other hand, we heard heartbreaking testimonies of refugees who had to endure terrible journeys to escape war, violence and discrimination in their countries and to reach safety and seeking humanitarian protection in Europe. Many of them had friends that drowned in the Mediterranean Sea, others that were kidnapped to extort more money from their families, and some of them were left abandoned by smugglers in the desert, arrested by corrupted police, or raped and got pregnant during the months long - sometimes years long, traumatic journeys.

Pope Francis welcomes a group of Syrian refugees after they landed at Ciampino airport in Rome, following a visit at the Moria refugee camp in the Greek island of Lesbos, April 16, 2016. (RNS/AP/Filippo Monteforte) NCR

Innovative Solution for Humanitarian Protection 

It was in the midst of these stories, testimonies and recollection of the incredible work of these nonprofit, civil society and humanitarian agencies that we learn about the Corridoi Umanitari - Humanitarian Corridors Initiative which started with Pope Francis in 2016. "When Pope Francis’s travelled to Lesbos in April 2016, he brought back with him three Syrian families to Italy that the Holy See then provided accommodation and support for, while the Comunità di Sant’Egidio was put in charge of their integration.  In May 2019, the pope said that he wanted to something similar a gain for families from Afghanistan, Cameroon and Togo (Onuitalia, 2019). 

Entry posters at the Conference on Humanitarian and University Corridors organized by University of San Francisco's AGIROME program and hosted by Loyola University Chicago's JFC in Rome. The even was coordinated by Dr. Chiara Peri and included the participation of UNHCR, CARITAS and FCEI. Source: USFCA-AGIROME

Civil Society Organizations Solutions

The Community of Sant'Egidio, in partnership with the Waldensian Evangelical Church (Tavola Valdese della Chiesa Evangelica Valdese, CEV), the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy (FCEI), Conferenza Episcopale Italiana  - Caritas Italiana and in accordance with the dispositions of the Italian authorities (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Interior) along the support of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR-Italy), have created these innovative solutions for safe passage and integration. The Humanitarian Corridor initiative along its other connected programs for university corridors (UNICORE), represents what Pope Francis called "A drop that can change the sea." (Farnesina).  

Dr. Marco Impagliazzo, President of the Community of Sant'Egidio personally welcoming refugees arriving in Italy through the Humanitarian Corridors initiative. "We said: how can we avoid the deaths of thousands of people, including children, in the Mediterranean Sea? The answer was: let's open Humanitarian Corridors for Refugee, a completely self-financed project implemented by the Community of Sant'Egidio with the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy and the Tavola Valdese (Sant'Egidio).

Reducing Risks with Safe Passages 

"The fact that many of these refugees are unable to legally access effective international protection, shows the weakness of the system European legislation and national policies, unable to protect people more vulnerable. Potential asylum seekers having limited possibilities reception and protection in transit countries located in the Middle East, Corn of Africa and North Africa, however, already overwhelmed by the presence of a large number of refugees, see Europe as the only viable alternative, albeit in a way irregular. These people are, therefore, forced to save themselves undertaking dangerous journeys and relying on human traffickers for a fee exorbitant figures and experiencing very high risk situations." (Translation from Caritas Italian (2019) Oltre il Mare: Primo rapporto sui Corridoi Umanitari in Italia e altre vie legali e sicure d’ingresso). 

Maria Quinto, Humanitarian Corridors coordinator for the Community of Sant’Egidio, (centre) with Hebat, aged nine, from Syria, just after she landed in Rome from Lebanon. © UNHCR/Alessandro Penso (UNHCR).

