THE ISSAM FARES INSTITUTE FOR PUBLIC POLICY AND INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS
Refugees as City-Makers
More than five years into the “refugee crisis”, popular discourses and media debates in Lebanon still lack the vocabulary to describe the impressive competence of individuals fleeing a war torn country and the resilience they have demonstrated in facing difficult residency in Lebanon.
In this collection of essays co-edited by M. Fawaz, A. Gharbieh, M. Harb and D. Salamé, scholars, writers, designers and artists have set out to contest the stereotypical representation of Syrian refugees as a destitute, powerless and passive aid recipients.
Through original research, direct documentation, analytical representations, and visual investigations, they present a kaleidoscope of refugees as workers, entrepreneurs, dwellers, visitors, artists, artisans, students, drivers and –mostly- as active agents in the reconstruction of their livelihoods, as well as political subjects engaged in a reflection of the future of their country and the significance of their presence in today’s Lebanon. In doing so, the authors invite readers to reconsider the widespread conception of today’s Syrian refugee presence in Lebanon as “a burden”, highlighting instead their important contributions in reimagining and enacting the city as a place of refuge and diversity.
Throughout these narratives, we read about coping mechanisms, ingenious schemes, but also abusive official policies and discriminatory legal frameworks that polarize social groups and undermine possibilities of collective reorganization and emerging solidarities.
Introduction by Mona Fawaz, Ahmad Gharbieh, Mona Harb and Dounia Salamé, co-editors.
Cathrine Brun (Oxford Brookes University)
Rabie Nasr (Syrian Center for Policy Research)
Diala Lteif (Fellow, Social Justice and the City program - University of Toronto)
Margunn Indreboe (UNDP)
Moderated by: Kamel Dorai (Ifpo Beirut)
Watch the re-run: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CyOH7RsBQDc
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