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


  1. 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.


  • 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?


  1. 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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