About Us

Forced Migration Upward Mobility Project

The goal of the Forced Migration Upward Mobility Project is to rethink refugees in resettlement as active agents in their own livelihoods. FMUMP works with practitioners, the private sector, and refugees to develop sound programs based on research outcomes that contribute to alternative and sustainable livelihood practices in resettlement. In looking at longitudinal refugee employment outcomes, we hope to capture the enabling environments that facilitate upward mobility in newcomer populations.

Though there is a significant base of research on U.S. immigrant economic adaptation, how refugees fair over long periods of time and the strategies they use to career-ladder is significantly under-examined. Filling this gap, the primary research goals of FMUMP's interdisciplinary team are 1) to understand how refugees in the U.S. use their own skills, talents, and entrepreneurship to create better livelihoods; 2) to understand the role of the host community's private sector as well as refugee networks in the process of upward mobility; 3) to identify the enabling environments (equally on the side of refugees, service providers, and employers) that support livelihood innovation and advancement; and 4) to understand to what extent the current resettlement system and host refugee discourse either supports or detracts from those enabling processes.

While committed to scholarship at an academic level, FMUMP's goals and projects do not exist merely for the purpose of research. They are a considered response to ongoing, relevant needs initiated from current community agendas. This gives us an unusually rich opportunity to apply our findings in ways that make a real difference in the populations we serve. Through working partnerships with refugee groups, NGOs, workforce development, policy makers, and employers, FMUMP is helping develop and monitor new programs that help newcomers move into living wages and career-ladder earlier in the resettlement process.

The Forced Migration Upward Mobility Project is an expanded program that grew out of a two year pilot project (FMIP) conducted by our founding Director at Southern Methodist University, and is located in the heart of the Dallas/Ft. Worth area of Texas-- one of the largest growing resettlement sites in America.

FMUMP is seeking to raise annual and endowment funding in support of our programs.

For more information about FMUMP or giving opportunities, please contact us:
817-487-3554 fnibbs@fmump.org

Meet Our Team

Dr. Faith Nibbs
Dr. Faith Nibbs is a cultural anthropologist and was the founding Director of the Forced Migration Innovation pilot project at Southern Methodist University from where this current program was conceived.

Dr. Nibbs received her Ph.D. from SMU, and has over 15 years’ experience researching and publishing on refugee resettlement and social cohesion in the US and Europe. Besides an active university teaching schedule, she has sat on the board of refugee resettlement organizations, consulted on UNHCR livelihood initiatives, White House Migration round tables, and spoken in the US, Europe, and China on issues of integration to broad audiences of academic and non-academics interested in refugee social inclusion.

Author of “Belonging: The Social Dynamics of Fitting in as Experienced by Hmong Refugees in Germany and Texas” (2014)
Co-editor of “Identity and the Second Generation: How Children of Immigrants Find Their Space” (2015)

Dr. Josi Caldwel-Ryan
Dr. Joci is a cultural anthropologist who teaches at both UTA and SMU and whose interests include, among other things, human rights, gender and sexuality, and public health and African migrants. She has served on the board of refugee service provider organizations in the Fort Worth area for years bringing insider expertise.

Dr. Dianna Shandy
Dr. Dianna Shandy is Professor of Anthropology at Macalester College, where she has been teaching since 1999. She is Visiting Consortium Professor in the Macalester-Pomona-Swarthmore Program at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. As a socio-cultural anthropologist, her work spans U.S. and international settings, with broad research and teaching interests in gender, migration, political conflict and violence, and research methods. Specific research projects have explored college-educated women negotiating work and family in the United States, African asylum seekers in Ireland, and the Nuer (southern Sudanese) diaspora in Ethiopia, Egypt, and the United States.

Dr. Anita Fábos
Dr. Anita Fábos is an anthropologist and Associate Professor at Clark University who has worked with refugees and other forced migrants in urban settings in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. Dr. Fábos comes from the University of East London, where she served as Program Leader for the M.A. program in Refugee Studies, and formerly served as the Director of the Program in Forced Migration and Refugee Studies at the American University in Cairo.

Galya Ruffer, J.D., Ph.D.
Galya Ruffer, J.D., Ph.D., is the Director of International Studies and the founding Director of the Center for Forced Migration Studies housed at the Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies at Northwestern University. Her work centers on refugee rights and protection, livelihood integration, regional understandings of the root causes of conflict and refugee crises, rule of law and the process of international justice. Aside from her academic work, she has worked as an immigration attorney representing political asylum claimants both as a solo-practitioner and as a pro-bono attorney.

Dr. Jessica Darrow
Dr. Jessica Darrow is a visiting scholar at the Center for Forced Migration Studies Northwestern University and has worked in identifying new resettlement communities for newly arrived refugees, the implementation of social policy, refugee resettlement policy, non-profit organizations, refugee and immigrant Integration, international social welfare, human rights in practice, and in livelihood integration research

Craig Forester
Craig Forester, graduated from Boston University and is a financial advisor with years of experience in financial planning, investment advising, and brokering. Craig has worked with refugee youth where he developed his heart to help families resettle with a sustainably sound financial futures.


UNHCR Livelihood Unit

Educational Discoveries

The Select Center for Economic Opportunity

Project Start


Contact information

  • Mailing Address

    Forced Migration Upward Mobility Project
    P.O. Box 153217
    Arlington, TX 76015