Like a great magician, the pandemic has drawn our attention away from things that are hiding in plain sight. One of those has been the plight of millions of refugees and migrants who are in refugee camps or trying to escape from war, violence, poverty or other scourges.
In this episode of a New Thinking for a New World, Myrto Xanthopoulou a consultant on migration issues who recently was on Lesbos, Greece on a fact finding mission, Mike Niconchuk, neuroscientist and conflict researcher based in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, and Megan López who heads the International Rescue Committee’s work in Latin America, describe the realities on the ground.
It’s not pretty.
Meghan E. López is the Regional Director for Latin America for the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a Doctorally prepared Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner with nearly 20 years of experience working internationally for children, families and vulnerable communities. Meghan received her Bachelor of Arts in the Politics of Religion from Dartmouth College, after which she spent four years in Paraguay supporting communities in beekeeping and health and sanitation. She returned to the United States to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing at Johns Hopkins University where she also became certified as a Doula, or birth companion. Most recently Meghan achieved her Doctorate from Johns Hopkins University implementing a violence prevention project in communities impacted.
Michael (Mike) Niconchuk is a neuroscience researcher based at Beyond Conflict in Boston. Mike is the editor of The Field Guide for Barefoot Psychologists, a translational neuroscience and self-care book for young migrants and refugees in the MENA region, and he conducts research on stress, violence, and intergroup dynamics from a neurobiological perspective. Prior to Beyond Conflict, Mike spent 7 years working with post-conflict and displaced communities in Latin America and the Middle East, and has worked extensively with young people at risk of violence and conflict with the law. For three years, Mike worked as Emergency Response Coordinator in Za’atri Refugee Camp in Jordan, leading various projects for violence reduction, youth leadership, and alternative education. Mike has also worked with Syrian refugees in Germany and Canada, conducting research on the links between forced displacement, trauma, social cognition, decision-making, and social behavior.
Myrto Xanthopoulou is a non-profit consultant, with extensive experience in the field in Greece. She offers strategic advice services to non-profit entities, corporate entities and philanthropic foundations in areas of strategy planning, grant management, CSR planning, advocacy, restructuring, fundraising, program planning, evaluation and implementation.
She is also a Board member at Terre des Hommes Hellas, a Board member at Stray.gr, a Mentor at Social Dynamo and an SNF Fellow at the Tallberg Foundation.
Myrto holds a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford and an MSc in Management from the London School of Economics.