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(apologies for poor sound quality initially)

The Syrian Humanitarian Disaster: Understanding Perceptions, Aspirations and Behaviour in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey

This one-day workshop, held on 9 December 2015, engages researchers and practitioners with findings from recent research into the perceptions, aspirations and behaviour of refugees from Syria, host community members, and practitioners in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan. Professor Dawn Chatty presents her British Academy funded research on this theme alongside a number of other researchers and practitioners with recent experience in this area. The workshop aims to promote greater understanding of the unique socio-historical context of the Syrian humanitarian disaster in each of the regional hosting countries by addressing specifically changing perceptions and aspirations. In addition the workshop presents examples of good practice and lessons learned from practitioners in countries bordering on Syria. 

The speed with which Syria disintegrated into extreme violence and armed conflict shocked the world and left the humanitarian aid regime in turmoil as agencies struggled to respond to the growing displacement crisis on Syria’s borders. The mass displacement has now  reached Northern Mediterranean shores as well as Central European borders. It has left the neighbouring states of Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan in a quandary as to how to effectively provide protection for these people seeking refuge. None have granted the displaced refugee status; each has established temporary measures to deal with this crisis. In many cases the displaced and the host communities have not been consulted and thus tensions have quickly emerged among host communities, displaced Syrians and humanitarian policy-makers and practitioners. That tension, despair and hopelessness has seen thousands leave the region over the past year in search for survival in dignity. This workshop aims to explore the different perceptions and aspirations of Syria’s refugees, humanitarian assistance practitioners, and the host community. It also seeks to probe what social factors with the host community, will, when circumstances permit, positively contribute to the reshaping and re-integration of Syrian society post-conflict.

A policy note derived from this workshop is now available: 'Refuge from Syria: Policy Recommendations' (pdf)


10:15     Welcome

10:30     Panel 1

Disparity in perceptions and aspirations in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan [presentation slides]

Dawn Chatty, Refugee Studies Centre

Jordanian hosts and Syrian refugees: comparing perceptions of social conflict and cohesion in three host communities [presentation slides]

Maira Seeley, Generations for Peace

Together apart: Syrian/Turkish relations in the Eastern Mediterranean [presentation slides]

Eduardo Chemin, Çağ Üniversitesi, Turkey

‘Either we'll survive the sea or we'll die:' Syrian refugees in Lesvos, Greece

Maria Kastrinou, Brunel University

Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon: vulnerability and resilience in a fragile state

Filippo Dionigi, LSE

12:30     Lunch

13:30     Panel II

Lebanon: looking ahead in times of crisis - taking stock of the present to urgently build sustainable options for the future

Sally Abi Khalil, Oxfam's Policy Advisor, Lebanon

Valentina Bacchin, Lebanon Protection Coordinator, Oxfam

Education – what is it good for?...absolutely nothing! OR absolutely everything! Formal and informal education in Syria 1980-2010 and the prospects for a future more inclusive and critical education [presentation slides]

Annika Rabo, Stockholm University

All politics is local? Perceptions of the impact of Syrian refugees on local services in Northern Jordan [related Chatham House report]

Doris Carrion, Chatham House

Regional overview of perceptions by practitioners in Lebanon and Jordan [presentation slides]

Shaden Khallaf, UNHCR Regional Office, Amman

15:30     Tea break

16:00     Conclusions

Shaden Khallaf, UNHCR Regional Office, Amman

Dawn Chatty, Refugee Studies Centre

Anna Chernova, Oxfam


This workshop was livestreamed.

Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture

The Annual Harrell-Bond Lecture is named in honour of Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond, the founding Director of the Refugee Studies Centre. It is held each year in Michaelmas term.

Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture

The Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture is held in Trinity term. It is named after Professor Elizabeth Colson, a renowned anthropologist.

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Forthcoming events

University of Sanctuary Fair, Part 1: University of Oxford as a University of Sanctuary

Wednesday, 24 April 2024, 2pm to 6pm @ Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre, Worcester College, Walton St, Oxford OX1 2HB

Humanitarian extractivism: the digital transformation past, present, future

Wednesday, 08 May 2024, 5pm to 6pm @ Seminar Room 1, Queen Elizabeth House, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TB

Film screening and discussion: Missing in Brooks County

Wednesday, 15 May 2024, 5pm to 7pm @ Seminar Room 1, Queen Elizabeth House, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TB

Forced Migration on Film: A Conversation with Marc Isaacs | Annual Elizabeth Colson Lecture 2024

Wednesday, 22 May 2024, 5pm to 6.30pm @ Tsuzuki Lecture Theatre, St Anne's College, 56 Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6HS

Book launch: The Politics of Crisis-Making: Forced Displacement and Cultures of Assistance in Lebanon

Wednesday, 29 May 2024, 5pm to 6pm @ Seminar Room 1, Queen Elizabeth House, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TB

Skilled worker visas for refugees – a qualitative evaluation of the UK’s Displaced Talent Mobility Pilot

Wednesday, 05 June 2024, 5pm to 6pm @ Seminar Room 1, Queen Elizabeth House, 3 Mansfield Road, Oxford, OX1 3TB