Proposal for Media and Awareness Campaign
Importance of Media Awareness Campaign
A media and awareness campaign is important because it creates an understanding among the members of the public as to why it is necessary for the country to take a leading role in settling regional refugees. According to Varvelli (2016), the ongoing wars in Syria, Libya, and Iraq has led to the displacement of millions of people, while hundreds of thousands have either lost their lives or sustained life-changing injuries.
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Radicalized groups such as ISIS are taking advantage of the instability and suffering recruit people to help them fight their sectarian wars in the region. The recent events in Europe have clearly proven that no country is safe from the wrath of these radicalized groups. The United Kingdom, France, and Germany have all been victims of numerous attacks by ISIS and other radicalized organizations, some of whom migrated into these countries as refugees. The United States and Russia have not been spared either by these radicalized terror groups, keen on spreading fear and suffering among innocent people. If powerful countries, which are miles away from the Middle East, are becoming the targets of these groups, the United Arab Emirates, which is less powerful and very close to these politically unstable countries, cannot be safe either. A possible terror attack from these groups is a very real threat.
The Target Audience
The target audience of the media campaign will be the members of the public in the United Arab Emirates. They need to understand why the government should undertake such comprehensive resettlement plans for the immigrating refugees and why such resettlements are critical in ensuring that the population of the UAE remains safe from radicalized groups (Ferris & Kirişci, 2016). Government officials are also the target audience because they will be expected to coordinate government activities when settling these refugees.
How We Can Start
While the country has a responsibility to accept refugees from Syria, Libya, and Iraq, it can also do something about this problem while keeping the residents of the UAE safe (Kühnhardt, 2017). However, this should be done in a way that would make the local population safe from a potential terror attack. First, the country must screen immigrants and ensure that radicalized elements are denied entry as a safety precaution. Given the limited resources in the country, and the need to ensure that the immigration process is not disruptive, it will be necessary to limit the maximum number of those allowed into the country to 3000 people per year.
Once they are allowed into the country, it will be important to integrate them into the local population so that they can feel comfortable and become useful to the country’s economy instead of being a burden. Training may be necessary for those lacking skills, and these new skills will help them become absorbed in various industries within the country. Both the government and the private sector should ensure that these immigrants are absorbed into the country’s workforce to eliminate idleness and time that could potentially be used to radicalize them locally. The education sector, healthcare sector, and the security system should respond to the overall population increase in the country by expanding its services.
How It Helps in Our Capstone
The awareness campaign is important in our capstone because it will also empower students to understand how and why the country needs to handle the issue of increasing refugees from the regional countries such as Syria, Libya, and Iraq (Clodfelter, 2017). Students will gain vital knowledge that they can apply in the future when their line of duty will require them to find ways of dealing with the problem of increasing immigration, especially if they become employed by government agencies. The students will learn that the country cannot ignore the ongoing regional political instability, especially the plight of those who are displaced from their homes due to the raging war in their own country.
When We Can Start
A media and awareness campaign should start as soon as possible. In fact, it is necessary for the government to start the campaign by June 20, 2017, or earlier because the country is already receiving refugees. Ideally, the awareness campaign should have started before the government started receiving refugees from regional countries. However, it is not too late. The program should be initiated immediately to help the public understand how they should relate to the immigrants seeking asylum(Kilcullen, 2016). The program should continue as long as the country is still hosting these immigrants. Key points of interest will be helping to promote integration, engagement of immigrants in economic activities, and the elimination of any elements of radicalization within the country.
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Entities in the UAE to Be Involved
The program that focuses on screening and integrating refugees from regional countries will require the involvement of various entities. In terms of creating awareness, the government will need to work closely with media houses to pass the message to members of the public. All media stations should be involved to ensure that the message reaches as many people within the country as possible (Jalālzaʼī, 2016). When it comes to screening and integrating refugees, the Ministries of Finance, Foreign Affairs, Defense, Interior, Education, Justice, and Development, in particular, will be involved. Various entities in the private sector will also need to play an active role in the efforts to screen and integrate refugees. The Emirates Youth Council also has a special role to play.
