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  • Author: Dana Moss
  • Publication Date: 09-2019
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Brown Journal of World Affairs
  • Abstract: Transnational social movements play a critical role in the fight against authoritarianism, and a growing field of diaspora studies shows that exiles, émigrés, emigrants, and refugees are especially well positioned to undermine dictatorships from abroad. Given their cross-border ties, diasporas often mobilize against abuses taking place in their homelands, move aid to war zones and refugee camps, and fuel revolutionary social change. Exiles who gain the right to protest and lobby in their places of settlement can also become powerful players in international relations. Iraqi expatriate Ahmed Chalabi, who helped to justify the United States-led invasion of Iraq by fabricating evidence of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, is just one example of how influential exiles can be when exacting revenge on the autocrats who abused them.
  • Topic: Diaspora, Authoritarianism, Democracy, Protests
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East
  • Author: Bassma Kodmani, Hana Jaber
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Before 2011, the Syrian diaspora worldwide was estimated at 18 million people who migrated over more than a century and have mostly contributed actively to their host communities. This old diaspora has now increased with the wave of Syrian refugees who fled - and continue to flee - Syria because of the ongoing conflict. Over the past seven years, seven million Syrians - not all registered refugees – have fled the country out of a total population of 24 million before the conflict. The Arab Reform Initiative (ARI) conducted a research project between Spring 2017 and 2018 to study Syrian diaspora around the world after the 2011 uprising, map its features and explore the interactions of Syrian migrant communities with the conflict in Syria. To draw a map of these interactions, ARI commissioned a group of researchers to prepare studies on Syrian diaspora in North America, Latin America, and Europe. Regarding the Middle East, researchers conducted studies on the presence of Syrians in Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, and Egypt as well as Gulf States, with Qatar and the UAE as case example. Furthermore, ARI prepared three papers on the experiences of other diaspora groups in the region, namely the Armenian, the Palestinian, and Lebanese, with a view to comparing them with the Syrian case and draw lessons from them. Finally, ARI shared a questionnaire with the researchers to use with Syrian personalities (academics, businesspeople, engineers, etc.) so as to explore the motives that could encourage or deter them from contributing to channel the potential of the Syrian diaspora to help in the recovery of the Syrian society in Syria and abroad. Researchers also focused on the living conditions of Syrian communities, new and old, in diaspora countries. The ensuing report draws a new globalized network of relationships characterized by the following:
  • Topic: Globalization, Diaspora, Refugees, Revolution
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, Latin America, Syria, North America
  • Author: Taher labadi
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Displacement, dispersal, denial of nationhood, and global power shifts define the existence of the Palestinian diaspora, hindering their ability to connect to each other and to their homeland. This paper outlines diaspora-homeland relationships that, it argues, are shaped by both settler-colonial policies and globalization. “Diasporization” also impacts power dynamics among Palestinians, reflected in the shifting centre of gravity of Palestinian politics toward the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the growing marginalization of the Palestinian diaspora – especially those residing in neighbouring Arab countries. This paper also addresses the emergence of Palestinian diaspora elites who have been involved in inward-bound dynamics within the state-building process. Of particular note are increasing attempts to mobilize Palestinian “expatriates,” intending to strengthen their involvement in both economic development and state-building processes.
  • Topic: Globalization, Diaspora, Colonialism, State Building, Economic Development
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Israel, Palestine
  • Author: Nora Ragab, Amer Katbeh
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: This research was commissioned by Danish Refugee Council’s (DRC) Diaspora Programme as part of a project with the Durable Solutions Platform (DSP) joint initiative of DRC, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). This study seeks to explore Syrian diaspora mobilisation in six European host countries: Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The report focuses on the organisational framework, transnational links and practices of Syrian diaspora groups, by taking into account both internal dynamics and potential lines of conflict as well as the contextual factors in the country of origin and destination. The mapping and study seek to provide a basis for further engagement with the most relevant group of Syrians (associations and individuals) across Europe for consultations on future solution scenarios for Syrian refugees, as well as to enable DRC’s Diaspora Programme to develop activities specifically targeting the Syrian diaspora looking towards the reconstruction and development of Syria.
  • Topic: Globalization, Diaspora, Refugee Issues, transnationalism
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe, Middle East, France, Germany, Denmark, Syria, Switzerland, Sweden
  • Author: Rayan Majed
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: This paper is an attempt to monitor the situation of the Syrian diaspora in Lebanon from 2011 until today, without claiming full coverage of all aspects of the subject. It focuses on four diaspora categories as well as the reflection of the Lebanese-Syrian historical relationship and the internal political situation in Lebanon on the Syrian diaspora there. The paper relies on reports from international and human rights organizations and articles on Syrian asylum in Lebanon, and on interviews with Syrian residents living in Lebanon from a variety of backgrounds.
  • Topic: Civil War, Regional Cooperation, Diaspora, Immigration
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon, Syria, Beirut, Damascus
  • Author: Basma Alloush
  • Publication Date: 12-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The Syrian American diaspora has been actively engaged in the Syrian uprising through the provision of humanitarian assistance and the entry into political advocacy work. Yet, the Syrian diaspora in the U.S. does not represent a homogenous population group nor a unified political position. On the contrary, assessing the dynamics of the diaspora since 2011 reveals important transformations within diasporic groupings, with the 2011 uprising acting as a catalyst for the emergence of new fractures. Through a mixture of desk research and interviews with key members of the Syrian American diaspora, this paper investigates the evolution of the community and discusses the potential role of the diaspora in a post-conflict Syria. By assessing current and evolving trends within the diaspora from 2011, it is possible to shape future reconstruction plans to effectively include the Syrian American diaspora.
  • Topic: Civil War, Diaspora, Immigration
  • Political Geography: United States, Middle East, Syria, North America, Damascus