Monday, May 16, 2016

Refugee Conditions – The War on Human Equity

Picture from: The Daily Beast 

The Syrian civil war has been going on for over five years, and with continuous cease fires that are being broken - and mass death and destruction continuing to take place. It seems that more Syrians will be seeking refuge outside of the country. This will result in more countries needing support to house hundreds of thousands more that will be fleeing their homes to the intensity of the civil. In recent news, after the bombing of Aleppo by the Assad Regime, Russian Jets, and extremist groups like ISIS and Jabat Al-Nusra [1].  

According to recent reports, there are  over 50,000 Syrian refugees at the border of Syria and Jordan close by the Ruqban and Hadalat border[2]. In recent years, countries neighboring Syria (such as Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey) have taken some of the largest amount of refugees. However, there has also been a mass influx of refugees seeking refugees in European countries in the last three years. These refugees consist mostly of Syrians, Afghans and Iraqis, abuses in Eritrea, as well as poverty in Kosovo  that flee to Europe in large numbers every year. [3] 

These large number of refugees arriving  in European countries have led to push back policies that seen by most people as  xenophobia, islamophobia and racist. Recently,  the current policies that were agreed upon by the European Commission on October 25th, 2015 has created more issues  than finding ways to ensure that Syrian and non Syrian refugees are being  treated with dignity, and are integrated into the societies of the respective European countries housing these refugees. Some of the 17-point plan policies that raise concern and can endanger the wellbeing of refugees include[4]:

      permanent exchange of information
      limiting secondary movements
      shared management of migration flows
      border management

These policies were created through a meeting by level of Heads of State or Governments on refugee flows along the Western Balkan route. Although these meetings and policies were intended to ensure that refugees are treated in a humane manner along the length of the Western Balkans route. The outcomes of these policy implementations have only lead to more refugees being treated with less dignity. For example, the current  living conditions in the camps in these Balkan states are inhumane conditions by border patrol officers located in the western Balkan states of Europe.[5] 
Picture from: BBC

European countries  should take the lead of other western countries, like Canada that has taken more progressive steps that that treat refugees with dignity and best integrates them into Canadian society[6].   

The policies include:
      Private sponsorship by individuals, corporations and organizations can provide safety and shelter to thousands of refugees each year.
      Canada’s unique sponsorship program allows Canadian residents and organizations to directly sponsor asylum petitioners abroad.
      The government will prioritize processing the applications of privately sponsored refugees, under a program that allows Canadian citizens and organizations to sponsor family members or other asylum seekers.[7]
      For refugees permitted into Canada under government sponsorship, emphasis will be placed on admitting Syrian women and families currently displaced and living in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey, according to Immigration Minister John McCallum[8].

[1] "Aleppo bombed as Syrian army begins 'calm' plan elsewhere | Reuters." 2016. 9 Apr. 2016 <>
[2] "Jordan blocks 50,000 Syrian refugees near border - Al-Monitor: the ..." 2016. 9 Apr. 2016 
[3] "Migrant crisis: Migration to Europe explained in seven charts -" 2015. 9 Apr. 2016  <>
[4] "Migration | European Commission." 2016. 9 Apr. 2016  
[5] "Migrants Crossing Balkans Face Routine Police Abuse ... - VICE News." 2015. 9 Apr. 2016 <>
[6] "An Alternative Way to Resettle the Refugees - WSJ." 2015. 9 Apr. 2016 
[7] "United Nations Praises Canada's Refugee Policy - Muftah."  9 Apr. 2016  
[8] "Canada Unveils Syrian Refugee Resettlement Program - Muftah." 9 Apr. 2016 

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


A recent article from the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU) features the work that USF has been doing in this area through the AGO-Rome, USF4Freedom and Not for Sale.

