Small-group seminars address current problems in international affairs, each focusing on one specific policy question and producing a joint task force report. Restricted to senior majors in International Studies. Prerequisite: SIS 200; SIS 201; SIS 202; SIS 401.
The United States has a long history of protecting those fleeing persecution. In the words of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, "it is the historic policy of the U.S. to admit to this country refugees of special humanitarian concern, reflecting our core values and our tradition of being a safe haven for the oppressed." Since the end of the Cold War, and especially following 9/11, the parameters of refugee protection have changed dramatically. Though the U.S. refugee resettlement program is currently the world's largest, most would argue that U.S. refugee policy is at a crossroads, if not in crisis. Growing reluctance to offer traditional asylum-based protection to people fleeing armed conflict or systematic persecution has led the U.S. to try alternative but inadequate solutions like safe havens abroad and temporary admissions. At the same time, the mixing of refugee and unauthorized migration flows amidst heightened concern about domestic security have spurred restrictive measures that make it extraordinarily difficult for refugees to gain access to safe territory. News reports about Iraqi and Sudanese refugees among others highlight the growing crisis. Can refugee policy be reformed to balance the best humanitarian traditions of the U.S., its concerns for national security, and the increasing need to protect people uprooted by armed conflict and persecution? Members of this task force will devise a clear set of policy proposals about how the United States should proceed on refugee protection. This simulated government report will be directed to the next President of the United States, for implementation by the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department. Students will work together in smaller collaborative groups on specific dimensions of the problem, including background to the crisis in refugee protection. Grades will be based on contribution to the overall design, development, and drafting of the final report of the Task Force. Once enrollment in this Task Force is confirmed, participants should learn as much as possible about the history and current problems of U.S. refugee policy. Use the internet for current U.S. Government policy such as: Department of Homeland Security, US Department of State, US Office of Refugee Resettlement, as well as non-governmental data sources like Migration Information Source or Forced Migration Online. Refugee advocacy organizations like US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, International Rescue Committee, Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch also maintain websites.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
LECTURE, DISCUSSION, GROUP MEETINGS
READ PRE-QUARTER ASSIGNED READINGS; DEMONSTRATE HIGH DEGREE OF COOPERATION AND INITIATIVE IN PREPARING TASK FORCE REPORT; ATTEND ALL CLASSES AND GROUP MEETINGS
Class assignments and grading
WRITTEN REPORT AND ORAL DEFENSE OF IT; COOPERATIVE GROUP WORK
STUDENT'S ORAL AND WRITTEN CONTRIBUTIONS TO TASK FORCE REPORT, AND PERFORMANCE IN THE REPORT EVALUATION PROCESS; LEADERSHIP, COOPERATION, AND INITIATIVE SHOWN BY STUDENT, AS WELL AS PEER EVALUATIONS AND FINAL GRADE OF REPORT WILL BE FACTORS IN DETERMINING FINAL GRADE IN COURSE