How to Promote Long-Term Choices In a Short-Term World

What happens when you’re a parent in the developing world who can only provide for the family if you take your kids out of school and have them work?  Not giving them an education will sacrifice their long-term potential, but sometimes short-term needs are just too urgent. Conditional cash transfers (CCTs) attempt to make that … Continue reading

Freedom From? Or Freedom to Do and Become?

The dominant trend in international development today is to provide individuals with the means to climb out of poverty on their own terms.  The key theorist responsible for this trend is Nobel Prize laureate Amartya Sen. In his 1999 book, Development as Freedom, Sen proposed a new definition for development. Rather than thinking of development … Continue reading

Sticking with Love

I am enjoying the fruits of other people’s labor. 15 years ago my parents collaborated with a woman named Mia Scarlat to start an organization for children in Bucharest who needed a safe place to go. Mia had the expertise, my family had the concerned American donors, and with a very small budget the group … Continue reading

Good News Friday: Statelessness

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. Statelessness means a lack of citizenship. It happens for a variety of reasons, including racial discrimination, unsuccessful asylum attempts, and being in the wrong place at the wrong time during a war. Some families have been stateless for generations. Statelessness can … Continue reading

Warehousing All the Young Men

[Warehousing = The long-term encampment of refugees in violation of their rights according to the UN Refugee Convention of 1951. Also known as protraction.] When I first started studying the refugee experience I assumed that young men had it easiest. After all, young men typically incite a lot of the violence that causes refugee crises. … Continue reading

A Practical Way to Combat Human Trafficking in Your Community

Heard about human trafficking from recent awareness campaigns? Want to do something about it, but don’t know where to start? Here’s an idea for churches, youth groups, civic organizations, and school clubs: create a training seminar. Due to recent outcries over domestic human trafficking, some companies and local governments now require employee classes on recognizing … Continue reading

Thank Mom for Home

I got into forced migration because of my mother. Her commitment (obsession, almost, along with my dad) to giving me a stable home growing up caused me to feel deeply for people who do not have homes and are forced to wander. A lot of people I’ve met who work with refugees and trafficking victims … Continue reading

Children’s Literature and Refugees

Greek and Armenian refugee children near Athens, 1923 There are a number of books for children out there that focus on refugee stories and the causes of forcibly migrated people. According to Forced Migration Guide’s bibliography on the genre, “Children’s literature relating to refugees can be used to explore such themes as compassion, empathy, tolerance, … Continue reading

Sold in America

Today I’m reviewing a new documentary short: Sold in America. Directed by Chelo Alvarez-Stehle, Sold in America tells the stories of three women sold into slavery in the United States. The film does an excellent job in depicting how varied the means are for sex trafficking in America. The three women interviewed come from different … Continue reading

Tea: Debt and Migration

Who knew that a regular job producing a commodity the entire world consumes could lead to so much insecurity? Many women across the globe pick tea leaves in an effort to feed their families and provide education to their children. Despite the rain-or-shine, labor-intensive duties and low pay, the job provides income and, in many … Continue reading

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