Date of Graduation

2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

College/School

School of Education

Department/Program

International and Multicultural Education

First Advisor

Susan Katz

Second Advisor

Shabnam Azad

Third Advisor

Stephen Zunes

Abstract

This qualitative study about the experiences of 10 religiously persecuted female refugees from Iran (Baha’i) and Iraq (Chaldean) was conducted in both Northern (Bay Area) and Southern (San Diego County) California. The study focused on three periods in their lives: previous experiences in the refugee’s home country prior to resettlement; adaptation to a third country during the resettlement process, especially in regard to experiences with resettlement agencies; and finally, resettlement as refugees in the United States. An oral history methodology was used to conduct the in-depth interviews with the participants.

Key findings in the research study included identifying various pull and push factors for leaving their home country and resettling in the United States, such as religious persecution in their homelands as a push factor and the availability of education in the United States as a pull factor. In addition, the findings revealed the hardships the refugees were exposed to while waiting in a third country for processing of their resettlement. Lastly, in regard to the refugees’ experience in the United States, findings showed that the refugees’ identity was more closely tied to their religion (Baha’i/Chaldean) rather than to their nationality and also revealed that some women had a stronger level of independence in the United States than in their home countries.

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