Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

"It is important for policy makers and decision makers to be cognizant that every refugee situation is different."

Tala Doumani '17

Student Spotlight: Tala Doumani '17

Name: Tala Doumani '17

Concentration: International Relations & Social Analysis and Research

Hometown: Berkley, California

Tell us a little bit about your recent trip to Syria.

Over winter break, I was part of a fact-finding mission led by Brown faculty to assess the situation of Syrian Refugees on the Syria-Jordan border. The group was highly interdisciplinary, made up of neuroscientists, anthropologists, historians and the like. We went with no preconceptions. We talked to NGOS and local governments, and tried to the best of our ability to talk to refugees. I am looking forward to a conference on the 8th of April where there will be an opportunity to talk about our experiences as well as hear from many  distinguished speakers whose work is integral to the fate of the Syrian refugee population.

What are some of the things you took away from this trip?

It is important for policy makers and decision makers to be cognizant that every refugee situation is different. There is a need to know and understand the cultural values, social connections, and the general daily lives that people led before they were displaced. I think with that understanding, policy recommendations can be most effective. Undoubtedly though, the biggest lesson I took from this trip is about the power of an interdisciplinary approach. I benefitted from hearing about the experiences and understandings of other people that I did not have. This is an approach that I would like to follow in any research or work that I do in the future.