The Religion & Resettlement Project

Participants of the Refugee Resettlement Symposium listening to a question

Princeton University’s Office of Religious Life and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Department of Migration and Refugee Services.
Funded by the Henry Luce Foundation

The Religion and Resettlement Project (RRP) aims to better understand and respond to the role that religion plays in the lives of refugees as they resettle and integrate into the United States.  The majority of refugees identify as religious and represent the diversity of the world's religions; yet there have been no systematic studies or trainings to address the interplay of religion and resettlement. RRP is responding to this gap in order to strengthen refugee services and the resettlement structure at large, and to assemble a supportive network of diverse agencies and stakeholders working on and invested in refugee resettlement.
A central premise of our project is that the religion matters for refugees’ mental health and civic lives, for fostering civil society, and for the secular and religious partners that engage the phenomenon of forced migration. Religion doesn’t only live in a particular person or place of worship but works within and across countries, communities, and institutions. We believe that religion plays a critical role in the public sphere since faith leaders are crucial to building communities and faith communities strengthen civil society. Studying, amplifying, and engaging the intersection of religion and resettlement is, to us, a form of public religion. 
Primary Components of RRP:

  • An ongoing series of symposia which brings together resettlement agencies, faith leaders, and refugees to share and learn about religion’s role in resettlement integration
  • The Refugee Oral History Project which provides a forum for refugees and volunteers to tell their own stories and reflect on the role of religion in their lives
  • The development of a network of refugees, faith leaders, humanitarian aid workers, students, scholars, grass roots organizations, and domestic and international NGOs to help ensure long-term commitment to this work
  • A Religion and Resettlement Brief (to be published in 2021) to present concise insights and case studies about the role of religion in US-based refugee resettlement for policymakers, practitioners, and think tanks
  • Faith-based internships for students with a focus on forced migration