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Constructing a Shared Identity: Engaging Youth in Creative Placemaking for Social Integration of Urban Refugees in Indonesia
The influx of refugees is becoming a global issue. One in every 113 people is now either an asylum seeker, an internally displaced person, or a refugee escaping conflict, violence, or human rights violations (UNHCR, 2015). Indonesia, a non-signatory country to the 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 Protocol, is also experiencing a rising number of refugees from Afghanistan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and others transiting in its urban areas (UNHCR Indonesia, 2016). On average, refugees spend more than three years in the country while waiting for their settlement application outcome-repatriated to a third country or returned to their origin country. However, the extended waiting period lacks structured programs to bridge the interaction between refugees and locals. In theory, Low social integration may trigger depression in individuals, and this is even more prominent in young refugees. Whilst the current state of the art in research on the social integration of refugees, specifically young refugees, is understudied.
RDI Urban Refugee team has successfully managed to secure a grant to conduct research that explores social integration, which also includes interaction, communication, acceptance, acknowledgment, and cooperation issues, between young refugees and young people in the host communities in Indonesia. The team views this research as an opportunity to develop a new shared identity between the youth in refugees and host communities. Both communities are currently exposed to foreign cultures that cause minimum interaction and may lead to mutual incomprehension of each community’s social condition. The disconnectedness can lead to disharmony that may escalate into resentment and conflict. Hence, positive interaction between the two youth communities is expected to develop a more tolerant and cohesive future community. The research project aims to develop a method for social integration and support the reconstruction of shared identity between youth in refugees and host communities in Indonesia. By taking advantage of the common values of youth and diversity in both communities, the research is expected to contribute to the formation of new values in the future.