BU professor studies refugee policy in power-sharing governments

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While power-sharing is a road to overcoming ethnic conflict in some countries, not everyone who lives in those nations is effectively represented in government.

A woman stands in front of a tree with her arms crossed
Dr. Allison McCulloch’s research project will look at ways that power-sharing governments can develop inclusive and effective asylum polices.

Brandon University researcher Dr. Allison McCulloch is leading a study on the policy responses to refugees and asylum-seekers in countries with power-sharing arrangements. Dr. McCulloch will be joined by Dr. Tamirace Fakhoury of the Lebanese American University to look at the differing approaches some countries, such as Lebanon and North Macedonia, take in policy development related to refugees and asylum-seekers.

“Forced migration is occurring on an unprecedented global scale, with more than 68-million people having been displaced worldwide due to war and conflict in recent years. The Syrian war alone has created more than six million refugees, with six million more displaced people still in the country.” says Dr. McCulloch, who is the Chair of BU’s Department of Political Science. “While power-sharing creates peace, displaced individuals and other non-citizens are often not prioritized by government. When a large number of people is neglected in the policy making process, it brings the risk of renewed violence and government collapse.”

Supported by a $49,228 Insight Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the study will take place over two years. The researchers will conduct interviews with domestic and international policymakers and advocacy groups and analyze institutions, policies and media reports.

“Power-sharing partners often have diverging interests and competing logics, so we want to learn how this is affects policy-making in the area of refugee governance,” says Dr. McCulloch. “It is also important to look at this through the lens of displaced individuals. We are specifically interested in assessing the ability of power-sharing governments to craft unified, responsive, and inclusive asylum policies that do not further exacerbate the vulnerabilities of refugees and asylum-seekers.”

In addition to scholarly publications on their findings, Drs. McCulloch and Fakhoury plan to present a series of policy recommendations and options at the conclusion of their project.


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