Professors Jamie Lew and Mara Sidney are conducting a comparative research project on urban refugees. This comparative study examines how international migration and policies of integration affect migrants and native-born populations in cities in the U.S. and Switzerland. The study based on interviews, surveys, policy analysis, GIS mapping examines how various migrant groups and native-born populations in given urban space and political economy, negotiate the changing demographics, race relations, integration policies both at the local and national level of governance. Working closely with a cohort of GUS doctoral students and international scholars, this collaborative research project is a long-term effort with universities and scholars outside of the U.S. to help build students’ comparative research skills, publication and conference presentation opportunities, and fieldwork experiences in cities both in and outside of the U.S.
One of the key doctoral students who has worked on this urban refugee project is a third year GUS doctoral student, Tolu Lanrewaju. Tolu Lanrewaju earned a USAID fellowship at Rutgers University-Newark, allowing her to begin her dissertation research on urban refugees and forced migration in Cape Town, South Africa. During the summer of 2017, she began her fieldwork in South Africa, interviewing migrants who had fled violence and privation in Rwanda, Burundi and the Congo only to find themselves in continued peril in the townships. Lanrewaju conducted more than three dozen interviews — facilitated by the Refugee Legal and Advocacy Center, a nonprofit group — in the Lower Crossroads and Philippi neighborhoods. She traveled to South Africa as a research fellow collaborating with the Global Development Lab of the United States Agency for International Development. Lanrewaju earned her BA from Princeton University and her MA from RBHS.