“Super Volunteerism”: A Grass-Roots Solution to Global Prejudice

An Anecdotal Foreword: The Case for Solution-Based Research and Inductive Reasoning

By Christina Pao (Yale University ’20)


In summer 2017, I had the opportunity to volunteer for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) as a youth summer school instructor for newly-arrived refugees. I also had an unexpected opportunity to spend extended time near my grandmother in Seattle, Washington for the first time in over ten years, providing me with an interesting perspective on attitudes toward refugees. Since I expected my grandmother, herself an immigrant two generations back, to have empathy for the refugees I worked with, I was surprised to discover that perceived differences between herself and refugees were a barrier. While she and my grandfather came for work and education, refugees come displaced by war and conflict, among other reasons. Though literature shows that refugees provide a net gain on the economy,[1] refugees do not migrate for the purpose of contributing the economy – the primary reason for which she and my grandfather migrated. This difference in situation initially prevented my grandmother from fully empathizing with the plight of the refugee.


Throughout the summer, I spoke to her candidly about my experiences with the kids in the classroom. She asked me questions about their lives and families and, later, about their interests and progress. When I ran into issues of unruly behavior or needed ideas for crafts, she gave advice, using her experiences, including those which she acquired as a homemaker (the occupation of which she was most proud) and those acquired from the many jobs she juggled upon arrival to the states. When I later invited her to come to the IRC youth summer school graduation, she attended the event and met many of the kids she had heard so much about throughout the summer. She sat at the long cafeteria tables, playing rock-paper-scissors with the kids and clapping along to their rendition of “Wheels on the Bus.” What started as emotional distance from refugee issues became personal investment in and physical proximity with refugees.


When I arrived back at Yale for the fall semester, I was first exposed to Contact Theory – the idea that direct contact between an in-group and out-group member (in this case, an American national and a refugee, respectively) would be the best way to change somebody’s mind. Having come out of the summer with my grandmother, I could see how this theory was developed, but I knew the theory was incomplete. While it could seem that the graduation was my grandmother’s watershed moment (the point when she had contact with the refugee students), I knew that it was the weeks leading up to the graduation that had warmed her to the prospect of positive experiential learning. With increased empathy and heightened understanding from our prior conversations, my grandmother could have an overall attitudinal shift when meeting the students.


With this in mind, my research group (Yuki Hayasaka, Michael Kearney, Adam Michalowski, and I) saw a hole in the literature. Where was the theory surrounding in-group to in-group attitudinal shift? Theory shows that direct contact between an in-group (U.S. nationals, like my grandmother) and out-group (in this case, refugees) is extraordinarily pivotal in the process of attitudinal change. However, our research group now also knew from my own experience that in-group members (nationals of a country) could be effective at reducing the prejudices in other in-group members toward an out-group (in this case, refugees).


By conducting qualitative research, we added to Intergroup Contact Theory literature to show: 1) how in-group members could help take the burden of attitudinal change off refugees (it should not be the job of refugees to justify their existence to people, especially when these negative attitudes could be strengthened by contact)[2] and 2) how to break cycles of prejudice in places where there are very few refugees (i.e., very few opportunities for positive direct contact). In our study, we identified and labeled two ways that in-group members reduced prejudices in others. First, in-group members could directly impact attitudes by empathy-building through storytelling.[3] Second, in-group members could change the behaviors of others to make them become more educated on refugee matters.[4] The first method we name the “proxy method” – a method based in elevating the narratives of refugees – and the second, “facilitation” – a method based in increasing contact of others with refugee matters.


We hoped to better understand real-world solutions (positive attitudinal change) for a real-world problem (increasing prejudice toward refugees and migrants) based on our observations of a real-world scenario (my grandmother over summer 2017). Following the example of Social Science Works, which uses empirical research to find practical solutions to pressing societal problems, we designed this project to learn more about the grass-roots influencers who motivate change in others.


“Super Volunteerism”: A Grass-Roots Solution to Global Prejudice


By Yuki Hayasaka (Yale University ‘20), Michael Kearney (Yale University ‘20), Adam Michalowski (Yale University ‘19), Christina Pao (Yale University ‘20)


We wanted to study the increasingly relevant question: “How can we motivate a positive attitudinal change toward refugees in a prejudiced national?”. Using Japan and Germany as the countries of interest (for reasons outlined below), our Yale University undergraduate research group began the study “Super Volunteerism and the Refugee Diaspora: A Cross National Study in Social Service Organizations.”


