October 31, 2013 Reading Group Summary

Thanks to everyone who was able to make it to the first reading group of the semester. The discussion focused on the millions who have been displaced because of the ongoing conflict in Syria. Lebanon also became a topic of discussion, as some elements of the conflict have spilled over into that country and aggravated tensions between different religious and political groups. There was an acknowledgement of the burden placed on host countries who find themselves home to large numbers of refugees, but also a sentiment that host countries and the international community need to do more to ensure access to medical care, education and other needs.

Later the discussion turned to the issue of refugees seeking asylum in North America, Europe or Australia. Often the journey can be a dangerous one, and even if refugees arrive safely they may face deportation, detention or be denied a work permit for a year or more. Refugee shelters and other groups play an important role in supporting refugees during this initial period.

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