'We are still here': The stories of Syrian academics in exile

Parkinson, T, Zoubir, T, Abdullateef, S., Abedtalas, M., Alyamani, G., Al Ibrahim, Z., Al Husni, M., Alhaj Omar, F., Iboor, F., Allito, H., Jenkins, M., Rashwani, A., Sennou, A, and Shaban, F
Externe Publikationen (2018)

in: International Journal of Comparative Education and Development 20 (3), 132‐147

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCED-06-2018-0013

The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to generate insight into the experiences of Syrian academics in exile in Turkey; and second, to explore approaches to collaboration and community building among academics in exile and with counterparts in the international academic community. The study employs a hybrid visual-autobiographical narrative methodology, embedded within a large group process (LGP) design. Findings are presented in two phases: the first phase presents a thematic analysis of narrative data, revealing the common and divergent experiences of 12 exiled academics. The second phase presents a reflective evaluation of undertaking the LGP and its implications for community building and sustaining Syrian academia in exile. While this is a qualitative study with a small participant group, and therefore does not provide a basis for statistical generalisation, it offers rich insight into Syrian academics’ lived experiences of exile, and into strategies implemented to support the Syrian academic community in exile. The study has practical implications for academic development in the contexts of conflict and exile; community building among dispersed academic communities; educational interventions by international NGOs and the international academic community; and group process design. The study makes an original contribution to the limited literature on post-2011 Syrian higher education by giving voice to a community of exiled academics, and by critically evaluating a strategic initiative for supporting and sustaining Syrian academia. This represents significant, transferable insight for comparable contexts.

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