Since 2011, 5 million Syrians have fled civil war in their country. Most of these refugees live in local communities in neighboring countries. Local faith communities and global humanitarian actors regularly work together to provide assistance for Syrian refugees. This talk presents research about Arab and Western Christians providing support for Syrian refugees living in Jordan, based on fieldwork conducted in 2015-16. The talk addresses three questions raised in literature about faith-based organizations working in humanitarian and development projects: 1) Do religious groups approach aid differently from non-religious (secular) organizations?; 2) What is the role of local faith communities in providing humanitarian aid?; 3) How do religious groups providing aid manage religious difference and deal with challenges of proselytization?
Jonathan D. Smith is a PhD student in Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. His research focuses on faith-based organizations in the Middle East and their effect on Muslim-Christian relations. He is currently conducting research at CRCS about religion and environmental social movements.
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