Lessons learned: A comparative study of the integration experiences of Armenian and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon
Matei, Florina Cristiana
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This thesis analyzes the factors contributing to the differing degrees of integration achieved by the Armenian and Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. The two case studies presented include a historical overview of these refugees in Lebanon, the international response to the refugee crisis, the legal status of the discussed refugees in Lebanon, and the evolution of refugee identity. The analysis of the case studies uses the conceptual framework of Alastair Ager and Alison Strang, who wrote Understanding Integration, which appeared in the June 2008 Journal of Refugee Studies. The thesis also reviews the available literature written from a Western perspective, which rarely considers the role of religion in the integration process of refugees. In the Lebanese dilemma, where demographic balance is a major factor in domestic stability, religious affiliation emerges as a main influence in the contrasting treatment of Armenian and Palestinian refugees. With the continued conflict in Syria, Lebanon and other countries face similar challenges in addressing the refugee crisis. Thus, successful integration methods must include not only policies that address the humanitarian side of refugee flows but also the burden on host communities. Based on the case studies, the thesis concludes with recommendations for successfully integrating Syrian refugees in Lebanon, and policies that other host countries could adapt.
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