Sample International Relations Research Paper on Lebanese Pentecostal Groups and their Involvement in Syrian Refugee Crisis

Introduction

Problem statement

            Syrian civil war has created severe humanitarian crisis where approximately 11 million people have been affected. UNHCR argues that around 6 million people are internally displaced with more than 3 million people forced to seek refuge in other countries (UNHCR 2016). Accordingly, Lebanon is a neighboring country to the west of Syria that has received an estimate of 1 million Syrian refugees (Fahkry n.p.). In fact, Ward suggest that 1 person in every 4 individuals in Lebanon is a Syrian refugee (77). In this respect, Lebanese Pentecostal groups are a group of faithful that are continually supporting the refugees from Syria. They help these refugees’ access basic human needs such as shelter, food, and clothing. It is evident that the number of refuges is up surging since the war is still ongoing. The presence of churches in the war-torn region has consistently been discussed regarding on their impact to the affected persons.  In this light, this paper reviews the role of the Pentecostal group in Lebanon and the impact they have had on Syrian refugees’ situation.

Background  

As aforementioned, the number of Syrian citizens seeking refuge status in other countries is pervasive. Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey are some of the recipients of these refugees. Sim and Bowes asserts that the aspect of refugee requires collaboration from national and international governments, non-governmental organizations, donors, charitable organizations, and willing individuals to offer necessitated assistance to alleviate a myriad of inflictions affecting refugees (730). In this respect, many churches are teaming up to offer the necessary support to the refugees. One group that has played that role perfectly is the Pentecostal group of churches in Lebanon. UNHCR reports that there are currently more refugees in Lebanon as they were three to four years ago implying that there is increased need for assistance in the country (Ward 80). Lebanon Pentecostal churches have heeded to the call and they are helping many refugees despite the resistance they are facing from various individuals.

Analytically, the issues related to helping refugees have experienced divisive opinion in Syria. Some groups and individuals support the call to offer a helping hand whilst others are adamantly opposed to this move (Sim and Bowes 729). In spite of such challenges, the Pentecostal church of Lebanon has stood its grounds towards its motive of helping Syrian refugee (Fahkry n.p.). The church understands well the needs of refugees, and they are partnering with other local institutions, to offer various services to the displaced individuals. Refugees need clothing, food, health support, basic household needs and other hygiene items to be comfortable. A reliable supply of water that is clean and sanitation facilities to reduce illnesses are also a basic need to the refugees. Among the needs that the church is offering with groups such as Lebanon Society for Educational and Social Development (LSESD) to the refugees are as follows:  they are involved in providing medical assistance to at least 200 individuals per month but through a nongovernmental organization from another church (Owens 56). They also provide monthly food support to almost 12,500 people to various churches, education and among other needs that the refugees always need (LSESD).

            Pentecostal churches in Syria have worked hand in hand with other organizations to offer the necessary help that refugees need (Spice 800). Apart from the refugees’ basic needs that have been stated earlier, the role of the groups is to handle social and cultural issues that the refugees are going through as they wait for peace to be restored in Syria (Owens 56). The humanitarian crisis that is being experienced in Syria has been well responded to by the Pentecostal churches and other groups in various ways. The Pentecostal church is increasingly mediating between the Syrian forces, Lebanese and the Western governments to allow peace to prevail. Peace and empathy are one of the pillars of the Pentecostal church, and they are working hand in hand to achieve the task. There is a great need to stop the inflow of refugees through reconciliation and peace which is the only way through which such a task can be accomplished.

Research questions

Research questions represent the phenomena that the study aims at evaluating or solving by identifying the answers. This study’s research questions ar;

  1. What is the impact of Lebanon Pentecostal Churches towards the Syrian refugee crisis?
  2. Is Lebanon Pentecostal Church contributing towards improving the well-being of Syrian refugees?
  3. What is the public perception towards the role of Lebanon Pentecostal Church in the Syrian refugee crisis

Hypothesis

Hypothesis is the academic guess that insinuates the researcher’s predictions of the study findings.

