Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Croft Institute for International Studies

First Advisor

Ashleen Williams

Relational Format



The Syrian Migrant and Refugee Crisis has created 5.6 million refugees who have fled outside of Syria and 6.1 million internally displaced peoples within Syria. Undoubtedly, it is one of the largest humanitarian crises of the modern day. The Catholic Church joins governments and NGOs in responding to the conflict, but modern scholarship has not focused heavily on its role. This paper seeks to investigate how the Catholic Church interacts in the secular field of international relations by looking at its response to the Syrian Migrant and Refugee Crisis. In order to analyze the Church’s response, this paper looks at the statements of the Holy See’s mission to the United Nations as well as statements and actions of local churches that address the conflict on the ground in Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. Joseph Nye’s definition of soft power provided a useful framework to analyze the Church’s actions. The research indicates that the Catholic Church uses soft power methods through its actions at the UN and its local churches to pursue its goals in responding to the crisis.


A thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for completion of the Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies from the Croft Institute for International Studies and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College.



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