On January 21st 2021 at 17.30pm (GMT), Refugee Hosts’ PI, Prof. Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, delivered “Shifting the Gaze: Southern-led Humanitarian Responses to Displacement” for the Mellon Sawyer series: ‘Humanitarians. Migrations and Care through the Global South’ hosted by the Simpson Center, University of Washington. Her presentation was followed by a graduate seminar on Jan 22nd, in which graduate researchers led a discussion with Prof. Fiddian-Qasmiyeh vis-a-vis her longstanding work on “Recentering the South in Studies of Migration”, including her 2020 open access article of that title published in the Migration and Society journal, which you can read here.

The event on Jan 21st is now on line and you can watch it below:

Drawing on research conducted for both the Refugee Hosts and the Southern Responses to Displacement project, Prof. Fiddian-Qasmiyeh discussed displacement as primarily a ‘Southern’ and ‘South-South’ phenomenon, to which Southern actors have historically responded in ways that resist, reject and provide alternatives to the hegemonic aid regime. However, Southern-led responses to displacement have typically been rendered invisible, and are largely un-acknowledged by Northern- and Northern-based academics, policy-makers and practitioners. Though scholarly study of Southern actors’ responses to displacement has recently increased, Northern academics and policy observers too frequently delegitimize the activities of Islamic faith-based organizations and “non-traditional” donor states, which are not members of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and Kuwait). In this presentation, Fiddian-Qasmiyeh focuses on responses to Syrian displacement since 2011 and develops a multiscalar analysis of the roles played by Southern states, local host communities, faith-based networks and refugees themselves. She argues that a focus on “refugee-refugee humanitarianism” can challenge dominant and exclusionary Northern humanitarianism paradigms of refugee studies.

For more information about the series see bit.ly/humanitarianisms

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