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2000 Mellon-MIT Grantees

Olufemi Akinola

Harvard/DuBois Institute for African-American Research --"When the Guns Go Silent Again: Refugees, NGOs, and the Eritrean Transition"

Nada Aoudeh

Harvard/GSE -- "Service Provision for Domestic Violence in the Refugee Camps of Gaza and the West Bank"

Rafael Bonoan

MIT -- "The Cessation Clause: Principles and Practice of Terminating International Protection"

Susan Eckstein

Boston University -- "The Ties That Bind: the Role of Refugees in Building Trans-National Family and Bilateral Relations"

Kelly Greenhill

MIT -- "Forced Migration as an Instrument of Coercion"

Jennifer Leaning

Harvard/SPH -- "Assessing the Demographic Impact of the Partition of India: A Feasibility Study"

Daniel Metz

MIT -- "Meeting the Humanitarian Agenda During Internal Conflict: International NGOs and the Relief Society of Tigray"

Oxana Shevel Harvard -- "International Influences in Transition Societies: Effects of International Organizations and Citizenship Policies in the Post-Communist Countries"
Timothy Snyder Harvard -- "The Memory of Forced Migration in Post-Communist Poland and Ukraine: the Role of NGOs in National Recollection and National Reconciliation"

Theresa Stichick

Harvard/SPH -- "Promoting the Rights of Children in Emergencies: A Case Study of Child and Community Participation in the IRC's Non-Formal Education and Psychosocial Support Project in Ingushetia"

 

Dr. Olufemi Akinola
Harvard University, DuBois Institute for African-American Research
Summer 2000 to January 2001
When the Guns go Silent Again: Refugees, NGOs, and the Eritrean Transition

NGO Partner: Grassroots International

Discourse on the social effects of war has invariably emphasized refugees and internally displaced populations. Deportees or expellees have yet to be privileged as a distinct category in their own right. This project focusses on deportees and expellees among Eritrea's war-affected population, in particular how their sheer presence might yet affect nation building and state making in Africa's newest state. More specifically, the study will (1) distinguish three segments of war-affected, namely refugees, internally displaced, and deportees. This might be called the conceptual-analytical task; (2) argue that in the present case, deportees and expellees from Ethiopia exemplify important social-structural and historical attributes that set them apart, as it were, from the other two sub-segments. This is the empirical question; (3) suggest that these structural attributes are likely to alter existing practices in Eritrea and perhaps affect the prospects for resettlement and re-integration of Eritrea's war-affected population. This is the policy reform question; (4) explore the implications of Eritrea's experiences for research, policy and best practices on population displacement. This might be called the theoretical-epistemological task.

More or less formal interviews are planned with deportees and their spokespersons as well as with officials of government agencies, NGOs and religious organizations. Most interviews are likely to take place in Asmara and other commercial-administrative centers, though visits to refugee camps are intended.

 

Nada Aoudeh
Harvard University, Graduate School of Education
May 2000 to February 2001
Service Provision for Domestic Violence in the Refugee Camps of Gaza and the West Bank

NGO Partner: Grassroots International

Evidence from research studies and grassroots organizations indicates domestic violence to be a serious problem among refugee communities of the West Bank and Gaza. This evidence also reveals that the majority of NGO agency and UN relief staff are unequipped to respond to this problem. This research will assess the availability, accessibility, and quality of services for Palestinian refugee women of Gaza and the West Bank who seek care as a result of injuries or conditions resulting from domestic violence. By documenting the experiences and perceptions of women who have survived battering, the study will add the perspective of women themselves to the discussion of service provision. In addition, the study will explore attitudes and knowledge of NGO and refugee service providers (UNRWA) regarding the problem of domestic violence and the obstacles to addressing it. The central research question is: "How can service providers in the refugee population respond to the needs of battered refugee women?"

 

Rafael Bonoan
MIT, Department of Political Science
October 2000 to February 2001

The Cessation Clause: Principles and Practice of Terminating International Protection

NGO Partner: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

How has UNHCR decided when to terminate international protection for refugee populations? What standards have been developed to guide such decisions and to what extent has UNHCR practice been consistent with these standards? Has the growing complexity of refugee crises affected how these decisions are made? To answer these and other questions, this research project reviews the use of the cessation clauses of the 1950 Statute of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees. In particular, it examines how UNHCR has applied the "ceased circumstances" provisions of the cessation clauses to refugee crises since 1975 and sought to regulate their use by countries of asylum. Recent cases in which the cessation clause has not been considered will also be studied to identify the factors that influence UNHCR decisions about which refugee situations to review and to help ascertain whether it has become increasingly difficult for UNHCR to apply the "ceased circumstances" provisions according to existing standards. The project will consist of archival research and interviews with UNHCR officials at UNHCR headquarters in Geneva. The UNHCR Department of International Protection will serve as the institutional partner for the project.

