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Center for Human Rights and International Justice

Center Receives Two-Year Grant from Anonymous Foundation

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In December 2012, the Center was awarded a two-year grant from an anonymous foundation.  The project, coordinated by David Hollenbach, S.J, Center Director, is entitled “Continued Initiative on Research and Education on Human Rights of Migrants and Refugees in Collaboration with Practitioners, Including Jesuit Refugee Services”, represents a continuation of current Center initiatives, commencement of new initiatives, and will allow an expansion of the Center’s partnership with Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS).  The foundation has also supported the work of the Center in the past.

The grant will support ongoing research, led by Center Research Professor Maryanne Loughry, RSM, and Graduate School of Social Work Professor Thomas Crea, into the urban refugee phenomenon.  Their research to date has focused on the situation in Johannesburg, South Africa, and has involved working with JRS to evaluate their livelihoods program there, which is a prime source of their support to urban refugees.  The aim is to discern how to better serve this non-traditional, but rapidly expanding, population of refugees as their living situations, and in many ways their needs, differ markedly from the traditional refugee camp model of service delivery.  A paper summarizing their findings to date is expected to be published soon.

Also in conjunction with JRS, the grant will support a conference, to be held this coming June in Cambodia, on the topic of reconciliation, an important part of JRS’ work in the many post-conflict zones in which it works.  The conference will bring together theological experts in reconciliation, from Boston College and elsewhere, with practitioners from JRS field offices from various regions of the globe, to facilitate a dialogue and provide further orientation of JRS staff on the topic of reconciliation.  Development of training materials for JRS staff on reconciliation based on the stories and reflections to be shared in the conference will also be a product of the conference.

The grant will also help to support an Initiative on Gender and Human Rights in Contexts of Transition, led by the Center’s Associate Directors M. Brinton Lykes and Daniel Kanstroom.  This initiative will cull key findings from the Center’s various projects in this area over the last several years, resulting in two publications to help disseminate them – one directed toward Boston College alumnae, current students and faculty, and the second, a more popular education-oriented format in Spanish and English, directed towards community participants of projects in the United States and Guatemala.

The grant will also support the Center’s ongoing research in Zacualpa, Guatemala, which has researched the effects of migration on families and on the push and pull factors involved in decisions on whether to migrate.  The project, in conjunction with its Human Rights and Migration Office in Zacualpa, seeks to enhance local resources and develop Guatemala-based alternatives to migration while supporting families who have opted to respond to gross inequalities, violence and ongoing repression through transnational migration.

The grant will also help to support practice-based human rights education and training through graduate service stipends and will help the Center to make possible its many public events over the next two years.  The Center is most grateful to the foundation for helping to make all of these initiatives possible.