Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
Mary Pandiani, DMin
Randy Woodley, PhD
Jason Clark, PhD, DMin
More than 45,000 Somali refugees have been resettled in Columbus, Ohio— second in density only to Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. There is limited research on factors influencing resiliency among this population. This study utilized qualitative research methodology, including stakeholder interviews, stakeholder focus group, and literature review to understand the global, national, and local policies, resources, and cultural attitudes and biases that contribute to Somalian refugees’ struggle with resettlement in Columbus, Ohio.
The Declaration of Human Rights as the foundation of The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is explored as well as a timeline of how immigration and refugee policies have evolved and been enforced through the years. President Trump’s policy initiatives drastically reducing accepted refugees and the impact on the refugee crisis are discussed—including how the Protestant work ethic, attitudes and biases of United States citizens and Columbus, Ohio residents is either influenced by, or the cause of, the national policy direction. The attitudes and biases are explored in Christian and secular contexts.
When examining the trauma history, cultural differences, and faith practices of Somali refugees, it is not surprising that resettlement into the United States presents challenges. Research indicates resettlement resilience can be enhanced by assisting the refugee to feel empowered to continue practicing their cultural traditions and beliefs in their new homeland. The receiving community and stakeholders should be open to learning about the refugee’s native culture through authentic relationship. Through the relationship and sharing of culture, refugees are welcomed to their new community through modeling and acceptance. Acculturation is not the preferred result; rather, the goal is cultural negotiation, a mutual joining of native culture (Somali) and local culture (American) with acceptance, appreciation, and ongoing education.
Ollis, Jean, "An Examination of the Global Refugee Crisis - How Have We Hurt? How Can We Help? - With Special Emphasis on Enhancing Resilience in the Somali Population Resettled in Columbus, Ohio" (2020). Seminary Doctoral Programs. 383.