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JRS/USA Staff Recommendations for Reading
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA staff recommendations for further reading on the issues of migration, refugees, asylum-seekers and forcibly displaced people. To access the Recommended Reading Archive, please click here.
  • Refugee resettlement
  • Documentary Film
  • Protection Ethics
  • Jesuit Values
  • Ethical Obligations
  • Inside Dadaab
  • AmazonSmile
Now is the time to increase, not decrease, refugee resettlement worldwide

ICVA, a global network of non-governmental organizations whose mission is to make humanitarian action more principled and effective by working collectively and independently to influence policy and practice, has release a statement titled Sharing Responsibility for Refugees: Now is the time to increase, not decrease, refugee resettlement worldwide.

The recent decisions taken by the Government of the United States represent the latest example of (a) negative trend. The Executive Order issued on 27 January 2017 temporarily banning the entry of refugees, migrants and citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries stands contrary to the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and in contradiction to other international instruments. In particular, it stands contrary to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees which calls on states to apply its provisions “without discrimination as to race, religion or country of origin” and enshrines the principle of non-refoulement.

This new U.S. policy directly affects thousands of vulnerable refugees who have been anxiously waiting for an opportunity to start a new life, in safety and dignity. They now find themselves bereft of the only hope they have had, the only silver lining in the dark conditions of despair they otherwise face. Security concerns of all nations are valid, however, there are means to ensure the safety and security of ones’ citizens without having to undermine the hope of millions. Countries who provide refugee resettlement, including the U.S., are already working hard to share best practices when it comes to strengthening the integrity of their screening systems. 

Read the full statement here.

Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare)

Winner of the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, Gianfranco Rosi’s documentary observes Europe’s migrant crisis from the vantage point of a Mediterranean island where hundreds of thousands of refugees, fleeing war and poverty, have landed in recent decades. 

Rosi shows the harrowing work of rescue operations but devotes most of the film to the daily rhythms of Lampedusa, seen through the eyes of a doctor who treats casualties and performs autopsies, and a feisty but anxious pre-teen from a family of fishermen for whom it is simply a peripheral fact of life. With its emphasis on the quotidian, the film reclaims an ongoing tragedy from the abstract sensationalism of media headlines. 

Learn more about the film here.

Borders and Duties to the Displaced: Ethical Perspectives on the Refugee Protection System

This essay by Father David Hollenbach S.J., Pedro Arrupe Distinguished Research Professor at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service and senior fellow at the Berkley Center, proposes some ethical perspectives that can help in the task of reassessing the structure of the global refugee protection system in light of the extraordinarily high levels of refugee movement and forced migration occurring today. It addresses two chief areas. 

Jesuit Values in Leadership

Creighton University is committed to teaching students in the Jesuit tradition, helping them identify their personal strengths and weaknesses as well as the strengths and weaknesses among their colleagues and within their teams. This unique style of social leadership has sustained many great leaders in their personal crusades to make a difference in the world.

More than 450 years ago the Society of Jesus, the Roman Catholic order commonly called "the Jesuits," blazed a trail of encouraging leadership scholarship. Founded by Ignatius Loyola, who experienced a religious epiphany after being wounded in battle as a Spanish soldier, the Jesuits built their notion of leadership on four values - self-awareness, ingenuity, love and heroism.

Learn more about value-driven leadership on Creighton’s website here.

Ethical Obligations to Displaced People

According to the United Nations, last year some eight million people around the world were displaced from their homes by conflict and social upheaval—the largest number ever recorded in a single year. Religion and Ethics Newsweekly correspondent Kim Lawton talks with prominent Roman Catholic theologian and ethicist Rev. David Hollenbach S.J. about the global refugee crisis and the moral obligations he believes the U.S. government and individual Americans have to respond.

City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World's Largest Refugee Camp
City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World's Largest Refugee Camp takes readers inside Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. 

Situated hundreds of miles from any other settlement, deep within the inhospitable desert of northern Kenya where only thorn bushes grow, Dadaab is a city like no other. Its buildings are made from mud, sticks or plastic, its entire economy is grey, and its citizens survive on rations and luck. Over the course of four years, Ben Rawlence became a first-hand witness to a strange and desperate limbo-land, getting to know many of those who have come there seeking sanctuary. Among them are Guled, a former child soldier who lives for football; Nisho, who scrapes an existence by pushing a wheelbarrow and dreaming of riches; Tawane, the indomitable youth leader; and schoolgirl Kheyro, whose future hangs upon her education. 

In City of Thorns, Rawlence interweaves the stories of nine individuals to show what life is like in the camp and to sketch the wider political forces that keep the refugees trapped there. Rawlence combines intimate storytelling with broad socio-political investigative journalism, doing for Dadaab what Katherinee Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers did for the Mumbai slums. Lucid, vivid and illuminating, City of Thorns is an urgent human story with deep international repercussions, brought to life through the people who call Dadaab home. 

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