Improving the Refugee Resettlement Process in the U.S. Developing a Knowledge Base to Guide Policies

By R. Scott Smith.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The process of resettling refugees is a challenging task. However, the extent of the cultural divide between the host community and the refugees significantly magnifies that challenge. A recent investigation of resettling refugees in Utica, New York (Smith, 2008a) suggests that more effective resettlement is associated with at least three ecological factors, and that assessment of these factors could be valuable. An overview of the findings from this case study, along with input from workshop participants at the Eighth Annual Conference on Diversity in Organisations, Communities, and Nations, will be used as a springboard for suggesting both directions for further research on resettlement and practical suggestions for policies and procedures. Utica, NY (population approximately 65,000) has resettled over 5,000 Bosnians within the last ten years. Despite this large influx of Bosnians into this small, economically depressed city, their familiarity with modern lifestyles and level of literacy somewhat eased their transition into this community. In contrast, Utica has recently become home to smaller groups of Burmese, Somali Bantu, and Sudanese refugees; their more pastoral and non-literate culture has made for a very difficult adjustment. In what ways can we increase the odds that the resettlement of these refugee groups will be mutually beneficial to them and their host community?

Keywords: Refugees, Resettlement, Cultural Adaptation

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 8, Issue 5, pp.219-224. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 585.063KB).

Dr. R. Scott Smith

Associate Professor, Psychology Department, Utica College, Utica, NY, USA

R. Scott Smith received his Ph.D. from Duke University in 1990. He is a community psychologist investigating pedagogy and racial and cultural diversity issues, and is currently an Associate Professor of Psychology at Utica College.

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