Humanitarian Corridors Solutions

The Humanitarian Corridor initiative foresees that the civil society organizations identify in the country of first asylum, refugees or persons in need of international protection with serious vulnerabilities to be legally transferred to Italy, where they are received by the same organizations and supported by them in the integration process. [...]. Once in Italy, the people selected by the associations apply for asylum to the Italian authorities, to be recognized as refugees. In the meantime, the beneficiaries of the project are housed in accommodation managed by the organizations, which take care of their sustenance and integration process" (UNHCR-It)

University Humanitarian Corridors: A group of 37 refugees arrived in Italy last week as part of the UNICORE - University Corridors for Refugees project. Thanks to scholarships, they will continue their studies at 23 universities in the country. From file: UNHCR and Caritas workers offering assistance to refugees arriving via a humanitarian corridor at the Fiumicino airport | Photo:ARCHIVE/ANSA/TELENEWS

UNICORE - University Humanitarian Corridors 

The project UNICORE, currently in its third year, offers safe passage and integration through university corridors and scholarship opportunities for young people in vulnerable contexts. "The project University Corridors for Refugees UNICORE 3.0 is promoted by 24 Italian universities with the support of UNHCR, Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Caritas Italiana, Diaconia Valdese, Centro Astalli and other partners. It aims to increase opportunities for refugees currently residing in Ethiopia to continue their higher education in Italy." (UNICORE 3.0). 

A Long and Difficult History of Humanitarian Corridors 

The Corridoi Umanitari - humanitarian corridors are a new attempt from civil society (nonprofit, associations, NGOs, etc.) to respond to the humanitarian crisis in times of conflicts. We hear these days quote often this word "humanitarian corridors" as the International Red Cross and other humanitarian organizations scramble to bring civilians to safety from Ukraine while also assisting with food and medicine. In spite the fact these fundamental rights of "rapid and unimpeded passage” have been adopted in the 1949  Geneva Conventions (for civilians, food, clothing, medicine) and in the 1990 United Nations resolutions recognizing humanitarian corridors (for humanitarian operators), these "safe" passages have been continuously violated or abused as in the case of Syria or Bosnia. I personally remember when we were attached during the humanitarian operations I took part in 1992-1993 (Mir Sada - Peace Now) bringing medicines and food to the sieged people of Sarajevo during the Bosnian war. Later in 1995, the “safe areas” established in the town of Srebrenica became the worst mass murder in Europe since World War II when at least 7,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed (WAPO, 2022). 

Catholic and Protestant communities call for humanitarian corridors: "The need to protect human rights and founding values of the Western society, such as democracy, freedom of expression and education, has been called for by the religious communities, but it is challenged by the political polarization that the issue of migration has taken on in Europe." (ONUITALIA).

Pope Francis for Ukrainian Humanitarian Corridors 

The Vatican has been reporting on Pope Francis's many heartfelt plea for peace in Ukraine, guaranteed humanitarian corridors, and for all people to come to the assistance of the war victims, especially the mothers and children fleeing. 

"Rivers of blood and tears are flowing in Ukraine" said Pope Francis. "I make a heartfelt appeal for humanitarian corridors to be genuinely secured, and for aid to be guaranteed and access facilitated to the besieged areas, in order to offer vital relief to our brothers and sisters oppressed by bombs and fear. I thank all those who are taking in refugees. Above all, I implore that the armed attacks cease and that negotiation - and common sense - prevail. And that international law be respected once again!" (Vatican News). 

Learn more on Humanitarian Corridors 

  1. FCEI, Sant'Egidio, Chiesa Valdese (2016). How do humanitarian corridors work? An Italian ecumenical project signals hope for Europe
  2. Sant'Egidio (2019).  HUMANITARIAN CORRIDORS in Europe. Dossier: Humanitarian Corridors in Italy, France, Belgium and Andorra, the Principality of Monaco. 
  3. Working Group of the Humanitarian Corridors Project. Humanitarian Corridors: implementation procedures for their extension on a European scale. 
  4. Gois, P. & Falchi, G. (2017). THE THIRD WAY. HUMANITARIAN CORRIDORS IN PEACETIME AS A (LOCAL) CIVIL SOCIETY RESPONSE TO A EU’S COMMON FAILURE. REMHU, Rev. Interdiscip. Mobil. Hum., Brasília, v. 25, n. 51, dez. 2017, p. 59-75. 
  5. Panchetti, & Wartensee. (2020). THE HUMANITARIAN CORRIDORS EXPERIENCE. ResearchGate. 