 

Professor Susan Eckstein
Boston University, Department of Sociology
Spring to Fall 2000
The Ties That Bind: the Role of Refugees in Building Trans-National Family and Bilateral Relations

NGO Partner: Cuban Committee for Democracy

Some 20 percent of all Cubans have emigrated from their homeland since Castro came to power, and most Cubans now have family in the United States. The revolution, in essence, has had a tumultuous effect on families. While the experience of six-year old Elian Gonzalez reveals how families have been ripped apart by the revolution, increasingly Cubans on the two sides of the Florida Straits are reestablishing ties. This study will examine the nature and extent of trans-national bonds, including those in violation of the embargo and in opposition to pressure from the well-organized conservative "hard-liners" who dominate the Cuban-American community.

Three hypotheses guide the study: (l) Emigre experiences vary by when islanders emigrated. Cohorts vary in their social and economic background, their island experiences, the extent to which they continue to have family on the island, and their actual and coveted Cuban ties. The more recent the emigration, the more extensive the trans-national bonds and the more economically important the ties are. Cubans increasingly emigrate for economic, not political reasons. (2) The more extensive transnational ties are, the more tolerant people are of each other's country and government. (3), the more recent the emigration, the greater the likelihood of non-compliance with U.S. policy that conflicts with family values.

The study will draw upon archival data on emigration, remittances, and family visits but primarily on interview data, of two types and from three sites. Interviews will be conducted with community leaders in the Greater Miami and Union City, New Jersey areas, the two main Cuban enclaves in the U.S.. In both communities, rank-and-file residents will also be interviewed. Then, some supplementary informal interviewing will be conducted in Cuba.

 

Kelly Greenhill
MIT, Department of Political Science
Summer to Fall 2000
Forced Migration as an Instrument of Coercion

NGO Partner: United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

This case study of the 1994-95 US-Cuba "mini" refugee crisis is part of a larger dissertation project on the use of refugees as political weapons. In the dissertation, which seeks to propose and test a new theory to explain how forced migration may be employed as an instrument of coercion, the US-Cuba dyad will serve as one of the key relationships examined. This case study will be conducted using the method of process tracing--via a series of interviews and primary and secondary source examination. The majority of the research on the 1994-95 crisis will be conducted over a period of six weeks to two months, during which four weeks will be spent in various locations in the state of Florida and two weeks in Cuba. (Additional historical background research--from the fall of Batista in 1959 until today--will also be necessary; however this research is not to be covered under the period of this grant.)

 

Jennifer Leaning, M.D.
Harvard University, School of Public Health
Summer to Fall 2000
Assessing the Demographic Impact of the Partition of India: A Feasibility Study

NGO Partner: TBA

The 1947 Partition of India is one of the most significant instances of voluntary and involuntary mass population movement in modern history. Despite the passage of more than 50 years, the mortality and morbidity consequences of this migration have not been systematically described or assessed. The unexplored impact of this event is relevant today, not only to the social, economic, and political life of India and Pakistan, but also to provide parameters against which to evaluate more recent large-scale migrations elsewhere, and for development of methodologies to measure the impacts of such movements.

The feasibility study will be carried out over a period of three months to assess whether or not records exist, or can be compiled from archival and census materials available in Indian subcontinent and in the UK, so as to enable preparation of a more extensive three-year project on the demographic dimensions of Partition. The feasibility study team (and the larger project) involves collaboration amongst an Indian historical demographer, an NGO in Calcutta, two senior researchers in the United Kingdom, and three graduate students.

 

Daniel Metz
MIT, Department of Political Science
Fall 2000
Meeting the Humanitarian Agenda During Internal Conflict: International NGOs and the Relief Society of Tigray

NGO Partner: Oxfam America

This project will evaluate the work performed by the Relief Society of Tigray (REST) in northern Ethiopia beginning with the famine of the mid-1980s and ending in 1991. The terrible famine that struck Ethiopia placed international relief NGOs in the difficult position of having to deal with a crisis occurring largely in areas outside of the control of an internationally-recognized government. Many of the worst-hit areas in Ethiopia's northern province of Tigray were controlled by the Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which fought the Ethiopian government from 1975 until it defeated government forces in 1991. The TPLF formed REST to deal with humanitarian crises, and international NGOs wishing to give aid to Tigray had no choice but to work through REST. The purpose of the project, then, is to gather evidence from this one case in order to assess whether the humanitarian goals of international NGOs are compromised by funding relief agencies affiliated with rebel movements. In doing so it will focus on determining how REST efforts--ranging from providing feeding centers to resettling refugees and IDPs--were affected by both the TPLF-government conflict and by the TPLF's/REST's Marxist ideology.

