Article Title

Challenges in Laotian Refugees Search for Freedom


The small, landlocked country of Laos has followed a challenging path towards freedom. The conflict of the Vietnam War led to massive exodus of Laotian refugees. The paper will explore Amartya Sen’s concept of freedoms and Martha Nussbaum’s central human capabilities as applied to Laotian refugees in Canada. A discussion of Laotians’ understanding of freedom, challenges of resettlement, and effective processes in adjustment to western culture will be presented. This dialogue is critical in developing policies and programs to address conflicts faced by refugees as they strive to increase their quality of life.

Author Bio(s)

Stephanie Stobbe is an active trainer and ADR practitioner with B.A.s in Psychology and Conflict Resolution Studies, and a M.A. in Conflict Resolution from The McGregor School of Antioch University in Ohio. She has developed and taught various Conflict Resolution Studies Curricula to students at the elementary, junior high and high school levels in Manitoba. As an associate of the Centre for Conflict Resolution International, Ltd., Stephanie has developed Alternative Dispute Resolution training materials for the organization and facilitated in its seminars, workshops and interventions dealing with organizational conflict management. She has also worked as a researcher with The Action Evaluation Research Initiative. Her research interests include interpersonal disputes, refugees and cross-cultural issues, and Laotian traditional conflict resolution methods. Stephanie is currently a full-time faculty member in the department of Conflict Resolution Studies at Menno Simons College at the University of Winnipeg. She can be contacted at s.stobbe@uwinnipeg.ca.


Amartya Sen, Canada, freedoms, human capabilities, Laotian refugees, Martha Nussbaum, quality of life, resettlement, Vietnam War, western culture

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