Saturday, April 23, 2022




Symposium on the International and Humanitarian Protections for Migrants and Refugees - Perspectives from Graduate Students, Leadership Ethics and Human Rights, Migration and Refugee Experts. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2022 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm PST at


Dr. Amy Argenal (Master in Migration Studies Program Director)

Dr. Illaria Giglioli (Master in International Studies Program)

Dr. Bill Hing (Master in Migration Studies Program/School of Law) 

We will talk about the amazing work that these USF migration academics do to accompany, support, defend, and advocate in favor of immigrants and refugees. We will also listen to some of the remarks of students who participated in the 2022 Arrupe Academic Global Immersion Rome, where we learned about powerful initiatives like Humanitarian Corridors, University Corridors, and the Zampa Law, an innovative legislation directed to unaccompanied minors’ protection.

Learn more at 

Monday, April 4, 2022

Lifelong Learning and the Journeys to Italy

Lifelong Learning and the Journeys to Italy -  Personal, Professional and Academic Reflections

By: Daniella Lubey - M.S. Organization Development

In writing my daily reflections I included some personal, professional and academic experiences that impact my views each day throughout the program. To provide context, I have learned about refugees in Italy from an academic point of view and also a personal experiential point of view. In my first experience studying abroad in Italy in 2014, I became friends with many refugees that came from the Balkans and more specifically Kosovo. I also learned from my roommate who was from Italy about different perspectives among her friend groups about migration and what they were experience as natives to the country and even the Italian people who were also migrating out of Italy at the same time where there was a larger influx of migrants moving into Italy. This shaped my career and passion for study abroad and international education with a specific interest in Italy and migration.

In my many trips back to Italy I continued to learn more, spend lengths of time with my friends, build upon my language skills, and grow as a human being in understanding the rights of people and equity necessary to support all humans of every race, gender, ethnicity, ability, etc. In my most simple viewpoint on life, I would echo many of the sentiments heard from different organizations while on the AGI Rome program – All humans have the same basic needs and wants for a better life. There are very few differences in understanding people despite language barriers and cultural differences. I appreciated hearing about the services offered and support given by various organizations in Italy and across the world. The testimonials shared were powerful to say the least and were impactful because of their willingness to be open and share the importance of their stories for other to learn and understand. This is something I do not always have the courage to do even with an experience much more minor than those experienced by migrants leaving their countries for various reasons.

In a previous experience, I had the opportunity to learn about migration from Tunisia into Palermo, Sicily. In that program we learned about the routes that Tunisian and other African migrants could take to get to Sicily, the services that may be offered, we heard from an immigration lawyer about the bureaucracy and processes, and work opportunities available once they receive documentation. My time spent in Palermo helped to inform what I was going to be learning on this AGI Rome program. Through my own experience, I felt well prepared to visit Rome and learn about migration in a completely different area of Italy than I had before. I grew to appreciate Catholic and ministry services that I did not have a great understanding of before attending this program. In my professional experience in international education and through what I study in Organization Development, I was able to observe cohorts of students on study abroad programs who all come from different backgrounds, academic experiences and personal experiences. For me, there was great power to this program as the participants all came from inter-disciplinary backgrounds and master’s programs.

