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The Summer Intensive for Global Engagement program, created with support from partners from around the world, ran from July 6th to July 17th, and welcomed 36 lecturers and workshop leaders and 129 registered participants from 6 continents.

Prior to the beginning of the program, the participants took a survey to allow us to design better lectures and workshops. Over 12% stated that forced displacement was not integrated into their education at all, while over 50% assessed their knowledge of forced displacement as 5 or less on a 0-10 scale. 48% of the participants had never taken a class on forced displacement before.

The attached IFD post-review report elaborates on these and other salient impacts and outcomes of the Summer Intensive.

The COVID-19 pandemic required the postponement of our programs in Lebanon, Colombia, and Uganda in 2020/21, but IFD’s work to call attention to the struggles of displaced populations is all the more important during this time.

Summer 2021 urges us to reflect on the past year and take a look ahead at the world after the COVID19 pandemic subsides. What are the main challenges and opportunities we face? How did the pandemic affect displaced populations? What should we expect in the future, and how can we prepare for the “new normal”? To answer these questions, the Initiative on Forced Displacement will host a two-week interdisciplinary,
online course – SPHERE: Summer Program for Humanitarian Education & Research Exchange.

About the Program

SPHERE will focus on challenges and opportunities in the post-COVID world related to forced displacement in Colombia, Uganda, Lebanon, Yemen, and the US. During the two weeks, participants will benefit from synchronous and asynchronous opportunities for engagement and have access to carefully selected readings, video, and audio materials made available on our online teaching platform. Each week, IFD team will host two live panel discussions and two live workshops.


Under the mentorship and guidance of academics and practitioners from BU and our partner universities, SPHERE participants will have the opportunity to deepen their theoretical background on forced displacement, develop research skills, and discuss practical solutions to some of the challenges displaced populations experience. Participants with ongoing research projects can also join the works-in-progress workshops and benefit from expert feedback and interdisciplinary mentorship.

The program will run from June 7 – 17. SPHERE is free and open to anyone interested
in participating in any of the events and sessions.


Above: COVID inspired drawing by IFD Program Manager Marina Lazetic 

Forced (Dis)placement and (In)security Post COVID19

Click each event to view more information about it!

Week One - Internal Displacement and Border Management

Week Two - Mental Health and Integration

Program Related Videos and Readings 

Please email with any questions.

Program Leading Staff & Faculty


Dr. Muhammad Zaman

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor

Professor, Departments of Biomedical Engineering and International Health


Dr. Carrie Preston

Arvind and Chandan Nandlal Kilachand Professor

Professor, English and Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies


Marina Lazetic

Human Security Fellow - Henry J. Leir Institute

Program Manager, Initiative on Forced Displacement, Boston University


Ahsan Fuzail

Biomedical Enginneering, Boston University


Danny Hoffman

Kilachand Honors College Advisor, Boston University


Baiden Wright

International Relations, Boston University


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