Conclusion and Policy Implications
In this paper, it is clear that the increasing number of refugees from Syria, Libya, and Iraq is a cause of concern, not only to the regional countries such as UAE but also to the international community, especially the European countries. The increasing emigration from regional unstable countries has economic, social, security, and cultural implications on the countries which host refugees. The host countries have to spend resources on offering basic care to these refugees as long as their country remains unstable. Others are forced to limit the entry of refugees because of the wrong perception that some of them are terrorists.
The United Arab Emirates, though a small country, has demonstrated its interest in giving a helping hand to the refugees. The country has spent over USD 750 million to help resettle refugees from Syria. It also contributed USD 530 million to the Syrian Recovery Trust Fund, a donor organization established by the US, Germany, and the UAE. Besides, it has sponsored various refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan, and Greece.
The paper also shows that there is the issue of security threats posed by radicalized immigrants. Violent extremism is a real threat that the international community is currently facing. Some members of radicalized groups, such as ISIS, pose as refugees with the sole intention of planning and executing terror attacks in their host countries. These are fundamental issues that need to be addressed bilaterally, between the UAE and the European countries taking part in this humanitarian program.
The UAE has joined hands with other European nations to find a lasting solution to the problem of refugees from Syria, Libya, and Iraq. Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Slovakia, and Serbia are some of the countries that have taken leading roles to help deal with the problem of increasing numbers of refugees from Syria, Libya, and Iraq. The UAE should develop bilateral relationships with these countries to ensure that the refugee problem is handled from a united front.
The country’s foreign policies will need to give more focus on close relationships between the UAE and those European countries dealing with the refugee crisis, especially Germany and Serbia, which are playing critical roles in hosting the refugees. The countries can formulate a common plan where countries hosting large numbers of refugees can be given financial assistance by the other countries to reduce the burden on the UAE, Germany, and Serbia, in terms of hosting the refugees. The countries can also form an umbrella of protection that allows them to work closely to identify and eliminate radicalized elements in their counterterrorism efforts. This is important because national security needs supersede the need to offer these refugees asylum as required by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
I believe that the UAE can play a significant role in securing job opportunities for the refugees migrating to various European countries. One of the ways through which it can do this is to send teachers, paid by the government of the UAE, to these European countries to help the refugees learn the foreign languages needed in their workplace. As shown in the discussion, most of the employees in the European countries hosting the refugees cite the inability of the refugees to speak the local languages the main limiting factor when it comes to hiring them. The UAE can help address this problem. Almost all refugees from Arab countries speak Arabic.
Sending Arabic teachers, who understand foreign languages spoken in these host countries, and for them to teach the refugees the new language, will be a major step towards enhancing the employability of these refugees. It is also clear that there are a number of UAE firms in these European countries. As these firms continue to expand, they should consider hiring refugees as a way of economically empowering them and reducing their susceptibility to radicalized groups. The NGOs operating in the host countries, such as Red Crescent or the Big Heart Association, should also make concerted efforts to empower the refugees through regular training and even hiring them whenever there are vacancies for jobs they can undertake.
These NGOs should work closely with the governments of host countries to monitor activities within the refugee camps so that any cause of concern, especially a threat to national security or an outbreak of communicable disease, can be addressed as soon as possible.
This research has offered practical solutions to the ongoing refugee crisis caused by the armed conflicts in Syria, Libya, and Iraq. The UAE, Germany, and Serbia are some of the many countries that have been affected by this problem. These countries have been struggling with the need to address this problem without causing a negative impact on their own countries’ economic growth, security, and social structure.
Some of them have been forced to devise new foreign policies specifically to address this problem. This research offers them a practical solution which, when implemented, can help overcome some of the challenges they are currently facing. The study will have significant policy implications, not only for the UAE government but also for other European countries currently dealing with this problem. The study suggests a coordinated approach to handling refugees where countries work closely and share resources and intelligence to ensure that their hosting does not subject them to security threats or unfair economic problems.
The study has recommended ways in which the UAE can help European countries to empower refugees and make them employable. The government must be willing to fund such programs aimed at empowering refugees in foreign countries. Through this study, it is clear how the countries involved in the refugee management programs can enhance their own security. Mechanisms to limit or eliminate radicalization and possible affiliation with terror groups such as ISIS are outlined. If these policy recommendations are taken into consideration by the government of the UAE and other participating European countries, especially Germany and Serbia, they will find it easier to take care of the refugees.