In my daily reflections and analysis, I thought about many of my past experiences which helped to build upon my knowledge during the week-long program. I critically observed human rights as a whole, refugee/migration justice, social justice, systemic justice, civil rights justice and equity justice. In creating greater social impact, I think that the power of voice, storytelling, sharing knowledge is very important in this day and age. With media as powerful as it is in the most helpful and the most dangerous way, storytelling seems to be the best way to spread knowledge and impact emotionally and also academically through data. The program has informed and will inform my academic and professional research in the future.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Desperate Journeys Beyond Walls

Cover photo of the UNHCR Report Desperate Journeys 2018: A woman weeps, minutes after being saved by the Sea Watch search and rescue ship on 24 June 2016. © UNHCR/Hereward Holland

Desperate Journeys Beyond Walls
Dr. Marco Tavanti, AGI-Rome Director 

As the 2019 University of San Francisco's Academic Global Immersion Program was happening in Rome, UNHCR published the new report Desperate Journeys. As recently presented in Brussels by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, it is a study that shows how refugees and migrants attempting to reach Europe via the Mediterranean Sea lost their lives “at an alarming rate” in 2018.

Implicitly referring to the new Italian anti-immigrant policies, the report describes how “shifts” in policy by some Member States, 2018 saw how about six people died every day in the Mediterranean Sea. Despite a major drop in the number of arrivals reaching European shores, and the Italian ports in particular, an estimated 2,275 died or went missing. This is considered a very conservative figure as the sea is no longer monitored as in the past. Yet, still one person died at sea for every 14 who arrived in Europe – a sharp rise on 2017 levels. In addition, last year there has been numerous incidents where large numbers of people were left stranded at sea for days on end, waiting for permission to dock.

Speaking at the launch of the Report, Filippo Grandi, said, “Saving lives at sea is not a choice, nor a matter of politics, but an age-old obligation. We can put an end to these tragedies by having the courage and vision to look beyond the next boat, and adopt a long-term approach based on regional cooperation, that places human life and dignity at its core.”

The report refers to the Italian agreement with the Libya where returned migrants face appalling conditions inside detention centers. The report goes on, “For many, setting foot in Europe was the final stop of a nightmarish journey on which they had faced torture, rape and sexual assault, and the threat of being kidnapped and held for ransom. States must take urgent action to dismantle smuggling networks and bring perpetrators of these crimes to justice.”

The report also indicates hope for lasting and humanitarian solutions. “Despite political deadlock on progressing with a regional approach to sea rescue and disembarkation, as called for by UNHCR and IOM last year, several states committed to relocating people rescued in the central Mediterranean – a potential foundation for a predictable and lasting solution.” “Thousands of resettlement places were also pledged by states for evacuating refugees out of Libya.”

In spite the attempted deterrents and human rights violation consequences of these policies, desperate migrants continue to flow to Europe using alternative routes. For the first time in recent years, Spain became the primary entry point to Europe in 2018, with the number of migrant arrivals in Spain increasing by 131 percent compared to the previous year. Around 6,800 arrived by land and a further 58,600 people successfully crossed over the perilous Western Mediterranean. As a result of these more dangerous routes, the death toll for the western Mediterranean nearly quadrupled from 202 in 2017 to 777.

The experience of Europe should teach some lessons in the American debate over the proposed US-Mexico wall.  Neither building walls nor closing ports can stop forced displacements largely driven by desperate human rights and extreme poverty conditions. Walls and closed ports simply make migrations routes more dangerous. The reality reported by this reports and numerous other studies, demonstrated that walls do not save lives (as President Trump claimed) but further endanger lives of forced migrants who desperately seek refugee, protection, and better conditions of life for themselves and their families.

In the meantime, NGOs carry on the torch of humanity and for the promotion of regular migration flow and reasonable rescue policies. In spite the anti-They have denounced the EU to be complicit in this humanitarian tragedy. With the support of the EU, Italy and Libya in February 2017 signed a deal to stem the flow of migrants from North Africa to Italy. As a result of this deal, Oxfam and other NGOs estimate that more than 4,000 people have drowned in the Central Mediterranean alone, and more than 5,300 in all corners of the Mediterranean Sea, making it the deadliest sea in the world. Oxfam, Doctors without Borders, Caritas Europe, Mani Tase and many others have written an open letter to Ministers for a Timely and Predictable European Arrangements for Disembarkation.

