Project title: Digital Integration
Project duration: 2016-2018
Project leader: Prof. Dr. Hanna Krasnova, Safa'a AbuJarour
Spurred by the military conflicts, refugees’ crisis has swept Europe by surprise. With a challenge of integrating refugees into hosting societies comes the question about the role that Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) could play in the ongoing integration efforts. Indeed, unprecedented reliance of refugees on technology, especially smartphones and social networks, is an important distinction of the current refugees’ crisis. ICTs may support integrative efforts undertaken by local authorities and other stakeholders. Nonetheless, the question how ICTs can be applied to support refugees and how detrimental effects for them and the hosting societies can be mitigated is difficult to answer. Our preliminary research has revealed that the following four areas of ICT deployment are especially relevant to refugees’ integration, but at the same time, are often neglected or hard to get access to: (1) communication with the government; (2) social connectedness; (3) participation in educational programs; and (4) integration and social inclusion. The goal of our ongoing research project is to investigate the chances and challenges of ICT use by refugees on an operational level; as well as the longitudinal effects of ICT use on perceptions of well-being and integration.