When asking how to positively change attitudes toward a particular group, social scientists predominantly point to Contact Theory, proposed by Gordon Allport in 1954 during his studies in South Africa.[5] Contact Theory states that, under a specific set of conditions (equal status, a shared common goal, intergroup cooperation, and support of authorities/law/customs), positive attitudes can develop between an in-group and out-group member.[6] However, should these specific conditions not be met, the opposite outcome can arise and negative attitudes toward an out-group member can be strengthened when the two parties come into contact, a phenomenon social scientists call threat hypothesis.[7] In summary, two individuals with perceived difference had to both have a positive mindset and environment to create a positive mindset shift; otherwise, there was high likelihood that negative attitudes would strengthen from fear.


We saw two main problems with the practical functionality of Contact Theory. For one, in places like Japan with extraordinarily few refugees (in 2016, Japan only took 28 refugees ranging from a variety of countries – Asian, African and Middle Eastern),[8] Contact Theory would theoretically be unable to function because there is almost no opportunity for direct contact between nationals and refugees. Given Japan’s isolationist foreign policy and nearly homogenous population,[9],[10] the current literature would suggest that xenophobia would continue nearly indefinitely. With no opportunity for contact, Japanese would maintain fear of refugees which would continue constrained immigration policies at a national level, reducing contact and perpetuating the cycle.


The second problem we identified was the difficulty of attaining a “positive interaction.” Contact Theory is dependent on interactions that take place under a set of conditions that is difficult to meet in the real world.[11] Just as Japan demonstrates the lack of opportunities for any potential contact, Germany demonstrates the likelihood that such contact is colored by hostility (Threat Hypothesis). In countries like Germany which have accepted a greater number of refugees,[12] negative media portrayals (specifically, those online) of refugees are more common and the issue tends to be more politically polarizing.[13] Though Germany initially approached refugee integration with positivity, particularly in light of its unique historical context, a counter-press increased in strength in parallel (see Social Science Work’s “Alienation Online: An Analysis of Populist Facebook Pages in Brandenburg” and “Deliberation Against Populism: Reconnecting Radicalizing Citizens in East Germany and Elsewhere”). Because of this, literature surrounding Intergroup Contact Theory would say that interactions between nationals and refugees are more likely to be tainted with fear and bias, which would therefore strengthen negative attitudes.


Our Solution: Super Volunteers

We suspected that an answer to both of these problems (no opportunity for direct contact and difficulty in meeting conditions for a positive interaction) might lie in “Super Volunteers,” individuals so motivated to a particular cause that they convince their friends, family, and community members to join them in support. The term “Super Volunteer” was first coined in the realm of U.S. political campaigns and made it to the media mainstream during the 2016 election.[14],[15] We suspected that individuals like this existed in other spheres as well.


In countries like Japan, where direct contact with refugees is nearly impossible, we predicted there might still be particularly influential Japanese nationals who positively empathy-build in those around them. In places like Germany where select media frames, particularly on the internet, are becoming increasingly hostile to refugees,[16] Super Volunteers could continue to dispel harmful stereotypes of refugees by articulating a more nuanced perspective of the problems faced by refugees or by telling stories from their own volunteer work.


From March to August of 2018, we investigated if and how Super Volunteers can change the attitudes of their friends and family, both in Japan, which has particularly strict immigration policies and a small volunteer culture,[17] and in Germany, which accepted 1.1 million refugees in 2015 and has observed a stark rise in volunteerism since.[18] We expected that Super Volunteers in the realm of refugee service would be few and far between in Japan, if they existed at all; however, if Super Volunteers in the refugee service space existed in Japan, we had strong reason to believe they could exist anywhere. Thus, when we did find Super Volunteers in Japan, we were interested in how they were able to inspire others to care about refugee issues, given the very difficult social frame. Conversely, we knew of the existence of Super Volunteers in Germany, but we wanted to see if the strategies remained consistent, though Japan and Germany had radically different volunteer cultures and social policies; from a comparative standpoint, these countries were so divergent in national outlooks on refugee immigration, volunteerism, and nonprofit culture that any similarities in strategies of attitudinal change would be noteworthy. While, on the one hand, Japan is a country historically strict on immigration, now slowly attempting to move beyond that legacy,[19] Germany has historically taken in waves of migrants (including refugees) en masse and is now facing political backlash.[20] With two very different macro-political contexts, we wanted to observe the similarities and differences in how these grass-roots political actors (Super Volunteers) have operated and continue to operate. The following outlines our methodology and a summary of findings:

Our Method: Data Collection

We conducted over 150 interviews with volunteers and staff at over 40 refugee service organizations. These volunteers were recruited via email and through connections/references from other interviewees; though, in most research, this would introduce high levels of bias, our specific research called for targeting “Super Volunteers” – the individuals that would be the most enthusiastic to speak with us and were the most influential within respective organizations. This recruitment process (of choosing interviewees who were willing to respond to an email promptly and speak about their work) was highly accurate at getting the most invested within the organizations, as confirmed by many staff members of the organizations whom we interviewed. While in Germany, the gender makeup skewed female, retirement age, and upper class, in Japan, the gender makeup was more evenly split, the age gap was more polarized between the old and young, and wealth was representative of that of the average Japanese population.


