UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Sharon Morrison heeds call in Syrian refugee crisis

Photo of Dr. Sharon D. MorrisonAs millions of Syrian refugees continue to pour into the European Union, the world is being called on to aid in the inevitable process of resettlement outside of Syria.  The Obama administration has responded with promises of finding resettlement of 10,000 Syrians within the United States.

Public Health Education Associate Professor Dr. Sharon D. Morrison is part of a group of professionals and voluntary agencies (VOLAGS) heeding the call to respond to the refugee crisis by providing cultural competency training and outreach.

She is headed to Austria in October for an educational group visit sponsored by the Association of Refugee Service Professionals.  She leaves Oct. 10. This unique group of academic and refugee service providers will meet with the Vienna office of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS), the UNHCR and IOM officials who are all working to process and resettle hundreds of Syrian refugees and asylum seekers

A research fellow with the Center for New North Carolinians, Dr. Morrison is a well-respected local leader in educating on health outcomes, integration challenges and empowerment strategies of newly arrived and post-resettled refugees in the Triad region of North Carolina.

For Morrison, efforts to understand the pre-arrival experiences and challenges has taken her to Malaysia to observe UNHCR processing and cultural orientation of Burmese refugees being resettled in North America and Europe.  She was also part of a delegation to Rwanda and visited Congolese refugees housed in camps in that country.

North Carolina has seen a dramatic increase in foreign-born nationals since the mid-1980s.

“We have three resettlement agencies in Guilford County,” says Morrison.  Church World Service, African Service Coalition, and World Relief will likely be working with new Syrian community members as asylum is granted. The education and training efforts by  Morrison and these VOLAGS will be critical to ensuring a welcoming and facilitative environment for those who are fleeing from Syria without a choice and without a home.