In March 2018, World Relief co-convened the Integral Mission Institute in Beirut Lebanon in collaboration with the Lebanon Society for Education and Development and Heart for Lebanon. The theme for the Institute was “Come Let Us Reason Together.”
With 90+ leader-contributors, we witnessed an amazing gathering of practitioners and thought leaders from across the globe:
- Experience: 44% were native to the Middle East; 14% were ex-patriots living in the Middle East; 42% were traveling in from outside the Middle East
- Gender: 34% were women and 66% were men
- Sectors: NGO-34; Mission Agencies-17; Church-16; Foundations-7; Academia-6
- Geography: Lebanon-27; USA-23; Europe-7; Syria-6; Egypt-6; Jordan-5
We gathered to reason together in light of the fact that:
- The Syrian Refugee Crisis has been identified by the UN as the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II
- In 2016, from an estimated pre-war population of 22 million, the United Nations (UN) identified 13.5 million Syrians requiring humanitarian assistance, of which more than 6 million are internally displaced within Syria, and around 5 million are refugees outside of Syria. The vast majority of the latter are hosted by countries neighboring Syria.
- It is estimated that one in four people in Lebanon is a Syrian refugee, and one in three people is a refugee – Syrian, Iraqi, Palestinian or other.
- Millions of refugees are fleeing for their lives, willingly exposing themselves and their families to danger, in order to escape the horrors of war. Regardless of where refugees are fleeing from or arriving to, the Global Church needs to understand be equipped to respond to this Global Crisis
The Institute was full of thought provoking presentations and panel exchanges followed by interactive and collaborative table discussions.
The IMI Steering and Planning Teams identified four major Institute sessions rising from questions generated by church and community leaders in the Middle East who are responding to the refugee crisis:
- SYRIAN CHURCH’S RESPONSE: How do we sustain the change (and vitality) of Syrian church believers who live in our countries after they go back to Syria? How can we use our relative strengths to address the challenge and opportunity of caring for those displaced?
- PEACEBUILDING: How do we ensure that leadership, peace building and justice efforts for refugees are maximized? If church is not involved in peacebuilding, there is something wrong. What do we bring that is different from secular world and work of UN? How do we do it differently? How do we bring Christ into it? What about Christ do you bring in? When do you bring it in?
- WOMEN: How can we best respond to the unique challenges and possible opportunities faced by refugee women and girls who are refugees in Middle Eastern countries?
- DISPLACED SYRIANS: How may the well intentioned efforts of external funders, practitioners and organizations to address the refugee crisis lead to the creation of a new form of colonialism and disrespect of local leaders resulting in disempowerment and other significant challenges? And what can we do about it?
See Plenary Videos Below
To access these password protected videos, enter the password IMI2018
Where is God in this Crisis?
The Syrian Church
Women in the Middle East