Harvard Field Study Course: International Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis

| January 29, 2014

The Syrian refugee crisis represents one of the greatest humanitarian challenges the international community has faced over the recent years, prompting record-high levels of international aid. In view of the complexity of the political and social environment in which these challenges arise and the historical scale of the population affected, innovative and creative programmatic responses are essential to address the short and middle-term needs of refugees and reducing instability in the Middle East region.

Over 20 students from Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard School of Public Health participated in "Assessment of the Syrian Refugee Crisis in Jordan and Critical Review of the National and International Responses," a winter field study course in Jordan supported by the Middle East Initiative and led by Professor Claude Bruderlein. Read more about their learning experience below and in the attached report.

Current Debates

The Syrian refugee crisis has prompted a number of policy debates that have had a significant impact on the design of local, national, and international responses. This paper will survey the following policy issues, drawing in particular from the experience of Harvard students during a winter field study course in Jordan:

1. Borders: Ensuring the freedom of movement of affected populations across borders while maintaining the territorial integrity and security of the host country;

2. Camp vs. Urban Settings: Differences in preferences for and responses to camp and non-camp settings;

3. Refugee Livelihoods: Maintaining of the livelihoods of Syrian refugee populations within host countries;

4. Host Communities: Mitigating the impact of the presence of refugee populations on host communities and capitalizing on their presence;

5. Responsibility: Role of national governments and international donors in responding to the Syrian refugee crisis

To read the full report, written by students who participated in Professor Bruderlein's course, download it below.

For more information on this publication: Please contact Middle East Initiative
For Academic Citation: Bruderlein, Claude.. “Harvard Field Study Course: International Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis.” Paper, January 29, 2014.

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