 

Oxana Shevel
Harvard University, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs
Summer 2000

International Influences in Transition Societies: Effects of International Organizations and Citizenship Policies in the Post-Communist Countries

NGO Partner: Oxfam America

The broader dissertation research, of which Mellon-funded study is a part, addresses the question of how formal international organizations (IOs) affect refugee and citizenship policies of the new democracies in East-Central Europe and the former Soviet Union. It is a comparative study of four cases of refugee polices and two cases of citizenship policies in four post-Communist countries (the Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, and Russia). To explain cross-country variations in IOs' influence, the research focusses on the process of domestic-international interaction. The dissertation develops and tests a theory of IOs' influences in the transition environment that centers around the effects of three explanatory factors: (1) the effect of the uncertainty feature of the post-Communist "triple transition" on relevant domestic interests, which make them more susceptible to influence by the IOs; (2) the attributes of formal IOs, which, it is argued, allow one to conceptualize them not as purely "second-level" actors, but as full-fledged participants in the domestic political process; and (3) the institutional rules of domestic policy-making that determine the number of actors in the decision-making process on refugee and citizenship policies, and regulate IOs' access to these actors.

The research during summer 2000 undertaken with the support of Mellon funding builds on previous field work in Ukraine. This phase of the study will analyze developments leading to, and the outcome of, parliamentary hearings on the Crimean Tatar problem that took place in April 2000. It was a rather unexpected (although long-overdue) development, which was a result of recent political changes in Ukraine. Parliamentary hearings on this subject, and the consideration of long-overdue draft legislation aimed at solving the outstanding problems, appear to be a significant milestone in Ukraine's nationality policy. The research will investigate what role (if any) the international actors played in these recent changes, the role of a newly established Crimean Tatar NGO that was actively lobbying for the hearing, and the implications of the parliamentary hearings for the future government policy on this issue.

 

Dr. Timothy Snyder
Harvard University, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs
Summer 2000

The Memory of Forced Migration in Post-Communist Poland and Ukraine: the Role of NGOs in National Recollection and National Reconciliation

NGO Partner: The Home Army of Veterans of Volhynia and The Union of Ukrainians in Poland

The current study builds upon a previous Mellon-funded grant to establish the causes, extent, and consequences of the forcible resettlement of individuals identified as Ukrainians within the territory of Poland in the late 1940s. These actions were preceded by a cleansing of Poles by a Ukrainian insurgent army during the Second World War, and took place in the context of the imposition of communist rule in Poland. Fieldwork took place in archives organized by Polish and Ukrainian NGOS in Warsaw, as well as in villages in southeastern Poland from which Ukrainians were deported. Work during summer 2000 will focus on the role of contemporary NGOs in contributing to national recollection and national reconciliation since the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe. It will involve interviews with policy makers in Kyiv and Warsaw and visits to cleansed villages on either side of the Polish-Ukranian border to investigate how far historical reinterpretation has spread to those who were cleansed and returned, those who profited from ethnic cleansing by gaining property, and those who took part in the cleansing and their families.

 

Theresa Stichick
Harvard University, School of Public Health
Summer to Fall 2000

Promoting the Rights of Children in Emergencies: A Case Study of Child and Community Participation in the IRC's Non-Formal Education and Psychosocial Support Project in Ingushetia

NGO Partner: International Rescue Committee

This project involves a case study of the International Rescue Committee's (IRC's) approach to addressing the unique needs of internally-displaced Chechen children and adolescents residing in the Russian Republic of Ingushetia. The case study will be developed in close collaboration with the IRC Chechnya/Ingushetia field staff and the Children Affected by Armed Conflict Unit at IRC headquarters in New York City. The study will explore the central question of how to promote the rights of children in emergencies, with particular attention to the participation of adolescent youth leaders in the implementation and ongoing development of the emergency non-formal education program. It will also explore the IRC's effectiveness in implementing the project via remote access, in view of potential risks of working in the region. The case study will involve a mixed-methods design incorporating qualitative data collection through key informant and group interviews, as well as well as review of administrative records and other monitoring tools. In its emphasis on youth participation and other issues in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, this project has the potential to inform the design of future support programs for refugee and internally-displaced youth.

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