On November 8, Dr. Gowayed spoke about her forthcoming book, Refuge, under contract with Princeton University Press. During her book talk, Dr. Gowayed shared with us the findings of an international comparative ethnography that followed Syrian refugees as they began their lives in three countries that offered them resettlement and asylum: the United States, Canada, and Germany. In particular, she focused on the experiences of refugees who arrived at each of these countries between 2015 and 2016, and who are skilled or semi-skilled but not highly educated. Dr. Gowayed examined refuge and asylum as “durable solutions” to the problem of displacement. She also discussed how the resettlement experiences of Syrian refugees in the United States differ from the experiences of refugees in Canada and Germany. Dr. Gowayed further examined each country’s resettlement policies, and how they vary in producing ethnic and racial minorities. Dr. Gowayed also provided us with a background on how these men and women ended up in the countries studied, and used affecting quotes from her study participants to reveal their personal thoughts and experiences of resettlement. In the midst of the current largest refugee crisis since World War II which has displaced over 25 million refugees—of which at least 5.6 million are Syrian refugees--Refuge provides a critical examination of some of the global ramifications of this crisis. The publication is expected to be released in summer 2021.
Before the book talk, RISE Team took Dr. Gowayed out to lunch at the Gallery Grill in Hart House. We chatted about Dr. Gowayed’s years in Egypt, her career trajectory, and the inspiration for Refuge. It was wonderful getting to know Dr. Gowayed and introducing ourselves to her after hearing so much about her from Dr. Maghbouleh. Afterwards, we all walked to the event venue (the one and only 725 Spadina Avenue also known as U of T Sociology) and helped set up the event, which ran for a full two hours! Audience members included graduate and undergraduate students as well as professors from the tri-campus (Mississauga, Scarborough, and St. George), and Dr. Claudia Diehl, the 2019-2020 Hannah Arendt Visiting Chair in German and European Studies. Everyone was very engaged in the talk and the Q&A that followed. I, specifically, learned so much about variations in resettlement policies and experiences of refugees in the U.S., Canada, and Germany—a comparative analysis that was very new to me! RISE Team is grateful for everyone who was able to attend the event.
Thank you for flying out to Toronto and speaking to us about Refuge, Professor Gowayed. I and the rest of RISE Team hope to see you again very soon, Inshallah. – Maleeha