Participatory Research Internships in France

“Social Engagement for Social Inclusion”

This program will not be offered in 2019.

The FXB Center for Health and Human Rights (FXB), in collaboration with the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs (WCFIA), and the Committee on Ethnicity, Migration, Rights (EMR) has developed an opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students at Harvard University to conduct collaborative research in France for two months during the summer. The aim is to give students an opportunity to engage with and research the circumstances of migrant and refugee populations living in precarious conditions in informal settlements or other temporary housing with a view to contributing towards policy and social inclusion.

Like other European Union (EU) member states, France has received a large number of asylum applications which compounds earlier migration flows. Over a decade ago, in 2007, the enlargement of the EU led to a steady influx of migrants from Romania and Bulgaria onto European soil. Recent events have generated a new migration landscape in France and the EU, more broadly. Problems are exacerbated by increased racism and xenophobia towards minorities and refugees and a growing popularity of extremist and xenophobic parties .The affected Roma population consists of 16,000  people spread over 500 settlements, almost half of which are located on the outskirts of Paris. Roma and other migrants have moved from their home countries in eastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa to flee poverty and prejudice in search of better conditions for their families.

We invite proposals from rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors, as well as master’s and doctoral degree candidates, who are interested in deepening their knowledge of topics related to social inclusion and developing their research skills, while working in an NGO or government agency and engaging with the migrant community. Applicants must have strong French language skills and an interest in human rights and NGO work.

Goals, Format and Structure of the Research Internship:

  • This internship program, now in its fifth year, builds on previous work of Harvard students.
  • Students will be paired with local NGOs, international organizations, and government agencies in cities in France (Paris and others) from approximately mid-May to late July.
  • Students will compare similarities and differences in the full expression and realization of rights for the Roma, refugee, and asylum-seeking populations within France.
  • Students will produce practical recommendations for the protection of basic human rights for migrant populations.
  • The program will identify exemplary models of inclusion and assess their generalizability/replicability.
  • The program seeks to contribute to local, national, and international dialogues across academia, policy makers, and the civil society.
  • Students will conduct interviews with community members and local, national, and international stakeholders that can include EU, UN, and French government officials, advocacy network members, scholars, and NGOs.
  • All participants will take part in a mandatory training program during the spring semester before commencing their work abroad, consisting of six to eight two-hour workshops in mid-March to mid-May.
  • During their internship, students will collaborate with scholars at Sciences Po, a top research university in Paris, for the duration of their internship and participate in a seminar.
  • Students will share their findings onsite in France as well as submit a substantial detailed written report by the end of August.