Research and teaching on refugees will be focus of new MacMillan Center program

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On Feb. 22, the new Program on Refugees, Forced Displacement, and Humanitarian Responses will present a panel on “Social Innovation and Humanitarian Responses.”

The Program on Refugees, Forced Displacement, and Humanitarian Responses has been launched by the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale to promote rigorous interdisciplinary research and teaching grounded in the social sciences that can inform best practice and sound policy and have a meaningful impact on the lives of people affected by forced displacement.

The movement of refugees has reached unprecedented levels globally. This new program will explore the profound and permanent consequences that these movements pose for economics, politics, environment, health, religion, culture, and other areas.

The interdisciplinary program will be campus-wide and draw on and combine the research and teaching interests of scholars in Yale’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences and 12 professional schools. More than 50 faculty members across Yale already work on issues related to the program’s scope.

“In an era where the forced displacement of more than 200 million people is having a profound impact on our world, it is imperative that we search for responses and solutions that have a more productive and meaningful impact,” said Ian Shapiro, the Henry R. Luce Director of the MacMillan Center and Sterling Professor of Political Science. “The Program on Refugees, Forced Displacement, and Humanitarian Responses will put the resources of academic institutions like Yale, and the field experience of humanitarian workers and policy makers under one virtual roof, encompassing a wide range of issues that cover the refugee experience, to the benefit of both quality academic research and sound policy advice.”

The program’s activities will include:

  • Providing research grants for Yale faculty and students;
  • Developing internship opportunities for Yale students;
  • Convening on-campus events, such as lectures, conferences, films, performances, and exhibitions;
  • Supporting long-term research initiatives on refugee issues in the Middle East and South/Southeast Asia;
  • Launching a global “Refugee Research Network”;
  • Hosting short-term residencies for humanitarian experts each year;
  • Hosting an annual symposium;
  • Encouraging faculty and students to publish online or in print; and
  • Introducing a gateway course on issues of refugees and forced displacement.

The program’s first annual symposium will be held on April 13; its will be “The Next Generation of Humanitarianism and Refugee Studies: Challenges and Opportunities. Also, on February 22 at noon, the program will present a panel discussion on “Social Innovation and Humanitarian Responses,” with speakers from the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, Mercy Corps, the University of Texas, and the Hashemite University of Jordan. Information about the program and its activities will be disseminated through its website,

The Program on Refugees, Forced Displacement, and Humanitarian Responses reinforces the MacMillan Center’s role as a hub of interdisciplinary research and teaching on contemporary issues of global, institutional, and human import, notes Shapiro. The MacMillan Center draws its strength by tapping the interests and combining the intellectual resources of the Yale Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Yale’s 12 professional schools.

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