University of Cambridge (UCam), as one of the world's oldest universities and leading academic centres, and a self-governed community of scholars, has a well-known reputation for outstanding academic achievement, as well as the world-class original research carried out by the staff of the University and the Colleges. As a research partner to RESPOND, UCam will be actively involved in two research work packages (WP 1 and WP 5) and lead WP 5, “Integration policies, practices and responses” (together with the Coordinator, UU). The focus of UCam will be on the research about vulnerable refugee groups. Furthermore, UCam will be responsible for the production of the documentary video in WP 9. In order to accomplish its tasks, Cambridge will consist of the Principal Investigator (Dr. Naures Atto), and one research assistant.

Within the walls of Cambridge University, a myriad of achievements and world-changing ideas were born. The innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of the members of the University of Cambridge is enshrined in theUniversity’s mission statement to contribute to society through the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence. The foundation for innovation is the steady supply of excellent ideas, of which there is an abundance at Cambridge. Ingenuity and creativity, alongside the fundamental research that underpins these ideas and combined with the constant exchange of ideas between academics and companies, governments and NGOs has been the recipe for this success. Impact is central to the mission of UCam. For over 800 years, it has contributed to society through education, learning and research at the highest levels of international excellence. Our world-leading research underpins a huge range of innovations that create prosperity, improve quality of life, protect the environment and enrich culture.

The University of Cambridge has more than 18,000 students from all walks of life and all corners of the world, nearly 9,000 staff, and in addition to its college, it also has 150 Departments, Faculties, Schools and other institutions. The University is a confederation of Schools, Faculties, Departments and Colleges. University Faculties organise teaching and research into individual subjects or groups of subjects. Their work is normally organised into sub-divisions called Departments. Committees of management, bringing together representatives from several disciplines, control centres of studies. In Cambridge, we are committed to achieving excellence in research and scholarship, and to ensuring that our research contributes to the well-being of society. We seek to provide a creative and supportive environment in which ideas are generated and can flourish. The excellence and diversity of our research across the Schools of Arts & Humanities, Humanities & Social Sciences, Clinical Medicine, Technology, Physical Sciences and Biological Sciences, and our role as one of the founder members of the Cambridge Network, means that in addition to our achievements in fundamental research, we are also well-positioned to make significant contributions to the global innovation agenda and, by conveying the implications of our research, to contribute to the formulation of policy. In addition to the activities on-going within the six Schools, we have identified a number of Strategic Research Initiatives & Networks and Interdisciplinary Research Centres which build on the existing research base in Cambridge to tackle challenges that can only be addressed by multi-disciplinary teams of researchers. Our aim is to provide academic leadership in these areas and to develop strategic partnerships around the world to advance research, and the impact of that research, in these fields.

The Cambridge part of the project will be based at the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (FAMES), which is home to some of the world’s most renowned scholars working on these world regions.

The faculty has a long and distinctive tradition in the study of the Middle East and Asia. This Faculty prides itself on exploring these fields through local languages, cultures, histories, religions, and politics. One of thefaculty’s research groups focuses on the Modern Middle East. This research project will benefit greatly fromthe vibrant interdisciplinary research network, Centre for Research in Art, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) and the Cambridge Migration Forum which brings together a superb tract of migration research, spanning 23 University of Cambridge faculties, departments and centres, including researchers in anthropology, archaeology, history, politics, economics and land economy, geography, sociology, gender studies, psychology, health and education studies, management studies, linguistics, theology, criminology and law.

RESPOND at Cambridge University

Naures Atto | Principal Investigator – Cambridge

Has a background in social anthropology and has conducted extensive research on reasons for emigration from the Middle East, settlement in Western Europe and integration processes. She is an active member the Cambridge Migration Forum. Dr Atto was the PI of the Erasmus+ Aramaic Online project at the University of Cambridge, which is an effort to revitalize an endangered language in the Middle East and currently involved in several research applications about the effects of wars on endangered cultural heritage in the Middle East, forced displacement and diaspora. She conducts research on the relationship between Assyrian and Yazidi immigrants in the West and those remaining in the Middle East in relation to future perspectives and their survival.


Catherine Hirst

Research Assistant in the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambroidge, working on the Horizon 2020 RESPOND project. Catherine has an international relations and political science background, completing a Bachelor of International Studies (Hons) at the University of Sydney and a MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics. Her research has focused on Shi’ism in international relations, Shari’a law and gender rights, as well as conflict and peacebuilding in the Middle East and Africa. Catherine has taught politics courses at the University of Sydney and the Australian National University, and has worked in the civil service and for policy think tanks in Australia before moving to Cambridge. Her research interests: Middle Eastern politics, refugee and asylum policy, vulnerable minorities, peace and conflict studies.


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