Refugee Studies

Refugees are among the most vulnerable people because they lack access to many basic rights. They are excluded as a result of society’s stigmatization and marginalization, as well as their inability to access health, education, and economic possibilities (Henry et al. 2020Marshall 2015Miller et al. 2010). With the start of the civil war in Syria in 2011, about 4 million Syrian refugees came to Turkey. An open-door policy was implemented and most Syrians were housed in temporary accommodation centers (Akar and Erdoğdu 2019). Basic humanitarian aid such as health and education is provided in the name of “temporary protection” for Syrian refugees (Abdulkerim et al. 2021). In the country and northern Syria, the Government has provided shelters and humanitarian aid such as food, education, health, and household goods for Syrian refugees (Gibárti 2021). The total cost for Turkey, which hosts the most refugees in the world, approached 71 billion USD in the first months of 2021 (Eraslan 2021).

Refugee Studies Directors

Mustafa Rfat

Mustafa completed his BA and MA in Social Work with an emphasis on mental health at West Virginia University. He began working at the Center for Excellence in Disabilities as a passionate community advocate. Mustafa then pursued an MPA with an emphasis on healthcare policy.  In 2021, Mustafa was admitted into the Social Work Ph.D. program at the Brown School at Washington University in St Louis and was awarded the McDonnell Academy Scholar that same year. At the Brown School, he works with Dr. Trani and Dr. Stark to explore the economic issues of female refugees with disabilities. Internationally, he works with Dr. Orhan Kocak, a faculty member at Istanbul University Cerrahpaşa, on social issues.  Mustafa’s research interests include: Disability, Refugee Issues, Mental Health, International Social Work, and Policy Development.

Mina Dashtbali

Mina has master’s degree in Sociology from University of Tehran. She focuses on trauma and neglect and works with children and adolescents who are traumatized and is also interested in maltreatment and social policies in the level of the neighborhood for children and adolescents security.

She worked with the Unicef organization for two and half years as a social worker and NGOs in many cities in Iran, specifically on two national projects for at-risk children and adolescent trauma prevention.

Mina has been engaged in an internship program at Ryerson University, Canada, for the last three years thru a project in a shelter in Tehran focusing on children with traumatic experiences such as rape, sexual assault, neglect, and other complex trauma and also child protection policies of traumatized children.

She has collaborated with Ministry of Health and Ministry of Housing in Iran in Crisis Circumstances such as large-scale floods in the southern part of Iran.

Eymen Ekmen

Eymen completed his BA and MA in Social Work with an emphasis on Syrian Refugees at Istanbul University-Cerrahpaşa. After that, he began working at Beylikdüzü Municipality for refugees in the migration department as a social worker. And after his experience in the municipality, he began working at Arel University at the Department of Social Work as a research assistant. In 2020, Eymen was admitted into the Social Work Ph.D. program at the Istanbul University-Cerrahpaşa. At Istanbul University, he works on various social work issues, especially migration issues. Eymen’s research interests include Refugee Issues, International Social Work, Social Policies, Maturity, and other Disadvantaged Groups.

Minna Buller

Minna is a MA student within the field of Ethnic and Migration studies in Linköping University, Sweden. She has a BA degree in International social work from the University of Gävle in Sweden and Minna has also two years of experience in working with refugees and immigrants in a governmental institution in Sweden. Her areas of interests concerning research are social and migration policies, human rights (especially refugees’, minorities’ and migrant workers’ rights) as well as integration and exclusion.

Aysel Basmacı Kaya

She graduated from Kocaeli University Social Work Department in 2016 with a 2nd degree. She worked with refugees and asylum seekers in European Union and UNICEF projects between 2016-2020. Between 2018-2020, she completed her master’s degree in Üsküdar University Institute of Health Sciences, in the field of Social Work, by writing her thesis “Examination of Social Services Provided to Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Turkey”. In 2022, she won the Istanbul Cerrahpaşa University Graduate Education Institute Social Work Doctorate Program and she is still continuing. Her areas of expertise include refugees and asylum seekers, child protection, elderly and addiction.

Ahmet Taha Arifoğlu

A. Taha ARİFOGLU graduated from Sakarya University Social Work and Sociology programs with a double major in 2019. He graduated from the Istanbul University-Cerrahpaşa MSW program in 2021. He has an article published in an international academic refereed journal in migration and presented a research study in an international academic symposium. He worked as a social worker at the Izmir Turkish Red Crescent Community Center and has been working as a Social Worker in the Green Crescent Society since November 2021. His areas of interest are trauma, addiction, and young refugees.

Orhan Koçak

Orhan Kocak received his Ph.D. from the Social Policy program of Istanbul University. After working in different public and private universities, he has been working as a Full Professor in the Department of Social Work at the Faculty of Health Sciences at Istanbul University Cerrahpaşa for the last five years. He works on aging, migration, and technology addiction. Kocak has publications in international high-impact factor journals and works as an editor and reviewer in international journals.