About Us

The Religion & Forced Migration Initiative (RFMI) aims to better understand and respond to the role that religion plays in the lives of refugees as they resettle and integrate into the United States. We see this as a gap in our shared public, civic, and scholarly knowledge: that the religious and spiritual life of refugees and refugee communities is critical to understanding their experiences, and that their personal stories are a way for them to share and for everyone to learn about this issue. Most refugees identify as religious and represent the plurality of the world's religions and most resettlement agencies and service providers are faith-based, yet there has been limited research, documentation, and training about the interplay of religion and resettlement as well as understanding the diversity of refugee religion.

Through our conferences, forums, and symposia it is clear that religion matters for refugees’ mental health, civic lives, and for fostering our shared civil society. RFMI is responding to this gap in order to strengthen refugee services and the resettlement structure at large, to assemble a supportive network of stakeholders and to do so by centralizing the voices of refugees in our current moment. We do so as a form of civic engagement, public scholarship, and public religion.

RFMI emerged from an international interdisciplinary conference to respond to a singular human crisis of our time: the largest forced movement of people the world has faced since the Second World War. This project is co-sponsored by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration & Refugee Services and funded by the Henry Luce Foundation.

Project Leaders
Matthew C Weiner

Matthew C. Weiner

Associate Dean of Religious Life

Princeton University

mcweiner@princeton.edu

k headshot 2019.jpeg

Katherine Clifton

Coordinator, Religion & Forced Migration

Princeton University

kkclifto@princeton.edu

Senior Advisors

Melissa Borja

Assistant Professor

Department of American Culture

University of Michigan

Todd Scribner

Assistant Director of Education

Office of Education and Communications

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops/Migration and Refugee Services

Stanley N. Katz

Lecturer with rank of Professor of Public and International Affairs; Director, Center for Arts
and Cultural Policy Studies

Princeton University

Academic Advisory Committee

Eric Gregory

Professor of Religion

Princeton University

Michael Jennings

Class of 1900 Professor of Modern Languages, Professor of German

Princeton University

Judith Weisenfeld

Agate Brown and George L. Collord Professor of Religion. Chair, Department of Religion

Princeton University

Current Students

Shrey Addagatla ‘24
Fizzah Arshad ‘24 
Miriam Beams ‘24
Kenza Benazzouz ‘24
Orie Bolitho ‘25
Matthew Ciccone ‘25
Muskan Effendi ‘24
Lauren Fahlberg ‘24
Calvin Hunt ‘24
Rosmeilyn Jerez ‘23
Maryam Kamel ‘23
Andrew Kim ‘22
Michelle Kim ‘24

Marie Li ‘23
Allie Matthias ‘24
Alice McGuinness ‘24
Uma Menon ‘24
Zev Mishell ‘23
Jackie Namala ‘24
Rose Nguyen ‘23
Baris Onat ‘24
Gigi Pacheco ‘23
Alexis Rankine ‘23
Shakhnoza Salimjonova ‘24
Adam Sanders ‘25

Claire Schmeller ‘23
Eliza Shaffer ‘24
Sakhi Shah ‘24
Noura Shoukfeh ‘25
Isabella Shutt ‘24
Nastya Shybitov ‘24
Sofia Teixeira ‘23
Grady Trexler ‘24
Ava Vilensky ‘23
Kennedy Walls ‘24
Hana Widerman ‘23

Alumni Researchers

Serena Alagappan ‘20
Talia Anisfeld ‘20
Kenji Cataldo ‘20

Emma Coley ‘20
Shanaz Deen ‘21
Ananya Malhotra ‘20

Kate Reed ‘19
Gabriela Rivera ‘20
Simone Wallk ‘21
Soo Young Yun ‘22

Students involved since 2018

Eman Abdalla ‘21
Amy Abdalla ‘21
Regina Lankenau Ahumada ‘21
Jack Aiello  ‘21
Serena Alagappan ‘20
Daniela Alvarez ‘21
Amna Amin ‘21
Talia Anisfeld ‘20
Andie Ayala ‘19
Akhila Bandlora ‘24
Alix Barry ‘22
Miriam Beams ‘24
Sarah Brown ‘23
Katie Bushman ‘22
Courtney Cappelli ‘22
Nicabec Casido ‘23
Lilly Chadwick ‘19
Chesley Chan ‘21
Lillian Chen ‘21
Laura Christians ‘26
Grace Chung ‘23
Margaret Commander ‘23
Rene Cruz ‘23
Shanaz Deen ‘21
Pablo Dominguez ‘19
Jampel Dorjee ‘24
Ashley Fan ‘24
Shamma Fox Pepper 
Meredith Gallagher ‘24
Brandon Gauthier ‘24
Mikaela Gerwin ‘19
Carlos Giron ‘21
Abigail Glickman ‘24
Sydney Goldman ‘21
Miguel Gracia-Zhang ‘23
Isaac Gradl ‘23
Kristal Grant ‘24
Sidney Gregorek ‘22
Jeffers Guthrie ‘20
Amital Haas ‘21
Rebecca Han ‘22
Maia Harrison ‘24