H1: Lebanon Pentecostal Church is contributing towards enhancing well-being among the Syrian refugees

            H2: The public thinks that the church should continue with its humanitarian assistance

Literature Review

Theoretical framework

This study employs the integration as the conceptual or theoretical framework. Integration concept avers that the issue of refugees cannot be individualized but tackled in a collaborative way (Spicer 491). Integration refers to the converging of relevant stakeholders in solving a phenomenon. Integration requires mapping political, social, economical, and institutional factors that are aimed at bringing solution to a crisis. This concept suggests that channeling a single factor will only offer short-term and limited solutions to a crisis (Spicer 494). Integration therefore calls for collaboration and collective effort from all the players in solving refugee crisis.

Churches role in Syrian crisis  

            Historically, Syria occupied Lebanon for over 20 years leading to an intense enmity between Syrian people and the Lebanese families (Josephs 787). Citizens of both countries have vivid stories about how their properties and houses were destroyed when the Syrians were in Lebanon. This historical injustice plays critical role in the divisive argument in relation to Lebanese offering help to Syrian refugees. However, churches have been consistent in their efforts to reach the Syrian refugees and to host them in their buildings; it is a clear indicator of how the refugees should be handled. The churches have continually offered shelter, food and protection of human rights for the refugees (McAffrey 63). They have not discriminated the rest by factors such as religion since Muslims are also involved in the crisis and seek refuge in the Christian camps. Such avoidance of such discrimination has made Pentecostal church to be unique and to play the main role that God ordained them to do as indicated in the Bible. The Pentecostal church, therefore, has identified various organizations that are offering support and aid to the Syrian refugees and supports them (Glanville 78). The church points out that various humanitarian crisis are caused by issues that can be controlled by our human doings.

International involvement

            The world is slowly becoming a global city where each and everybody can stay and live in any country. The terms globalization has been a talk in the recent discussions, and it has become common in the debates facets such as politics, economics, and sociological literature (Owens 56). In Syria for example, it is apparent that Western countries are having a significant influence on the state. The war has been mostly caused by the efforts of the Western nations to fight terrorism which they believe is rampant in Syria. Syrian forces have also opposed and attacked back creating an endless struggle of power, but the citizens are caught in between (Spicer 491). Such a belief that Middle East countries are sources of terrorism is making the country unstable and refugees are increasing where the Church is trying to intervene and settle such myths (Glanville 78). That is mostly done through preaching and sensitizing the entire population to understand the purpose of allowing each country to follow its beliefs and culture.

            The war in Syria is a clear indication of the influence and efforts of international participation. In the current war, the foreign countries that are involved mostly are the United States of America and Russia. Due to their involvement in the war, more refugee camps should be put up. The war will only stop if all the involved governments have agreed and settled on one agenda of bringing peace. Instability in most countries is therefore due to the impact the international involvement has on the local economies.

            In relieving the pain caused by the war, international participation will play a greater role by involving the Pentecostal churches (Glanville 76). The various groups that participate in relieving the pain among the refugees such as the churches and other organizations need foreign intervention and attention so that peace can arrive at the affected areas.

            Such factors are therefore due to globalization and are critical but increase volatility, and the church has continually played a major role in achieving the required outcomes. Peace and tolerance are what is expected from the rest of the stakeholders to reduce the suffering and pain that refugees are going through.

Methodology

Operationalization and Measurement of Variables

            . The study will define the variables that are required to respond to the research questions on the roles of Lebanon Pentecostal churches in assisting Syrian refugees. Variable are operationalized as either independent or dependent variables as follows:

  1. Independent variable (IV) is the factor that is expected to manipulate the results. In this study therefore, the IV will be the humanitarian aid by Lebanon Pentecostal churches.
  2. Dependent variables (DV) are factors that are expected to change after the introduction of the independent variable. In this case, DV varies from refugees’ well-being, public perception, increased survival, public health improvement among others.

The church aims at supporting the refugees who do not have the potential to afford to find work in other countries. An asylum is not the major variable in the research and churches always differentiate the two when offering help to those people in refugee camps.