The close relationship between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and European countries, especially Germany, France, United Kingdom, Sweden, Italy, and Serbia can help in addressing the refugee crisis in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The political instability in Libya, Syria, and Iraq is a cause of concern to not only the European countries but also the regional countries such as the UAE (Schuchter, 2015). That is why it is critical for the country to play a leading role by coordinating other like-minded countries to find a proper solution to the problem. The following are recommendations that should be considered, based on the findings of the study:
- The United Arab Emirates foreign policy has often emphasized offering humanitarian support to people suffering in various parts of the world from hunger, common diseases, and abject poverty as a way of ensuring that they can meet their basic needs. To deal with the current problem of the increasing cases of asylum seekers from the war-torn countries of Syria, Libya, and Iraq, the government should view their effort as a continuation of its humanitarian support that it has been doing for so long. This will simplify things, as the country will not need any new policy to assist these refugees. It will only need to increase its budgetary allocation to the already existing program and develop mechanisms for screening and absorbing these immigrants.
- The government of the UAE should consider its efforts in taking care of the regional refugees as a way of fighting the bad treatment of Arabs in Europe. By managing the regional refugee problem, the number of Arabs migrating into Europe will reduce significantly. It will help in eliminating the general perception in Europe that every Arab coming from the Middle East to their country is an asylum seeker.
- Europe is the UAE’s second-largest trading partner and the growing negative perception in Europe towards people from the Middle East may affect this trade. As such, it is important for the country to play a leading role in addressing the regional refugee problem locally as a way of protecting its business interests in Europe.
It is not possible for the UAE to achieve success acting alone in addressing the regional refugee problem given the high number of refugees coming to the country. It needs a close corporation with other regional and international partners (Adida, Laitin, & Valfort, 2016). The UAE should unify its efforts with that of European countries to achieve success. The following recommendations should be put into consideration:
- The UAE and Europe should work closely to develop bilateral policies on how to handle the problem of increasing the number of refugees moving from Syria, Libya, and Iraq.
- There should be close coordination between countries on how to screen, integrate, and empower refugees to avoid cases of radicalization once they are absorbed within the host country. Countries can make financial contributions to any other country willing to accept the refugees, such as Turkey, but are unable to take care of the large numbers because of financial constraints.
- The government of the UAE should initiate and sponsor educational programs for refugees to help sharpen and align their skills with job expectations. As Jones (2014) notes, when they come to the country, refugees should not be viewed as a burden. They should be actively involved in the economic development of the country. They need to have the right skills needed by the industries in the country. This strategy will ensure that the refugees are not only able to take care of themselves but also can play a critical part in the country’s economic growth.
- The UAE should work closely with European countries to ensure that refugees who immigrate to Europe are treated fairly and are offered available job opportunities as a way of fighting radicalization. The UAE, being an Arabic country, can help in the integration of refugees in Europe by sending teachers to train refugees in foreign languages. The country has a significant population of people fluent in Arabic and foreign languages such as English and German.
- The refugees moving to the UAE and Europe should be trained on how to lead a responsible lifestyle and how to avoid radicalization which could result in them being deported back to their own volatile countries.
- The UAE can partner with leading airline companies, such as Emirates Airline, to offer discounts to refugees working in Germany and Serbia (or any other European country that it will be partnering with) so that they can visit their families in the UAE. The aim of this strategy is to make the refugees feel accepted and respected, to limit their likelihood of being radicalized. It will also motivate them to find jobs in foreign countries so that they can enjoy the subsidy.
- The government should have measures to ensure that all refugees are properly documented whenever they enter a country to enhance accountability. The documentation will also help in tracing any illegal activity of the refugees that may be a threat to national security.
Adida, C., Laitin, D., & Valfort, A. (2016). Why Muslim integration fails in Christian-heritage societies. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
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Clodfelter, M. (2017). Warfare and armed conflicts: A statistical encyclopedia of casualty and other figures, 1492/2015. New York, NY: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers.
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