Canada is currently the world leader in the resettlement of refugees, eclipsing the U.S. in 2018, with the arrival of 28,100 refugee newcomers, according to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. At a global scale, however, this represents just a small fraction of the 1.4 million individuals who are seeking protection and resettlement. Countries in the global south host more than 80 per cent of the world’s refugees and Canada has an important role to play in research, policy and practice in major refugee-hosting areas around the world.
In response to this the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)-funded project, the Local Engagement Refugee Research Network (LERRN), has developed a team of researchers and practitioners, as well as a partnership of universities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), committed to promoting protection and finding solutions in collaboration with refugees around the world. Through LERRN, York University researchers at the Centre for Refugees Studies (CRS) are centrally involved in generating new research with scholars and humanitarian workers in Canada and in four major refugee-hosting countries in the global south: Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon and Tanzania.
Outstanding graduate students from the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, as well as the Faculty of Education, have taken lead roles in LERRN, with four CRS faculty involved as key players on the project as co-applicants/thematic leads (Jennifer Hyndman, Christopher Kyriakides, Dagmar Soennecken), and as adviser (Michaela Hynie).
LERRN’s Project Director, James Milner, associate professor of political science at Carleton University, will be present at CRS on York’s Keele campus on Thursday, Jan. 23, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. to deliver a talk titled “Civil society and the everyday politics of the global refugee regime: Early lessons from the Local Engagement Refugee Research Network (LERRN).” All are welcome.
A key impetus for LERRN is to acknowledge the fact that although a majority of refugees are in the global south (UNHCR 2017), most of the research and knowledge about them is generated in the global north, and to interrupt the power relations and patterns of doing research that such asymmetry has created. LERRN aims to amplify the perspectives of refugees themselves and those in the global south by ensuring a more inclusive, equitable and informed engagement with diverse thinkers and practitioners.