Expertiselab Refugee Academy

The growing number of refugees seeking safe havens around the world has become a central point of debate in the Netherlands. Local authorities and various organizations and neighbourhood initiatives are experimenting with innovative approaches for the inclusion and societal participation of status holders. Connecting the accumulated knowledge of scholars, policymakers, social partners and refugees themselves is therefore quite important.

Connecting knowledge
The Refugee Academy offers an infrastructure for connecting existing academic, professional and local knowledge to bring practice and research closer together. Collectively, these different forms of knowledge help people think about the necessary societal conditions for making these actions (towards integration of refugees) inclusive in the long term. Societal conditions are crucial for refugee integration, which is especially important in the context of growing negative feelings towards refugees. Through the Refugee Academy, unorthodox connections can be established.

The Refugee Academy initiative is aimed at increasing the learning and reflective capacities of parties involved in creating the conditions for refugee inclusion from the perspectives of policy, institution, business, NGO, civil society and research. Our themes are:
  • Community initiatives and sustainable connections: How can citizen initiatives create the right balance for refugees – between  giving them space and navigating them in a certain direction -  so they can continue their life stories?
  • Full participation for newcomers – the role of employers: What are useful strategies for involving businesses in creating job opportunities for refugees in the Netherlands? How can local authorities and organizations that contribute to improving access to the job market involve and support employers?
  • Entrepreneurship among newcomers: What experimental conditions can create opportunities among enterprising newcomers and how can refugees’ experiences and talents best be connected with enterprising opportunities in their new society?
  • ‘Crisis governance or governance crisis?’ How do we build a sustainable model for long-term refugee reception and integration? We may agree or disagree with the term ‘crisis’, but this frame is helpful when considering of future changes in the refugee influx and everyday practical challenges that different organizations face. What are stakeholders (state agencies, NGOs and new organizations) learning (or what have they learned) about refugee reception during the crisis? Where are they going from here?
About
The Refugee Academy is an initiative of professor Halleh Ghorashi, Theme Leader Resilience, Diversity and Inclusion for the Institute for Societal Resilience. For further questions, please contact dr. Elena Ponzoni (e.ponzoni@vu.nl). For the latest developments, follow the Refugee Academy on LinkedIn.