In spite the US boycott and the Italian and other political withdrawals from the Global Compact on Migration, the numerous countries represented in the so-called Marrakech Compact have pledged to boost cooperation in addressing the world's growing flows of migrants. This important document and its process will be a reference for all future initiatives dealing with cross-border human mobility. In 2018, forced displacement continues to be a crisis primarily centered in developing countries which host 89% of refugees and 99% of internally displaced persons. The role of the economically privileged Global North toward the economically disadvantaged Global South is to provide hospitality and opportunities for those who have enough courage to attempt these desperate journeys.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Changing the Discourse towards Solidarity

“Not a Refugee Crisis, but a Crisis of Solidarity”: 
Changing the Discourse towards Solidarity for Humanitarian Aid 

Valeria Vera, MIMS student

In May 2016, Ban Ki-moon authored a call-to-action titled, “Refugees and Migrants: A Crisis of Solidarity,”, urging world leaders and the U.N. to respond in solidarity to “one of the leading challenges of our time”: the large movements of forced migrants and refugees. Yet, in 2017, the number of displaced people climbed to 68.5 million, with 85% of those displaced hosted in countries in development, and 44 thousand people forcibly fleeing their countries daily -- 31 people per minute.

With the rise of nationalism and xenophobia, even the “leading” states are becoming complicit in human rights abuses. The EU is now funding Lybia for “migration-control,” -- to detain refugees headed to Europe in “nightmarish” conditions in which prison guards deny them medical and psychological attention, and torture them. United States authorities continue tear-gassing migrants in Mexico.

Human Rights Watch witnessed two women having what appeared to be seizures after one had attempted suicide at Tajoura detention center, Tripoli. © 2018 John Holmes for Human Rights Watch

But referring to the fleeing migrants as a “crisis” is also a deep-rooted issue that needs to change: the crises are what the refugees are fleeing and our response to their movements.

In January 2019, to understand more about current humanitarian aid solidarity, 21 USF graduate students set out to Rome, Italy, for the Academic Global Immersion Program on Forced Migration and Refugee Service Management. We met humbling and passionate individuals, such as Father Fabio Baggio, Pope Francis’ Under Secretary to the Vatican’s Migrants and Refugee program, who drafted the 20 Action Points for the Global Compacts, urging the Catholic church to act in solidarity and cooperate, welcome, protect, promote and integrate migrants and refugees; two African refugees, from Mali and Côte D’Ivoire, who create political audio tours of Rome through their perspectives, increasing awareness and solidarity with refugees; and large-scale organizations including Save the Children and Médecins Sans Frontières who were at the forefront of search and rescue missions, saving over 800,000 individuals from drowning between 2015 and 2018, until the EU forced them to cease operations.

When 85% of those displaced are in countries in development, Western and developed countries are failing in sharing sufficient responsibility to responding to crises they have likely created abroad. The organizations and individuals we met through AGI Rome evidence that solidarity humanitarian aid is possible -- not as a matter of charity, but as a matter of human rights. It is viable through strengthening intersectional and multi-disciplinary networks, adopting remedies such as counseling, rebellious legal aid, housing, medical care, safe spaces, and access to education and dignified employment, to ensure that forced migrants can regain a sense of hope and control over their lives -- especially those who are LGBTQ. Granting them legal protection is not enough because status alone cannot restore an individual’s lifelong suffering caused by severe childhood, sexual, domestic, or gendered trauma. Solidarity humanitarian aid means natives, politicians, clergy, mental health practitioners, educators, academics, physicians, authorities, and the police grant forced migrants their own voice and help them become their own advocates; accompany their journey to healing; grant them justice, freedom, dignity, and full access to their human rights.


