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Consortium on Forced Migration, Displacement and Education

The work of Vassar Refugee Solidarity has led to the creation of a Consortium of like-minded Liberal Arts Colleges (Vassar, Bard/Annandale, Bard/Berlin, Bennington, and Sarah Lawrence Colleges) to utilize our respective institutional strengths.

  • In December 2016, the Consortium received a $135,000 Planning Grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop a shared Minor in Forced Migration Studies, as well as a set of interventional practices, to educate students and empower them to be engaged actors in this unprecedented global challenge.
  • For this purpose, Vassar College and Vassar Refugee Solidarity also received a $20,000 grant from the Alliance for the Advancement of the Liberal Arts in 2017.
  • In July 2018, the Consortium submitted a proposal to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for a four year Implementation Grant to create such a curriculum. On September 10, 2018, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded the Consortium a $2.5 Million Grant. 

Statement

The Mellon Foundation’s Planning Grant made it possible for the Consortium to explore our goal of a shared curriculum. Faculty and students from our colleges have already devised classes — descriptive and prescriptive — as well as an array of projects and initiatives to put our institutions into meaningful contact with each other. Our commitment to draw also on the knowledges produced by displaced people has informed our efforts throughout this process. At the center of our proposal is a shared curriculum in Forced Migration Studies, which will harness the energy and ideas of all four colleges’ students and faculty, and offer rigorous, community engaged courses across all five of our campuses. Around this gravitational center, we will organize scholarly conferences, lecture series, teaching labs, student-initiated projects, international study and research opportunities, and more. The sum total of our efforts will be a well-rounded, historically, geographically, and disciplinarily comprehensive understanding of forced migration that will give students practice in being guided by the knowledges produced by forced migrants in finding democratic solutions to this global challenge. We have also partnered with the Council for European Studies, which will feature the Consortium’s work on its digital platform EuropeNow. As we explore further collaborative opportunities, the Consortium will build on its robust national and international networks as well as its extensive alumnae/i base.

We are committed to expanding our Consortium and to making our findings and innovations accessible to a wider academic and non-academic community.