On Wednesday March 11, Dr. Ola El-Taliawi, Postdoctoral Fellow in Global Refugee Policy at Carleton University, gave a talk to outline her research agenda for advancing the study of refugee policy. During her talk, she presented her doctoral research on state policy responses to the Syrian refugee movement. Her research focused on refugee policy formulation and implementation in Lebanon and Jordan; both non-signatory countries to the 1951 Refugee Convention. 

Dr. El-Taliawi noted that given the absence of any clear parameters on how states choose to respond to mass refugee flows, and the diversity of responses states adopt, it is imperative that we advance our understanding of what influences states’ refugee policymaking. This is especially important in cases of extreme emergency and crisis situations, when policymaking tends to be more chaotic and ad-hoc. According to her, understanding the drivers and factors that influence refugee policymaking can help us reduce the negative consequences to refugees, host societies and the international humanitarian community. 

Dr. Ola El-Taliawi presented a talk on refugee policy formulation and implementation on March 11.

A key point highlighted by Dr. El-Taliawi was the need to adopt complexity and systems thinking when analysing refugee policymaking during crisis situations. According to her, policies in such situations emerge from complex and dynamic system interactions that change and evolve over time. Non-restrictive policy responses are not solely linked to Convention adoption or conformance to international norms of refugee protection, but may emerge from other factors including local norms. Her talk ended with a set of policy recommendations for crisis mitigation including the need to adopt a third approach to refugee protection; one which realizes both the interests of the hosts and the refugee population.  

With over 80% of refugee research originating in the Global North, Dr. El-Taliawi commended the approach that the Local Engagement Refugee Research Network (LERRN) has adopted in taking collaborative approach research and knowledge mobilization; one which ensures that refugee research and policies are shaped by more inclusive, equitable and informed collective engagement of civil society. 

As a Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. El-Taliawi will dedicate the next two years to updating her research findings and publishing them to be accessible to the academic and practitioner communities alike. Further, her plans include organizing an international workshop for the study of refugee policymakingwhich will bring together researchers and others interested in bridging the divide between public policy and refugee studies. 

You can stay up to date with all upcoming LERRN events here.