Data Acquisition

            In order to acquire the correct data questionnaires, personal interviews were administered to find data for the research. The data that was required mostly was the role that the churches play to solve the underlying issue and the state of the refugees in Lebanon from Syria. The questionnaires were drafted to obtain the right information; a contact was made to the church representatives in Lebanon who was working with the rest of the churches in helping the refugees. In addition to that, a different copy was sent to the refugees at the largest camp in Lebanon. Thus the second questionnaire was to seek information on the problems they were going through and the help that they were receiving from the church, in particular, the Pentecostal church. It was not an expensive method since an electronic mail was used to send the questionnaire and it was replied through the same mail address.

            Secondary data was also used so that the extent of the situations that has already been recorded by various sources can be well understood. Use of books and articles that have been written by different experts was vital in arriving at the actual condition on the ground.

Data analysis

The different sources of data were informative, reliable and the issues of immigration and status of the refugees in Lebanon camps was arrived at with a lot of ease. Data will be anaysed through the SPSS software that will generate the mean, frequency, and median of the collected data. Eventually, it will be displayed on diagrammatical presentations such as graphs and pie charts for easier understanding.

Summary and Conclusion

            The Pentecostal church main objective is still to articulate its mission on earth more so to the human race. Amongst the mission is to ensure that refugees are treated as people by taking care of their needs. They are in dire need of food, clothing, basic shelter, clean water, sanitation among other requirements that they need. The church is working closely with the local communities to fight for global refugees’ crisis in Syria. They are advocating for peace and advising the government to look for amicable solutions that will bring stability in Syria. In the last six years, more people have been displaced and also died. Emphasis is put on the government and the international bodies to arrive at a harmonious agreement that will deter more fighting.

            There is the need for more churches to come together and offer support to the refugee crisis. The church has a significant role to play in the society by preaching peace and creating a community where the needy will get the needed remedy (Glanville). The government and the church should work in close collaboration with other organizations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the United Nations to bring an end to such conflicts (Ward, 82). Better conflict resolution methods should be sought and addressed for such support to be.

                        There is a greater connection between the Pentecostal Church and the support that they offer refugees (Glanville). A church in any society should serve the role of a refuge for the overburdened. It is, therefore, doing its roles as required but it should also intervene in the political issues concerning refugees. Refugees are suffering because of the political class’ wrong choice of priorities. The roles of the church are being felt in the Syria crisis since the government’s responsibility is fading in the war-torn regions. The states are not ready to actively negotiate so that they can end the crisis as more people are dying. The church’s message is through prayer and reconciliations that will put a stop to the Syrian crisis.

Annotated Bibliography

Glanville, Mark. How Churches Can Respond to Global Refugee Crisis. 4 April 2017.<http://www.ethicsdaily.com/how-churches-can-respond-to-global-refugee-crisis—part-1-cms-24006>.

The article is about roles that churches can play concerning the humanitarian crisis in Syria and globally. Churches should partner with other institutions to offer refuges basic needs such as food, clothing and basic shelter. Empathy and prayers are also essential to alleviate the pain the refuges are going through. The article is suitable to be used by the churches and other organizations concerned with humanitarian aid. Moreover researchers who needs to understand the status of the refugees and the role of churches will also find the article useful.

Josephs, Larry. “Refugees and their Position.” Utah, 2013. 787

In this analysis, the author brings out what the refugees are going through and it paints the sad  picture of hopelesness among most of them. The article outlines how the refugees feel when they are in the camps; thy feel neglected and seen as outcast in the society. Thy should be given hope and encouragd that they are part of the society. The article is useful to assist in developing critical analysis for future research and it can be found useful to the students and scholars too.

LSESD. Lebanese Society for Educational and Social development . 2017.<http://www.lsesd.org/Default.asp?PN=News&SubP=%27NewsStory%27&DivisionID=0&DepartmentID=0&SubDepartmentID=0&NewsID=88586&ShowNav=&StoryGroup=Current&A=>.