About 60 interviews took place in Japan and about 90 took place in Germany. Both countries presented environments that limit opportunities for interactions that build empathy between refugees and nationals, a reality that many volunteers in both countries tried to actively counteract. In Japan, there are so few refugees that the typical Japanese is unlikely to ever encounter one. In Germany, which has seen an influx of refugees, interactions can be colored by hostility and suspicion,[21] limiting potential for empathy building; many times, as well, neighborhoods would gentrify, creating distinct divides between the German national population and the migrant populations.


During interviews with volunteers, a member of the research team asked respondents a series of scripted questions designed to assess whether the volunteer had acted as a Super Volunteer or been acted upon by one. Mention of bringing personal contacts to the organization to volunteer indicated a potential Super Volunteer; likewise, being brought to the organization by a friend or family member (as opposed to encountering it by chance or through advertising) indicated association with one. We also asked if volunteers had spoken to others about their work in ways that could begin the process of empathy building, and if so, inquired about the ways they discussed their work and the stories they told. These responses illustrated a nuanced and complex situation of the refugee policies of each country, along with the mechanisms that Super Volunteers used to recruit their friends.


During interviews with paid staff at the refugee service organizations, a member of the research team asked respondents questions to determine the ways that organizations recruited volunteers, attempting to ascertain what strategies are effective at mobilizing people to do volunteer for an organization. We also asked staff members whether they saw certain volunteers as more “influential” than others. If the respondents mentioned such volunteers, we wanted to know the ways in which they were effective; in most cases, these responses reinforced the strategies that we heard directly from Super Volunteers themselves.



After collecting our data, the team transcribed, translated (when necessary), and individually coded each of the interviews by first employing the following broader categories: “1. Dominant Social Frame,” “2. Motivations of Volunteers: Reasons for Leaving and Staying,” “3. Super Volunteers,” and “4. Individual Attitudes: Prejudice and Empathy.” After partitioning these quote blocks with our own annotations, we studied the following questions in each of our categories:

  • Dominant Social Frame: What does the media and government say about refugees? Are people becoming more or less hostile towards refugees? What is the social narrative about refugees in society?

The goal of this analytical category was to better understand the internal and cultural narratives that might be propagated about refugees in a given country. This category provided us background for each of the countries of study.


  • Motivations of Volunteers (Reasons for Joining and Staying): Why do volunteers join an organization (e.g., are they brought by friends? Did they have personal experiences that compelled them to join?)? Why do volunteers remain at the organization? What keeps them motivated?

The goal of this analytical category was to understand internal and external factors that compel volunteers to start doing volunteer work and to continue it.


  • Super Volunteers: Do particularly influential volunteers exist at refugee social service organizations? What do they do to exert their influence upon others? Who is able to identify these Super Volunteers?


This goal of this category was to test for the existence of Super Volunteers and identify them for interviews. Once we were able to determine that certain volunteers were particularly influential, we wanted to see what differentiated them from their peer volunteers or staff supervisors.


  • Individual Attitudes (Prejudice and Empathy): Do the volunteers themselves hold prejudices toward refugees? How do the volunteers express empathy? Do the volunteers attempt to reduce prejudices in others? How do they do it?

The goal of this category was to determine what helped volunteers build empathy towards the outgroup and how they were able to engender such empathy in others. With this category we analyzed all text blocks that described the ways in which Super Volunteers brought about behavioral or attitudinal changes in others.



Our interviews and qualitative data analysis revealed evidence for the existence of Super Volunteers in both Japan and Germany who positively changed the minds of others around them. Through our research, we were able to 1) identify, disaggregate, and label two types of Super Volunteers and 2) find a correlation between the type of Super Volunteer and the type of organization that they work for, using existing Contact Theory to guide our reasoning. We introduce these two types of Super Volunteers, “Facilitators” and “Proxies,” into the fundamental and practical framework.


Table 1: Summary of Findings (The Types of Super Volunteers)






These Super Volunteers bring others to volunteer at their organization or attend informational events without first influencing their attitudes. They alter the behavior of their friends/family as a way of starting attitudinal change.


