Perceptions of Iraqi Refugee Integration in Egypt and Jordan: A Secondary Analysis

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2021

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Abstract

Social interactions with civil society are an essential component of the refugee experience, actively shaping humanitarian aid as well as policies towards refugee needs (Barnes, 2011; Van der Leun & Bouter, 2015). However, material needs are frequently depicted as the main endeavor for refugee support. This overlooks the moral components of the refugee experience, through the need for dignity (del Soto, 2008), mental health resources (Silove et al., 2017) and a sense of security (Eby et al., 2011) which are essential support structures if refugees are to, even temporarily, live in the new communities they join. Notably, current research on existing systems emphasizes material refugee provisions with little focus on mental health (Weine, 2011) or the cultural implications of integration (Esses et al., 2017). This thesis explores refugees’ perceptions of integration in host countries with an emphasis on the lack of support structures beyond material humanitarian response in Egypt and Jordan as a secondary data analysis project. It is based on 108 qualitative life-story interviews with Iraqi refugees conducted by the Kenan Refugee Project of Duke University between 2012 and 2019 primarily in Cairo, Egypt and Amman, Jordan. Through this analysis, I determined a pressing need for a temporary, informal integration process with much needed social support and mental health resources beyond the current legal standards in place. I further argue that the multi-dimensional, multi-disciplinary nature of refugee needs are frequently overlooked and underestimated and that a new approach beyond materialprovisions at the global decision-making table is long overdue for the dignity, human rights and quality of life refugees deserve across the globe.

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Büyüm, Ali Murad (2021). Perceptions of Iraqi Refugee Integration in Egypt and Jordan: A Secondary Analysis. Master's thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/23319.

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