Book Review - Alexander Betts & Paul Collier, “Refuge: Rethinking Refugee Policy in a Changing World”

The book Refuge: Rethinking Refugee Policy in a Changing World is written by Alexander Betts. Betts is the Leopold W. Muller Professor of Forced Migration and International Affairs at the University of Oxford, where he is also director of the Refugee Studies Centre and Paul Collier is professor of economics at St. Antony’s College, Oxford. The book opens with an explanation of how one economist and political scientist decided to collaborate on refugees in the Middle East. This initiative emerged after the Jordanian think tank, WANA, invited both academics to come to Jordan and brainstorm with government on the issue. Subsequently, the authors broadened the scope beyond Jordan, aiming to develop a framework of ideas for rethinking a failing refugee system. In this sense, they put forward broader ideas to carry forward, including the argument that refuge is as much a development issue as a humanitarian issue; the need to restore refugees’ autonomy through jobs and education; emphasis on creating sustainable safe havens in the countries that host the majority of the world’s refugees; recognition of a role for business alongside government and civil society; and the necessity of reconsidering refugee assistance for a world utterly different to that which the existing system was designed.

Authors: Özgür Tüfekçi