activism · culture · Hope · immigration · refugees

Refugees – Part 3

Practice

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Hate and anger are deeply held and very personal feelings that each participant will likely define and describe differently.    It will be essential to Syrian refugee populations to acknowledge these emotions and find ways to cooperate within their society in order to ensure that retributive violence does not occur because of hatred.  I believe that the practice of facilitation will be of great use in the Syrian refugee situation for numerous reasons.  There are significant benefits to the use of facilitation in conflict situations (Rees, 2005).  Facilitation would allow Syrian refugees to establish group motivation in the support of decisions because of the involvement required in the process.  Group efforts can produce significantly better results in resolving conflict than in individual efforts.  Groups working together increase productivity in resolving conflict.  Facilitation allows participants to contribute and feel as if they are integral to the result and the team.  Innovation and problem solving skills are also built into the system of facilitation.

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The benefits of facilitation derive from the core values inherent in the process as defined by Schwartz (2002) and Bens (2008).          Syrian refugees were not free and informed in making the choice to flee their homes.  Facilitation would provide the refugees with an opportunity to make free and informed choices in ensuring that hatred and anger does not result in retributive violence.  The information uncovered through the facilitation process allows for valid, personal information and insight to be uncovered and validated.  A third core value is that facilitation can create a strong internal commitment to the choices made in combating post-refugee violence.  It creates an arena of active listening in order to provide participants with the feeling that they are being heard, that their concerns are understood and appreciated.   This active listening corresponds to the concept of neutrality on content and giving and receiving feedback with an open mind.  You can openly test assumptions, it is easy to stay on track and it allows for the collection of ideas and the ability to summarize them completely.   The data from the research portion of this study can be implemented in the creation of these thematic ideas for greater understanding of the refugee experienced of hatred and anger.    It will also be essential to incorporate methods of intervention in situations of hate and anger as outlined by Sternberg (2008).  These methods will be outlined more significantly in the following pages.

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As the facilitator I would begin with determining a neutral location for participants to meet, secure any needed translation services and prepare documents in both English and Arabic for use during the process.  Participants from the research portion of this study would be contacted to inquire into their interest in participating in this facilitation process once peace has been achieved in Syria and they have returned to their homeland.  Participants would also be invited to include family members within the same household if they wished in order to reach a wider population of refugees.  Ideally, members of society viewed as perpetrators of the violence that drove the refugees from their homes, would also be included though likely brought in at a later date, once the initial refugee group has come to a better understanding of their own experiences of hate and anger.

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Initially, we would begin with the setting of ground rules and establish a code of conduct for the participants (Knutson) (Bens, 2008).     Typically during facilitation you address task issues first and social, emotional and political issues second, however due to the nature of the research topic it will be vital to address these issues first.  As facilitator I would acknowledge the highly emotional nature of the session and encourage participants to be open, willing to learn and willing to express those emotions.  I would lead the participants in determining time limits for session discussions, determining how to deal with interruptions, when and how breaks would occur and any other issues that need to be addressed at that time.

I would begin by introducing my research to the participants in its completed form and allow them to verbalize their opinions regarding my analysis and thematic discoveries.  This would allow me to not only validate the findings but also to validate the experiences of the participants.  Each participant would be invited to verbalize what they were experiencing now, in terms of anger and hatred regarding their experiences as refugees and any epiphanies they might have encountered during that period.  I would also allow them the opportunity to verbalize the level of hatred they currently felt toward those they viewed as responsible for their refugee experiences. Discussions must be allowed to surround the social and emotional issues experienced by the participants.  Breaks will be taken as necessary in order to encourage openness and allow for cooling off periods.  The facilitation will be closed with several questions and follow up opportunities.

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The facilitation would be built on the following sample scenario.  Participants would begin by introducing themselves to the rest of the group.  I would also ask the participants what they would like to get out of the facilitation activities or what goals they would like to meet at the present moment.  As there is not one single, appropriate way to combat hate and anger I theorize that each participant will have fairly different goals in mind.  Some may want to come to terms with their own hate toward others without interaction with perpetrators; others may seek to confront those who they perceive as having harmed them.  These facilitation sessions will seek to assist in building tolerance and re-creating a culture of peace within a potentially violent return home.    After participant introductions we will determine which level of hate the participant is at as facilitated interventions will differ according to each level and break the participants into smaller, level associated groups if needed.

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