These Super Volunteers directly affect the attitudes of their friends/family by speaking to them about their work with their organization. They typically use storytelling to engender empathy.
Organization TypeFacilitators typically worked for organizations that did not have direct contact between the Super Volunteer and refugees. These organizations predominantly existed in Japan.

Proxies typically worked for organization that did have direct contact between the Super Volunteer and refugees. These organizations predominantly existed in Germany.


Example Quote

This quote describes the method of a Japanese “Facilitator” Super Volunteer:

[One volunteer at the organization], the most active volunteer, often invites her friends and has them come, but no, we [the other volunteers in the group interview] don’t do such thing.”

This quote describes the storytelling strategy used by one “Proxy” Super Volunteer:

“A few months ago, I was talking to some people who were teachers or who already finished their education to become a teacher in Syria…and how it’s quite difficult to become a teacher here. They can only be assistants, and it’s quite frustrating. […] Even if [they were already] English teachers [in Syria]! Those things I discuss more and more often with other people.”



Super Volunteer Types: The Facilitator

In some cases, Super Volunteers served as “facilitators” of attitudinal change. When acting as “facilitators,” Super Volunteers brought their friends or family members to an organization to volunteer themselves by invoking the social or convenience aspects of volunteering rather than the mission. By changing the behavior of their friends/family, Super Volunteers were able to expose their friends/family to an environment which could eventually change their attitudes.


For example, one Super Volunteer (in the following transcript, labelled “Volunteer 1”) we interviewed in Japan brought several of her friends to volunteer at a refugee service organization. The tasks of these volunteers mostly included administrative paperwork, sorting clothes, or folding newsletters. The Super Volunteer herself made it clear that she had not even cared as much about refugee issues until her own friend who founded the organization exposed her to the issues.


Volunteer 4: I think I’m the newest here. I’m a friend of [Volunteer 1]. She invited me.

Volunteer 5: My name is []. I was also going to a swimming school with [Volunteer 1], and came here because of a connection [( en: a Japanese cultural term, a connection or tie produced by fortune or fate)]. It’s been about 8 years. It’s enjoyable to work here.

Interviewer:[…] How did you become interested in refugees? How did you start this volunteer?

Volunteer 1 [Super Volunteer]: In my case, it was after starting this volunteer that I became interested in refugees. When my friend … established [the organization] with [the founder], around the time of boat-people (*means Indochina refugees, many of whom fled by boat), they asked me to help. So, rather than about refugees, I just wanted to do something for my friend and came here.

Interviewer: I see. Is everyone here like that?

Volunteer 1 [Super Volunteer]: (pointing to Volunteer 2 & Volunteer 5) they are. I invited them. Said  “please help.” When I invite someone, I think about whether he/she lives near here and the transportation fee they would have to pay. We four are all friends.

Interviewer: When you were invited by [Volunteer 1], is there anything that stood out to you?

Volunteer 2: I had been thinking how I can be any help. I can’t trust other organizations (laugh). [Our organization] has long been established, and also I was invited by [Volunteer 1] so I chose here.

Many respondents who were brought on by “facilitator” Super Volunteers said that social ties were the primary reason that they continued to return, but volunteering for the organization also heightened their awareness of refugee issues. One respondent said, “The current situation of refugees in Japan was not my problem, and I was not interested in such things. But like the fact that Japan is accepting almost no refugees, or that Japan is giving visas to the fourth largest population in the world,[22] I was not interested in such news in the past.” Another said, “yes, by attending reporting events at [my organization], I began caring more [about refugee issues]. So now I would read a news article about Rohingya. Reporting events are also motivational. I can learn good parts of [my organization] and these make me want to support it.”


Super Volunteer Types: The Proxy

In other cases, Super Volunteers could serve as “proxies”; when acting as “proxies,” Super Volunteers try to engender empathy directly in their friends/family by speaking of their work and the people they work with. In many cases, this took the form of descriptive and effective personal storytelling. In these cases, Super Volunteers were directly impacting the attitudes of the audience, rather than facilitating a behavior change that leads to a later attitude change.


