Faith has emerged throughout the research as a significant motivating factor in responses to displacement, and a key source of assistance and strength for those experiencing displacement. These findings challenge prevailing understandings of faith as a potentially problematic and dividing factor in humanitarian contexts, instead highlighting the many positive roles that faith, faith-based organisations and local faith communities play in displacement affected contexts. Faith traditions and values can become key influencing factors in framing both hostility, but also hospitality, towards displaced communities. Understanding these dynamics, and developing a language for mutual understanding between secular humanitarian actors and faith based responses, arises as a key recommendation of this research, which will be outlined in a forthcoming Religious Literacy Handbook and Policy Briefing. 

Below, Dr Anna Rowlands shares key insights from the Refugee Hosts project relating to local faith community responses to displacement. If subtitles are unavailable please access the video here.

Prof Alastair Ager shares key insights from the Refugee Hosts project relating to local responses to displacement, and the localisation of aid agenda and how religion shapes every day lives in the contexts of hosting and exile. If subtitles are unavailable please access the video here.

Over the course of the project, we have curated a blog series on Faith and Displacement, drawing on diverse perspectives from academics and practitioners about the role faith plays in contexts of displacement. We have also worked in collaboration with the British Council USA and colleagues at Yale University on a major research project exploring religion and social justice for refugees in Cameroon, Greece, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia and Mexico. Read the report here and more about this collaboration here and watch Principal Investigators, Prof. Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Zareena Grewal and Unni Krishnan Karunakara speak about the project below.

Watch Prof Alastair Ager, Dr Anna Rowlands, Dr Olivia Wilkinson, Atallah Fitzgibbon and Fernando Espada convene and present at the Refugee Hosts’ International Conference workshop ‘Locating Faith in Humanitarian Response and Local Community Response.

Access our Essential Reading on Faith and Displacement here.

Refugee Hosts’ Co-Investigators have also produced a number of key publications relating to the theme of faith and displacement, which can be accessed below. We will be updating this page with more resources and findings in due course.

Alastair Ager

Ager, A. and Ager, J. (2016) Faith, Secularism and Humanitarian Engagement

Ager, A. and Ager, J. (2015) Faith, Secularism and Humanitarian Engagement. New York: Palgrave.

Ager, J., Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, E. and Ager, A. (2015) ‘Local Faith Communities and the Promotion of Resilience in Contexts of Humanitarian Crisis,‘ Journal of Refugee Studies, 28 (2): 202- 221. *Selected by OUP as one of 6 “highly cited articles” to showcase “the impressive body of research” published in the OUP Journal of Refugee Studies.

Ager, A. and El-Nakib, A (2015) Local Faith Community and Related Civil Society Engagement in Humanitarian Response with Syrian Refugees in Irbid, Jordan, A report to the Henry Luce Foundation, New York: Columbia University.

Anna Rowlands

Rowlands, A. (2018) ‘Turkey – Crossroads for the Displaced‘ The Tablet, 5 March 2018.

Rowlands, A. (2017) ‘Pursuing Integral Peace: How to Resist Trump’s Politics of Despair,’ ABC Religion and Ethics, 1 February 2017.

Rowlands, A. (2017) ‘Against the Manichees: Immigration Detention and the Shaping of the Theo-political Imagination’ in Schmiedel, U. and Smith, G. Religion in the European Refugee Crisis (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).

Rowlands, A. (2016) ‘After Lesvos and Lampedusa: The European Crisis and its challenge to Catholic Social Thought’, Journal of Catholic Social Thought, Special Edition on Migration.

Rowlands, A. (2015) ‘Forgetting the Good: Moral Contradictions in the Response to Mass Migration’, ABC Religion and Ethics.

Rowlands, A. (2015) ‘Strangers in a Strange Land,’ The Tablet, 2 July 2015.

Rowlands, A. (2015) ‘Shoulder to Shoulder,’ The Tablet, 10 September 2015