Consortium on “Forced Migration, Displacement, and Education” Awarded a $2.5 Million Grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

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Two years ago, Sarah Lawrence joined with Vassar, Bard, and Bennington Colleges to form a consortium on “Forced Migration, Displacement, and Education” that is focused on the global refugee crisis. The consortium recognizes that forced migration, on the rise around the globe, is a destabilizing geopolitical challenge that demands a response from higher education. By taking advantage of the expanded capacity that can be achieved through collaboration and by creating shared resources, it aims to provide deeper understanding and explore potential solutions to the crisis, through our roles as liberal arts colleges.

The Consortium was recently awarded a $2.5 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support the development of a shared curriculum called the Lexicon of Forced Migration. By integrating learning practices, teaching labs, and faculty development initiatives across the four schools, it will enable students to access an expanded historical and geographical understanding of forced migration and displacement. The grant will also support residencies for visiting scholars, conferences, library and digital classroom development, as well as artistic projects related to the topic.

This work will build on the ongoing efforts of SLC faculty and staff in this area. For example, the research on “temporary” populations by Parthiban Muniandy, a member of Sarah Lawrence’s Sociology faculty, will provide the basis for an intensive four-week summer semester abroad in Malaysia. Students will have the opportunity to learn from local scholars and migrants’ rights organizations, and conduct ethnographic writing projects.

A summer intensive program in Switzerland will be led by Adam Brown, a member of Sarah Lawrence’s Psychology faculty. Supported by the Fulbright Program, Professor Brown collaborated with the University Hospital in Bern to develop a mental health assessment for refugees. Students participating in the summer semester will develop skills in collecting and analyzing quantitative data related to mental health issues, receive training, and participate in interviewing refugees. The findings will be used to work with members of the refugee community to inform public health programs and treatments.