Excerpt from

Chains Shall He Break: Catholic Colleges Combat Human Trafficking

"Another unique example of anti-human trafficking efforts at Catholic colleges is found at the University of San Francisco (USF) within the School of Management. Professor Marco Tavanti, Ph.D., director of the Master of Nonprofit Administration (MNA) program, president and co-founder of the World Engagement Institute (WEI), and director of the Academic Global Immersion (AGI) program, spearheaded the May 2015 USF for Freedom Symposium (USF4Freedom) with colleague Dr. David Batstone, who founded the Not for Sale campaign. Tavanti says USF4Freedom was organized by the students who participated in the AGI-Rome program, an immersion trip for MNA students “in collaboration with Jesuit Refugee Services on international practices and global policy challenges facing refugee service management, forced migrations, and human trafficking,” the program’s website states. The Symposium consisted of a day of lectures given by leaders in various Bay Area nonprofits that serve human trafficking and modern slavery victims, such as Jesuit Refugee Services, Not for Sale, and others that seek to “accompany and advocate for the underrepresented.”

Tavanti emphasizes that USF4Freedom, AGI-Rome, and the partnership with the WEI seek to inspire and equip students to act. He says USF4Freedom and AGI-Rome inspired the development of a Professional Graduate Certificate in Humanitarian Emergency Management “as a way to build capacity in building careers in this field.” He also notes the influence of USF’s Jesuit animation on USF4Freedom: “It sprang from the importance of addressing the Jesuit values of ‘accompaniment’ along with advocacy and service, to inspire our reflections and preparations.” Pope Francis also played a large role: Having met with the Holy Father in January 2016 during the second AGI-Rome, Tavanti and his students “have been further inspired by Pope [Francis’s] call for social justice and human dignity.”

Read more at 


USF4FREEDOM 2016 Symposium

The AGI-Rome 2016 alumni have been helpful in the preparation of the second USF4Freedom conference. It will be a follow up to that organized in 2015 that explored the connection of refugee, forced migration and human trafficking. The USF4freedom 2016 will explore the current local and global refugee crisis in relation to human security, forced migration and education. Some of the panelists are faculty in the Jesuit Refugee Service program - Jesuit Commons which provides higher education opportunities through online instruction to refugees in refugee camps. Some of the panelists at also USF students who came in the USA as refugees.

USF for Freedom: Symposium on Refugees, Forced Migrants, and Human Security

Monday May 23, 2016 at the University of San Francisco | McLaren 252

There are many names for people who flee war and violence across borders: refugees, forced migrants, unaccompanied minors, displaced people. This symposium looks at the quest for freedom through the lens of human security and asks: Why do people leave their homes? What happens through the migration journey? How do youth and adult migrants navigate the process of relocation?

This symposium examines global issues and local perspectives on refugees and forced migration, bringing together scholars, migrants, service providers, and activists. The two panels and networking reception will offer a rich opportunity for building awareness and solidarity through dialogue and exchange.

Register Now » 


1–1:30 p.m. Welcome
1:30–3 p.m. Panel 1: Displacement and Human Security
3:20–5 p.m. Panel 2: Relocation, Resettlement, and Human Security
5–6 p.m. Reception

Panel 1: Displacement and Human Security

Moderator: Annick Wibben, Associate Professor, University of San Francisco Department of Politics
Confirmed Panelists:
Olivier Bercault, Adjunct Professor, University of San Francisco Department of International Studies
Lariza Dugan-Cuadra, Executive Director, CARECEN - Central American Resource Center
Bill Ong Hing, Professor & Dean's Circle Scholar, University of San Francisco School of Law
Ali Khoie, Management Consultant, ORAM - Organization for Refuge, Asylum & Migration
Marco Tavanti, Professor & Director of the Nonprofit Administration Program, University of San Francisco School of Management

Panel 2: Relocation, Resettlement, and Human Security

Moderator: Monisha Bajaj, Associate Professor, University of San Francisco Department of International & Multicultural Education
Confirmed Panelists:
Lindsay Gifford, Assistant Professor, University of San Francisco Department of International Studies
Lauren Markham, Community School Program Manager, Oakland International High School
Vivian Faustino-Pulliam, International Faculty of Jesuit Commons: Higher Education at the Margins & Adjunct Professor, University of San Francisco School of Management
Meron Semedar, Huffington Post Blogger, Youth Ambassador for One Young World, & Master's Student, University of San Francisco

Learn more about USF For Freedom 2015

Global Refugee Mural
Mural by Joel Bergner. Learn more about the Global Refugee Mural in Silver Spring, Maryland. Photo credit: Ken Stanek Photography.