Rev. David Hollenbach, S.J., the Pedro Arrupe Professor in the Walsh School of Foreign Service, previously taught at Hekima University College in Nairobi, Kenya, where he became deeply engaged with the needs of refugees. His new book presents an ethical approach to the urgent challenge of international political life today and the record-breaking displacement of people by war and oppression. The book advises how religious communities, including Catholic Christianity, can make key contributions.
Book: Humanity in Crisis: Ethical and Religious Response to Refugees (Georgetown University Press, 2019).
Reason for Book:
“Millions of people have been killed and many more millions have been driven from their homes,” says Hollenbach, also a Senior Fellow at Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs. “The number of refugees and internally displaced persons has reached record levels. Could these crises have been prevented? Why do they continue to happen? My book seeks to understand how humanity is in crisis, and what we can do about it.”
Who Should Read this Book?
The professor says the book is geared toward people working in response to humanitarian crises and the needs of the displaced. That includes secular NGOs such as CARE, Doctors without Borders and the International Rescue Committee, and faith-based relief agencies such as Catholic Relief Services, Jesuit Refugee Service, WorldVision International, HIAS and Islamic Relief, among others. Policymakers, faith communities and university faculty and students could also benefit from reading the book.
Why Do Crises Continue to Occur?
“War is the single biggest cause of forced migration today,” Hollenbach says. “Climate change and its environmental effects will likely be the largest cause in the future.”
Case Studies Examined: The book deals with humanitarian crises in Africa (South Sudan and Rwanda); in Syria and the Middle East; and Central America and Mexico, among others. (The top photo is of refugees in a displaced person camp in South Sudan).
How to Avoid Humanitarian Crises:
“Promoting peace is central,” the professor says. “Alleviating poverty and promoting peace are reciprocally related, so development and poverty reduction are also needed. To prevent displacement from reaching truly crisis levels it is also necessary to assist the poor countries who host the vast majority of refugees in the world today and to help them integrate the displaced into their societies so the refugees have hope for the future.”
Other Books by Hollenbach Include:
Associate editor, Modern Catholic Social Teaching: Commentaries and Interpretations, Georgetown University Press, 2018)
Driven from Home: Protecting the Rights of Forced Migrants (Georgetown University Press, 2010)
The Common Good and Christian Ethics (Georgetown University Press, 2008).