Over 1 million people arrived in Europe by sea in 2015. And since the conflict in Syria continues, this influx will not halt.
It is the biggest refugee crisis since World War II according to the UNHCR. The journey by sea is dangerous, the circumstances in refugee camps and asylum seeker centers are far from ideal – to say the least – and tensions between host countries make it difficult to find constructive solutions.
With such big numbers and their political, social and logistical complexities, it’s easy to feel powerless as an individual.
Still, there are opportunities. As Margaret Mead has famously been quoted:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
It has been a bit silent on the blog in the past few months. And it was for a reason; I was on leave! Since some of you have asked me what I have been up to, I thought I’d write a slightly different blogpost this time, and share my experiences of the first half of 2015…
After doing trauma research for about 10 years, I felt that it was time for a break. My plan was to find time to reflect, experiment with new ideas, and learn, rather than simply continue on the research diesel engine (or, some may prefer the metaphor of a continuous sprint…!).
So I took a few months of unpaid leave. Some people said that I was committing career suicide; as an academic you’re expected to publish continuously. Certainly, the past few months have reduced my average output rate. However, I am very happy that I have done it, and I think that in the long run my work will be better for it. So what have I done exactly?
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