Refugee movement continues to increase globally. A mobilities perspective examines possibilities for movement and stoppage within a post-resettlement context and a focus on policies that shape refugees’ post-resettlement experiences. The Refugee Well-being Project (RWP) is a multi-level social justice intervention that improves refugees’ mental health and well-being through increasing access to resources and social support. Refugees are paired with undergraduate students who learn from each other and co-advocate. Guided by a mobilities framework, the RWP project challenges the predominant policy focus that emphasizes economic self-sufficiency and refugee policies framed around vulnerability. The RWP achieves this through a holistic focus on multiple aspects of refugees’ lives (e.g., social, economic, physical and mental health, cultural, educational) that contribute to their well-being. Moreover, RWP centers the strengths and agency of refugees as capable individuals, families and communities who can and should define their priorities and goals. In addition, RWP highlights the need for policies and practices that extend support for refugees in a context of limited federal support. Further, through its focus on social inclusion, RWP offers important insights into refugee mobilities post-resettlement that call attention to needed policy changes. Social inclusion is a bidirectional process that encourages refugee belonging and involvement in U.S. society, but also asks that U.S. communities become more welcoming and inclusive of refugees. These insights have particular relevance in times of heightened xenophobia and discrimination against newcomers, and provide foundational ideas for refugee policies that encourage inclusion and contribute to a society strengthened by refugee perspectives and experience.
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The Egg Versus the Rock: The Limits of Engaged Anthropology Among Activists
AAA Annual Meeting 2021
18 November 2021