Isaac Hart ‘22
Asad Hassan ‘22
Malka Himelhoch ‘21
Lena Hoplamazian ‘20
Irene Hsu ‘20
Elliott Hyon ‘24
Maryam Ibrahim ‘23
Esha Jain ‘23
Amy Jeon ‘21
Rosmeilyn Jerez ‘23
Hanying Jiang ‘22
Caren Ju ‘22
Saareen Junaid ‘23
Ariadni Kertsikof ‘22
Josephine Kim ‘23
Sabrina Kim ‘24
Wiley Kohler ‘25
Meryem Konjhodzic ‘23
Katya Kopach ‘22
Zoe Korelitz ‘24
Yonit Krebs ‘24
Nisha Lakhiani ‘21
Grace Lanouette ‘22
Chris Leahy ‘22
Mina Lee ‘22
Katherine Leggat-Barr ‘21
Sophie Li ‘23
Imane Mabrouk ‘21
Kate Macakanja ‘23
Aya Mansour
Owen Matthews ‘22
Kayla Memis ‘23
Michelle Min ‘20
Zev Mishell ‘23
Shira Moolten ‘21
Cary Moore ‘24
Ashley Morales ‘22
Micah Newberger ‘23
Katrina Nix ‘24
Gigi Pacheco ‘23
Rachel Pang Qing ‘23
Gail Parambi ‘24
Alison Parish ‘24

Soyeong Park ‘20
Jinn Park ‘21
Rhea Park ‘22
Jorge Pereira ‘21
Grecia Hernandez Perez ‘24
Hope Perry ‘24
Marko Petrovic ‘24
Oscar Platt ‘24
Katherine Powell ‘20
Samuel Prentice ‘20
Amber Rahman ‘24
Nadia Ralston ‘22
Bailey Ransom ‘22
Kate Reed ‘19
Hannah Reynolds ‘22
Gabriela Rivera ‘20
Nathalie Rodilosso ‘22
Fernanda Romo ‘22
Munisa Said ‘22
Danielle Samake ‘24
Sameed Sayeed ‘23
Ryan Schwieger ‘21
Dylan Shapiro ‘23
Josie Smart
Kathleen Song ‘23
Audrey Spensley ‘20
Jordan Stallworth ‘21
Natalie Swope ‘24
Liliana Taub ‘24
Safiya Topiwala ‘24
Daisy Torres ‘22
Arpita Tripathi ‘25
Leila Ullmann ‘21
Ava Vilensky ‘23
David Villarreal ‘23
Myla Wailoo ‘24
Mikal Walcott ‘19
Simone Wallk ‘21
Nomi Willis ‘24
Isaac Wills ‘23
Soseniyos Yimer ‘24
Lydia You ‘23
Soo Yun Young ‘22

Organizations involved since 2018:

AFSC Immigrant Rights Program
Bahai International Community

Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs at Georgetown University
Boston Children’s Hospital
Buddha’s Light International Association
Buddhist Global Relief
Canadian Lutheran World Relief
Catholic Charities: Arlington, Atlanta, Boston, Buffalo, Camden, Chicago, Cleveland, Dayton, Fort Worth, Harrisburg, Houston-Galveston, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Lansing, Louisville, New York, Newark, Phoenix Portland, Salt Lake City, San Diego, Yonkers
Center for Environmental and Social Development
Church World Service
Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs
Columbia University’s Teacher's College
Community Refugee and Immigration Services, Columbus, OH
Cornerstone Counseling
Cristosal
CUNY’s Center for Health and Wellbeing
Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association
Episcopal Migration Ministries
Ethiopian Community Development Council
First Friends
First United Methodist Church of Hightstown
Fo Guang Shan/International Buddhist Progress Society
Hearts & Homes for Refugees
Hello Neighbor
HIAS
Historic Christ Church’s Refugee Ministry, Alexandria, VA

Human Rights First/Veterans for American Ideals ICNA Relief
ICNA Relief
Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services
Interfaith Center of New York Interfaith-RISE
Interfaith-RISE
International Rescue Committee
Islamic Relief
Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center
Jewish Theological Seminary
Kentucky Refugee Ministries
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area (LSS/NCA)
Mennonite Central Committee, National Migration & Resettlement
Midtown Utica Community Center
Migration Policy Institute
Nassau Presbyterian Church
New American Pathways
New Jersey Office for Refugees
New Sanctuary Coalition/Movement
Northern NJ Sanctuary Coalition
One World One Love
Peace Institute NY, refugee from Turkey Phoenix Refugee Connections
Penn State University
Phoenix Refugee Connections
Princeton Alliance Church

Princeton's AlumniCorps

Princeton's TeacherPrep
RDJ Refugee Shelter
Refugee Congress
Refugee Connect
Refugee Council USA
Refugee Services of Texas
Religions for Peace
Rutgers Presbyterian Church
Rutgers University, Social Work
Seton Hall Law Immigrants’ Rights / International Human Rights Clinic
SMILE for Charity
Soka Gakkai International Tzu Chi Foundation
The Jewish Center in Princeton
Tzu Chi Foundation
UNFPA
UN Women
UNDP
UNHCR
UNICEF
University of Oxford’s Refugee Studies Center
USCCB Migration and Refugee Services, DC
US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
US State Department: Religion & Global Affairs
Vietnamese Buddhist Temple
Welcoming America
Wind of the Spirit
World Relief