Sunday, January 27, 2019

Unheard Voices, Lost Humanity

Trapped: Inside Libya’s Detention Centres, UNICEF

Unheard Voices, Lost Humanity.
Angela Kan, MPA Student

“I escaped Somalia because I am gay, but now I’m trapped in Libya. At home they will shoot me because in Somalia, it is not allowed to be LGBT. In Libya they will also shoot me, because it’s like Somalia. Maybe it’s even worse...” If you continue to read Ali Ibrahim’s story, a first-hand account of the torture he experienced at the hands of people smugglers in Libya, you will learn that he attempted the perilous sea crossing from Libya to Italy twice, only to be intercepted and returned to Libyan detention centers. In detention he was unsafe to disclose his sexual orientation, even to UNHCR staff, based on a well-grounded fear of discrimination and violent recourse. Libya remains an extremely dangerous place for people of foreign origin, women, men and children alike, and especially dangerous for LGBT people. According to Amnesty International’s report entitled Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, “refugees and migrants [in Libya] are routinely exposed to horrendous abuses by Libyan officials, armed groups, and criminal gangs. They suffer torture and other ill treatment and arbitrary detention in appalling conditions, extortion, forced labor and killings – inflicted with total impunity.” Despite this, the EU and Italy continue to pursue cooperation with the Libyan Coast Guard and other Libyan actors to intercept asylum seekers crossing by boat, with the goal of returning asylees to Libya and reducing the number of arrivals in Europe. What this is actually achieving, however, is it to ensure that women, children, and men are trapped in an endless cycle of abuse.

Ali Ibrahim’s story is a stark illustration of some of the issues facing refugees and asylum seekers around the world, issues I learned about in Rome, as a student of the USF’s Academic Global Immersion program on refugee service management. Throughout our time in Rome we reflected on the intersection of storytelling, culture, systems and power. From how storytelling can be a valuable tool to create empathy and spark action toward change. To how conservative efforts have successfully built a narrative around fear and exclusion; how the media has perpetuated these damaging narratives; and how this has impacted public opinion and ultimately public policy. Policies that stand not only in the way of human rights, but in the way of human dignity. The Ethical Journalism Network, a global campaign promoting good governance and ethical conduct in media, reported that journalists often fail to tell the full story and routinely fall into propaganda traps laid by politicians. Others have discussed the lack of preparedness among journalists to accurately and ethically report on the issues faced by refugees and asylees, including UNESCO’s article that suggests unprepared journalists often reduce refugees to one of two stories, a (male) threat or a group of victims, perpetuating a limited and divisive narrative.

Through first-hand stories like Ali Ibrahim’s, we vividly and immediately understand the intersection of vulnerabilities that exist – such as asylee and sexual minority – and how these vulnerabilities are exacerbated by policies such as the deal between Italy and Libya. Hearing directly from refugees can help emphasize the urgency in the work without fueling a sensational “crisis” narrative that perpetuates fear and an increasingly conservative approach. While it is important for journalists to understand that media coverage shapes refugees’ daily experiences, at an individual level, you and I must seek and support the voices of refugees and asylees to build compassion and understanding, and perpetuate change. I believe we can challenge ourselves and our circles of community to dig deeper, learn more, and listen better. After all, it is our shared humanity and the voices of the most vulnerable, that are at grave risk.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Solution to Mass Migration

Solution to Mass Migration:
More NGOs and governments collaboration 
Jairo Javier Medina, MNA student

Wars and political problems often trigger mass migration, but it is also a forced decision made by individuals to leave their home countries due to economic issues. These economic problems are the root of even more complex issues that plague nations. Foreign aid alone can't solve the financial problems of a country either, and private investments can be too little to help create jobs.

While the solution for mass migration is finding solutions for wars and political problems, often these situations are unavoidable, and can’t be easily be solved. Military action is costly and exacerbates the problem, leading to even more mass migration and loss of lives. The best solution is to have nations to be ready to receive the given number of refugees by supporting various NGOs present in the country that focuses on the integration of migrants in society. The presence of these NGOs can be encouraged by government regulations that can ease up their formations and private fundraising that might not even cost the government anything to support.

