Speaker discusses global effects of refugee movement


Emily Feldman opens here talk with the photo of the Syrian boy who drowned along with 12 others trying to swim to the Greek island of Kos. Tuesdsay Oct. 20, 2015.

Alexis Wohler

Global refugee speaker Emily Feldman came to Kent State Tuesday night to talk about the refugee crisis in Syria and Iraq.

Feldman is an Istanbul-based journalist, who writes about the humanitarian crises resulting from conflicts in Iraq and Syria, with a special focus on women.

The Global Refugee Forum focused on what is driving the refugee movement in Syria and Iraq and how to gain a deeper understanding of the refuge crisis in Syria and Iraq. It also focused on the consequences that are occurring, because of the global refugee movement, from a media standpoint.

The Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting gives out grants to journalists pursuing stories that are under reported and stories that don’t get enough attention in the news media. The Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting also gives out grants to journalists and they give out fellowships to students and fund international reporting projects.

“The Pulitzer Center has relationships with different schools around the country and they try to encourage students to apply for the fellowship that they offer,” Feldman said. “And to keep interest up, they send former grantees like me to talk about the sort of reporting that we’ve been doing.”

Feldman went to the University of Delaware and got her bachelor’s as an undergraduate and then got her master’s degree at the City University of New York. She also won the Dennis Duggan Memorial Award, which annually goes to a graduate student at the City University of New York.

Feldman said her focus on the refugee crisis is on trying to help people understand what the refugee crisis is, and why the refugee crisis matters for people in America.

“I live in Turkey and it’s very in your face and hard to avoid it and it makes you think about what happens if a war comes to your country,” Feldman said.

Feldman said it’s important for people in America to know what is going on in Syria and Iraq because there is a big debate about what America should do, as to whether or not to help the refugees.

She also said the presidential election plays a big part in the refugees coming to America because voters are going to have to decide which candidates positions they support.

“So many refugees have fled from Iraq and Syria and are now living in places such as Turkey or in Jordon, Lebanon and in Europe,” Feldman said. “It’s easy to visit the refugee camps, to chat with them, see what their lives are like and why did they have to leave their homes.

According to an article in the International Business Times, more than four million Syrians have fled to these countries and more.

Feldman said she thinks the media has had good coverage of the refugee crisis around the world.

“The refugee crisis has increased so much. The refugee crisis is just getting worse and worse,” said Feldman. “There are more refugees in the world now than in World War II. The longer there are wars in Syria and Iraq, it’s only going to keep on going.”

Feldman said she thinks people in the world should know about what’s happening in the refugee crisis, and how it pertains to America.

“People who are studying journalism should know about world events. People can’t really ignore it because people can put pressure on their governments to accept more refugees,” said Feldman. “I just think people, especially people studying journalism, should understand the importance of being informed and know about world events.”

Professor and coordinator of doctoral education, Paul Haridakis, said the Global Refugee Forum is an event that occurs every semester, and it was formed because of the importance of global communication.

Haridakis said each global issues forum is designed to bring better awareness and discussion of a significant global issue that is also of great local concern.

“Ms. Feldman has been doing reporting on issues related to the global refugee crisis that we feel needs greater public attention, as this is a major human migration,” said Haridakis.

The Global Communications program started at the bachelor’s and the master’s level.

“We formed Global Communications because most industries now are global,” said Haridakis. “We are interconnected and globalization is really a communication phenomenon and we need more understanding of global issues because we’re interconnected.”

Haradakis said the reason for globalization is the ubiquitousness of the Internet and the growth in mobile cellular, satellite technology, is what makes globalization possible.

“When we think about it from a communication standpoint, one of the things we wanted to do is partner with the Pulitzer Center and bring in journalists that are working on global issues around the world,” said Haradakis. “Most global issues affect us locally.”

Haridakis said there are a lot of issues that are of importance in the world, that people tend to see in the mainstream media, but not everyone sees those issues.

“Each semester the School of Communication Studies brings in a journalist to talk about a global issue. We thought it was important to focus on refugees because clearly there is a refugee crisis,” said Haridakis. “The major movements of refugees in Europe, is one of the major movements in history.”

According to an article in Quartz, the United Nation’s refugee agency (UNHCR) being more than 50 million refugees coming from conflict in the Middle East and Africa.

Feldman said visiting any college campus is a good idea, because when she was in college she didn’t get much exposure to global events and she hopes her lecture teaches the students how to get involved in the global refugee movement.

“College students are thinking about the future, their careers, and what they want to do with their life,” Feldman said, “And I think that knowing about global issues may open their minds to professions or possibilities that they may have not considered before.”