IRC: Community-Based Refugee Organizations


Rebecca Murray
Vida Mulec
Brendan Harley
Nayla Chacra

International Rescue Committee (IRC)

The four- person research team from the New School Practicum in International Affairs selected eight refugee populations who were resettled in the U.S. over varying lengths of time.  They are Bosnians, Congolese, Ethiopians, Hmong, Iraqis, Kosovar Albanians, Meskhetian Turks and Sierra Leoneans.  These groups were chosen to gain a broad understanding of the diverse historical, political, economic, educational and cultural influences on community organizing.  Over a three- month period this fall, the team interviewed CBOs that provide assistance to these refugees examining their organizing capacity and collaborations, both locally and internationally.

The project’s objective was multi- faceted.  First, it identified existing CBOs and researched how they are organized, the type of services they provide, and their links between communities in the U.S., and their home country.  Second, we determined the obstacles these CBOs face in developing sustainable programs.  Finally, by comparing the relevant experiences of CBOs across a range of refugee groups, we analyzed the CBOS, and consequently, their communities’ organizational capacity.