The Kenan Refugee Project (KRP) is a community-based research and advocacy project at Duke University’s Kenan Institute for Ethics. Since 2010, KRP has collaborated with refugee communities across the globe to collect and share their stories. With the goal of understanding the drivers and dynamics of contemporary displacement and forced migration and a commitment to refugee well-being, a team of faculty and students have conducted life story interviews of refugees in Egypt, Nepal, Jordan, as well as in our local community of Durham, NC. As the “refugee crisis” permeates political discourse and media headlines, we look beyond the facts and figures in an effort to understand the human implications of mass displacement.
Through these interviews, refugees share their lives with us and now with you. These stories give voice to the realities of refugee lives illuminating how the large, seemingly impersonal events of history have created deeply personal dilemmas that affect refugees daily. But these are not just stories of exile and loss, struggles and tears or violence and disorder. They are also stories of hope and resilience as well as purpose and meaning found in family, friends, work, school and faith. As the “refugee crisis” permeates political discourse and media headlines, we urge readers to look beyond the facts and figures in an effort to understand the human implications of mass displacement. Our hope is that through conversation will come compassion, and education will generate action.
In addition to a research focus on refugee well-being both in the site of first asylum and in resettlement homes, the work of the KRP is focused in 3 areas.
First, we seek to increase public awareness and understanding of the refugee crisis. We promote public understanding through Influx–our weekly dispatch on global displacement, through the country profiles and narratives we share in this website and through regular exhibits, performances and talks open to the public. With more than 60 million individuals displaced worldwide, the refugee crisis is apt to be one of the most prescient global dilemmas of the next century and any change will require broad public engagement.
Second, we work actively with the refugee community to promote well-being through research and community engagement. We have particular interest in promoting school success and access to health care. This work is centered most actively here in Durham, NC and is a collaboration with Afghani, Congolese, Iraqi, Sudani and Somali newcomers to the region.
Third, we offer a range of community-based programs for the newcomer community. These include MASTERY, Citizenship Lab and SuWA.