NGOs exist for the primary reason to help society solve social problems that it is too expensive for the government to address. Education and support are the keys to the formation of these organizations, the more, the better. Closing borders to prevent further incursions of migrants is not a solution. People will always find ways to bypass security into the country. The number of migrants or refugees can increase in numbers and can be easy prey for organized crime and forced labor.

In the United States, there have been cases of migrants targeted by unscrupulous business owners and human traffickers keeping a large group of migrants’ laborers by force. The problem is mainly invisible, and without the help of NGOs, it is often not reported. Human trafficking is a menace to society and the principles of any nation. Therefore, mass migration is a problem that can't be ignored by governments, but by passing regulations that encourages existing NGOs to tackle the problem, by private individuals and corporations. The solution is to educate and integrate people that are disadvantaged forming future productive members of society, while they are awaiting their asylum case.

Solutions to mass migrations can be solved if governments work together with private institutions and non-profit organizations. If governments can set aside politics and let NGOs work the answer can be less expensive and efficient to solve.


1) Panorama, G. (2017, June 9). We stand with refugees. Retrieved January 23, 2019, from
2) Forced Labor and Migrant Labor. (n.d.). Retrieved January 23, 2019, from
3) Forced Labor and Migrant Labor. (n.d.). Retrieved January 23, 2019, from

Acceptance After Arrival 

Acceptance After Arrival: 
Building Bridges Through Reconciliation Efforts For Refugees
Kelley Devanathan, MBA student

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and had to rush out of your home? You have to go so fast that you can't even grab your shoes, money, or most precious momento? Well, a few years ago, my house burned down and my family lost everything. We didn't have any material thing left except for the clothes we were wearing. Luckily, we had local family support and bank accounts so we would have the opportunity to rebuild our lives. For refugees that are forced to migrate to new territory, they are often not able to share the same feelings of support in a difficult time. They also may travel miles and miles being smashed in a boat, smothered in a trailer truck, smuggled by violent people, or matters that are so much worse that we can't even imagine the trek. If refugees are fortunate enough to be relocated in a host country with all of their family, unfortunately, the challenges are not over for them. Reconciliation efforts between refugees and host communities proves to be an important consideration through the refugee relocation process.

Through the Jesuit University of San Francisco AGI Immersion trip in Rome, I had the opportunity to learn more about the services provided by The Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS). In their vision to provide protection, opportunity, and participation for refugees, the JRS has prioritized reconciliation efforts as a pillar for the strategic framework for the 2019 year (1). I had not quite fully grasped the importance, nor the need, for the reconciliation efforts until I understood more about geographical locations on the refugee camps and the educational services that may be offered within those camps. Many refugee camps are often settled in areas with little development and available resources. Therefore, what are the considerations to be made for the host community when inside the refugee camps, people are receiving education, shelter support, and technical trade skills?

The JRS implements reconciliation efforts between refugees and host communities by building bridges through projects and presence (2). Refugees face a range of hostility along their journeys to safety, including but not limited to, political movements that stem from economic and cultural anxieties, climates with emerging xenophobia, as well as policies demonstrate a shift from solidarity and human rights.

It is not solely up to the JRS and the refugees to solve the problems of acclimation, integration, and reconciliation with the new host community. Campaigns such as the JRS video, I Get You, were produced in order to promote community building initiatives that have the power to break down stereotypes and combats xenophobia and racism (3). I believe that through these efforts to understand each other's journey, we gain perspective and understanding. I encourage you to try on the shoes of a person that has walked hundreds of miles, away from everything they called home, in pursuit of a safe life free from persecution. This perspective may not stop the reasons that refugees flee their home, but it may provide support to the host communities on how to respond in a peaceful manner that promotes social cohesion.

Teacher leads the students in conflict resolution in Kajokeji, South Sudan. (Jesuit Refugee Service)