The article outlines the role of various organizations that work together with churches to offer aid to the refugees. The functions of the Lebanese Society for Educational and Social development(LSESD) in regards to the refugeee crisis are higlihgteed in the article. Thy act as the link between th church and the state to offer support to the refugees. They also cordinate and offer various educational needs to the refugees in Syria. The article is usful to the churches, humanitarian organizatisonand above all the involved governments. There is a need to rlaize what the refugees need and that ar is not the right path to solve issues.

McAffrey, James. “World War Four.” The Syrian Refugee Crisis and the Church. Long Island, n.d. 63-65.

McAffrey points out the effects the war has on innocent citizens who end up as refugees. Refuges need their rights to be upheld and they should be treated in the most humane manner. The church has a greater role in reducing the rate of refugees in the world and peace is the only solution that is available. It is the role of the church and other organization to offer hope and support to the Syrian refugees. The article will be useful to all parties involved: the church, the state and the rest of the world at large. War is not a solution to any conflict but peace will do a better task to make the world a better place.

Owens, Dickinson. “Working Solutions .” The Refugees Crisis:Syria and Lebanon Outcry. Wales, 2012. 56

Lebanon is the nearest nation to Syria and it has experienced a huge influx of refugees from Syria. Owens offers some of the solutions that can make the world treat the refuges as fellow human beings. Some of the solutions he suggests are critical and if followed peace will be found. Refuges crisis increases costs and suffering as compared to other applicable solutions. Owen insists that much need to be done to alleviate the refugee crisis in Syria which is giving Lebanon a burden. The information is useful to researchers who need deeper understanding of the nature of the refugee crisis. The church and other organizations will find the information useful in understanding the plight of refuges in Syria.

Ward, Patricia. “Refugee cities: Reflections on the development and impact of UNHCR urban refugee policy in the Middle East.” Refugee Survey Quarterly 33.1 (2014): 77-93.

In the article written by Ward, the role of UNHCR is clearly outlined and its activities in regards to minimizing the pain the refuges are undergoing. UNHCR is the body set up by the United Nation and its role is to handle issues related to refugees. They are supposed to offer basic needs such as food, clothing, water and shelter among others to the refugees a role that is overwhelming them and they will appreciate support from other organizations. The article is important to policy makers in various states to analyze their actions towards refugees. The churches will also find it useful and find a gap where their support can fit.

Works Cited

Fahkry, George. UN chief stresses voluntary right of return of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. annahar site, (4th Mar. 2016). retrieved from: https://en.annahar.com/article/325769-un-chief-stresses-voluntary-right-of-return-of-syrian-refugees-in-lebanon

Glanville, Mark. How Churches Can Respond to Global Refugee Crisis. 4 April 2017. <http://www.ethicsdaily.com/how-churches-can-respond-to-global-refugee-crisis—part-1-cms-24006>.

Josephs, Larry. “Refugees and their Position.” Utah, 2013. 787.

LSESD. Lebanese Society for Educational and Social development . 2017.<http://www.lsesd.org/Default.asp?PN=News&SubP=%27NewsStory%27&DivisionID=0&DepartmentID=0&SubDepartmentID=0&NewsID=88586&ShowNav=&StoryGroup=Current&A=>.

McAffrey, James. “World War Four.” The Syrian Refugee Crisis and the Church. Long Island, n.d. 63-65.

Owens, Dickinson. “Working Solutions .” The Refugees Crisis:Syria and Lebanon Outcry. Wales, 2012. 56.

Sim, D. And Bowes, A’Asylum seekers in Scotland: the accommodation of diversity’, Social Policy and Administration,  (2007) 41(7): 729-746.

Spicer, N. ‘Places of exclusion and inclusion: asylum seeker and refugee experiences of neighbourhoods in the UK’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, (2008)  34(3): 491-510

Ward, Patricia. “Refugee cities: Reflections on the development and impact of UNHCR urban refugee policy in the Middle East.” Refugee Survey Quarterly 33.1 (2014): 77-93.