Meeting Minutes for Refugees and Forced Migration Hub

Date: September 22, 6-8 pm
Location: The Salvation Army – 221 E 52nd Street, New York City, NY 10022


Hub Co-Chairs:

Sadia Kidwai, Islamic Relief Worldwide- [email protected]

Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, University College London- [email protected]



Stacy Nam(JLI)

Matthew Frost (JLI)

Jean Duff (JLI)

Sadia Kidwai (Islamic Relief Worldwide)

Anwar Khan (Islamic Relief USA)

Peter (Integritas Intl Advisors)

Isis Sunwoo (World Vision International)

Alastair Ager (QMU & Columbia)

Jennifer Poidatz (Catholic Relief Services)

Sharif Aly (Islamic Relief USA)

Harvey Dupiton (Xen Pi Co & Assoc)

David Gibson (International Affairs)

Fraser Murray (Christian Aid)

Peter Howard (Food for the Hungry)

Lucas Koach (Food for the Hungry)

Claire Fletcher (University College London -UCL)

Maya Wahrman (Princeton University)

Christo Greyling (World Vision International)

Tara Gingerich (Oxfam America)

Carlos Mejia (Oxfam America)

Bastian De Vos (ZOA)


Phone: Elena Fiddian- Qasmiyeh (UCL)

Olivia Wilkinson (Trinity College Dublin)

Diane Moore (Harvard University)

Tahir Zaman (University of Groningen)

Shereen El Feki (University of Toronto)


Agenda details: 

  1. Introductions (6:00-6:55 pm)
    • Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities (JLI)

Refugees and Forced Migration (RFM) Learning Hub (July conference call)

  • Terms of Reference (TOR)

Framing Questions

  • What roles have faith-based actors played to support refugees throughout different stages and different spaces of their journeys?
  • What evidence exists of faith-based initiatives to support refugees having had a positive impact on protection outcomes?
  • To what extent, and how, are local faith communities and religious leaders promoting refugees’ protection and resilience?
  • How do the theological reflections of local faith communities on issues around forced migration, hospitality and solidarity influence their approaches?
  • How effective are current partnerships and relationships between faith communities and the mainstream humanitarian architecture/formal protection mechanisms?
  • What lessons can be drawn from the ways that specific faith groups/communities interact with refugees?


  • Alastair: as a past chair of resilience hub that addressed some similar issues, worked for 3-4 years and encourage this to work towards a finite time
  • Participant introductions


2. Reflections on the UN Summit (6:30-6:50 pm)

  • Human Rights Watch started the session
  • Discussion had remarks that were negative and stressed refugee burden on host countries- round table 1 was very negative
  • No mention of faith
  • Session with refugees (Refugee Voices) was very uplifting
  • FBO and faith presence seemed to be focused on side events rather than main UN sessions (i.e. Holy See event)
  • Very few details were given on the Global Compact during the Compact session
  • In general, New York Declaration had no new commitments behind it or “meat”, and nothing that pushes us forward. Disappointing that there are no specific commitments which we can track.


3. Scoping Study Plans (6:50-7:50 pm)

Introduction of scoping study

  • Targeted lit review, grey lit and case studies from members of hub, interviews with practitioners
  • Role of hub members in scoping study: writing case study, case studies from members, fill in geographic areas
  • Explore thematic scoping studies
  • Dissemination and call for further research


  • Possible themes raised in previous meeting:
    • Relationship b/t faith-based and secular actors and influential position of faith groups (attitude and practice)
    • Relationship b/t gender and faith-based responses
    • Rights of women & children
    • Terminology
    • Spiritual needs of refugees and IDPs
    • Psycho-social and pastoral care of migrants
    • FBOs and safe passage



Discussion of participation and development of potential themes

  • Identifying the key policy and practice change objectives are we looking for; who are our targets and champions?
    • Efficiency and effectiveness: Donors are interested in aid effectiveness conversation, especially efficiencies with working with local faith actors. Evidence of whether, and if so how, FBO service provision is more efficient?
    • Teminology: consider the advantages and limitations of both secular and FBO language; terminology that is accessible to secular organisations; religious literacy
    • Role of spirituality – to what extent do secular (ie MSF) and faith-based organistions respond to the spiritual needs of beneficiaries (ie if they believe in holistic care)
    • Education with, for and about refugees
    • Relationship between local, national and international faith-based actors, including FBOs understanding local communities, ecumenical practice etc.
    • Measurement, including ‘faith metrics’ – consider how we measure change, including change in hope, change in attitudes, etc.
    • Recognise and meaningfully address common fears held by secular groups towards FBOs, and by FBOs towards secular groups – ie assumptions re. proselytizing; the implications of FBOs representing themselves as being ‘the same’ as secular organisations, etc.
    • Consider what different actors (including refugees) consider to be distinctive between the groups: what is the unique contribution that FBOs and LFCs can offer that secular organisations can’t/don’t.


Oct 2017 working meeting: Hub members might be able to present case studies, mechanisms, methods

  • Questions to potentially explore in the next meeting:
  • How to hold international and national actors accountable re. the results of the Refugee Summit and the New York Declaration
  • How to chart advocacy influence and a more formal refugee response plan?


4. Next steps and Goals (7:50-8:00 pm)

  • October 2017 International Forum, Localizing Response to Humanitarian Need: The Role of Religious and Faith-Based Organizations
  • Attach fliers for working meetings etc
  • Prepare a more concrete concept note
  • Set clearer policy targets and identify who are we looking to influence


JLI Staff:

Jean Duff, Coordinator- [email protected]

Stacy Nam, Knowledge Manager- [email protected]

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