“We are still here”: the stories of Syrian academics in exile

“We are still here”: the stories of Syrian academics in exile PurposeThe 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.Design/methodology/approachThe study employs a hybrid visual-autobiographical narrative methodology, embedded within a large group process (LGP) design.FindingsFindings 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.Research limitations/implicationsWhile 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.Practical implicationsThe 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.Originality/valueThe 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. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png International Journal of Comparative Education and Development Emerald Publishing

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
2396-7404
D.O.I.
10.1108/IJCED-06-2018-0013
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

PurposeThe 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.Design/methodology/approachThe study employs a hybrid visual-autobiographical narrative methodology, embedded within a large group process (LGP) design.FindingsFindings 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.Research limitations/implicationsWhile 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.Practical implicationsThe 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.Originality/valueThe 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.

Journal

International Journal of Comparative Education and DevelopmentEmerald Publishing

Published: Aug 20, 2018

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