“New technologies are changing the environment in which we work, creating risks that we must not ignore while bringing opportunities for both displaced people and those who work on their behalf.” As UNHCR Deputy High Commissioner Alex Aleinikoff points out in the Foreword to this issue, we need to get used to the idea that modern technologies are reaching and affecting not only researchers and agencies but even the displaced and uprooted themselves. This issue of FMR is full of examples of how this is true. In fact it may be the agencies which – despite their own use of technology – need to catch up with the importance of technology in the lives of displaced people. Technology can have a transformative effect for displaced people and for their relationships to governments, the agencies, the diaspora and each other.
The articles in this issue cover much of what we hoped they would when we put out the call for articles – the positive and the negative aspects of the spread of technologies; the increased accountability, and the increased scope for controlling displaced people; the opening up through the internet of possibilities beyond the traditional confines of life as a displaced person, and the risks and dangers that that brings; and the potential in technological advances for assistance and protection programmes.
We are less happy about the fact that there was almost nothing in the articles that we received that dealt either explicitly or implicitly with gender issues in technology and communications and their impacts on people.
Unusually, we have included several pages of very short articles – ‘technology bytes’. Out of the large number of articles submitted for this issue, some contained specific ideas or facts that we felt were valuable but that did not need longer explanations to put them in context.
As ever, we hope that this issue of FMR will open up this subject for you, as it has done for us. In that spirit, please Tweet about it or re-Tweet our announcement, ’like’ our Facebook page, add a link on Delicious, text people you know….
This issue also contains a range of articles on other aspects of the experiences of and responses to forced migration in a variety of circumstances – in Japan, in cities, at sea, in Egypt, and more.
We are very grateful to Paul Currion and Linda Leung for their help and advice on the theme of this issue, and to our Advisory Board for their reviews, advice and support.
In particular we would like to thank those agencies that have generously provided funding for this particular issue: AusAID, DfID, Oxfam Australia, Stephanie and Hunter Hunt/The Hunt Institute for Engineering and Humanity, UNHCR Division of Programme Support and Management, UNHCR Policy Development and Evaluation Service, and the University of Queensland. All of our recent donors are listed inside the back cover of this issue.
New! An expanded contents listing – FMR#38 – is available in print and online at www.fmreview.org/technology/FMR38listing.pdf.
The whole issue is online in a variety of formats, including audio, at www.fmreview.org/technology/. All issues of FMR are freely available online and searchable. We encourage you to post online or reproduce FMR articles but please acknowledge the source, provide the original url and do let us know.
FMR 39 will include a feature theme on being young and out of place and will come out in early 2012. See http://www.fmreview.org/young-and-out-of-place/
FMR 40 will include a feature theme on fragile states. See the call for articles at http://www.fmreview.org/fragilestates/
New FMR website: Over the next few months the FMR website will be rebuilt and redesigned to make it more accessible in mobile reading formats, more easily searchable and shared, and generally more up to date.
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With our best wishes
Marion Couldrey and Maurice Herson