For example, one German respondent spoke about how he was able to engender empathy in those around him by expressing the difficulties faced by refugees:


Volunteer 28: And it’s also really important in the discussions that you have with the people that are not a part of your own bubble. Talking to friends that are not gay, are not volunteering, [even those] – [who are] pretty much conservatives- and just talking about why refugees cannot work. That’s the big thing … In Germany, you are only valued if you work. So many people say “oh refugees they get so many social benefits and they are not working” and then –

Interviewer: And they are not allowed to work…

Volunteer 28: And they are not allowed to work! And then I experienced it first hand, that many of our refugees they had work allowance, and they were working and they were paying taxes, and the government [] – changed. They made recommendations […] that refugees should not be allowed to work if their prospect of staying is low. Which means that if you are not Syrian, if you are not from a war zone, you are not granted work allowance. So all these work allowances were stripped. So these people were not paying taxes, were back on social benefits, were sitting in camps, were not exposed to German culture, and were totally depressed because their dream was to come here for a better life and to come here for democracy, and to come to state that has a legal foundation, and what happened there is just against how they believed Germany works.

This was the strategy that we witnessed between Christina and her grandmother at the outset of the research. Existing theory explains the utility of empathy-building as a mechanism for attitudinal change; many social scientists have written about the importance of storytelling, particularly in the context of refugees.[23] However, we now bring this mechanism into our study as the intuitive strategy of effective Super Volunteers within in-group to in-group interactions. While existing literature describes why storytelling is effective, we explain who (Super Volunteers) uses this strategy and how (using personal experiences from their service work) in these cases of in-group to in-group attitudinal change.



Organization Type and Super Volunteer Type

Our second major finding was the correlation between the type of Super Volunteer strategy and the type of organization they volunteered for. In organizations where there was not direct contact between refugees and the German/Japanese volunteers (e.g., volunteers did administrative work rather than interacting directly with refugees), the “facilitation” method was more common among those that we classified as Super Volunteers. Many of these Super Volunteers did not even tell their friends what the cause was that they were volunteering for; they merely pitched the volunteering experience as a “fun” or social activity to do together.[24] In organizations where there was direct contact (namely – positive, interpersonal interaction) between refugees and German/Japanese volunteers, Super Volunteers were more likely to serve as “proxies” in interactions of attitudinal change. They were more likely to tell stories about their refugee friends and begin deconstructing many of the fears that their audiences held.[25]


This phenomenon can be better understood with the aid of “Extended Contact Hypothesis,” an idea present in recent academic literature on Contact Theory. Because Super Volunteers were themselves only indirectly “in contact” with refugees by hearing about the work that their staff supervisors did,[26] Super Volunteers’ friends/family were another degree removed from contact with refugees. Obviously, this degree of removal from direct contact makes it even more difficult to engender empathy. By bringing friends/family to the volunteer organization, Super Volunteers were able to expose their friends/family to a closer degree of contact: these new volunteers would be able to hear about empathy-building stories from staff supervisors in the same way that Super Volunteers were able. This did not necessarily guarantee that the new volunteers would have their opinions completely “overturned” (many such volunteers maintained explicit prejudices themselves),[27] but they were nonetheless more exposed to information about refugees than they were before and therefore gained increased potential for empathy-building.


On the flipside, in cases where Super Volunteers themselves were in direct contact with refugees, they were able to authentically tell stories to their friends/families based on personal experiences. This likely increases believability and reduces potential for “hearsay” exchange and stereotype manipulation in the conversation.


We suspect we saw more “facilitator” Super Volunteers in Japan and more “proxy” volunteers in Germany due to differences in the demography and social policies of each country. With so few refugees in Japan, there were more “non-contact” organizations; the relative abundance of direct contact organizations in Germany is, likely due to the higher demand for service and casework for the many refugees already there. Regardless of a country’s refugee influx, our research suggests that Super Volunteers can act as catalyzers of positive attitudinal change in vastly different environments ­– though their strategies might be different.



Super Volunteers are powerful agents for change, and they can exist even in places that do not have an environment conducive to volunteerism. They have existed as long as there have been causes worth fighting for, and they epitomize the importance of grass-roots activism. Because top-down, government-lead approaches cannot always change the attitudes of individual citizens, it is critical to understand how we can engender understanding at a person-to-person level.


Super Volunteerism can be the solution to some of the functional problems facing “direct contact.” It seems intuitive that simply putting a prejudiced person in a room with someone against whom they hold a prejudice would be cause for concern. Fundamental issues like an inability to communicate in a shared language might prevent anything more than superficial contact; if basic communication is possible, cultural differences might trigger fear or hostility; and even the most positive of interactions risk placing an undue burden on an already marginalized outgroup member to deconstruct a prejudice that personally targets them. Super Volunteers are a group that has already decided (consciously or unconsciously) that they have the capabilities, resources, and stability to take on this burden for refugees who may not currently have the same capacity. They are also a group that can better communicate with those of the in-group because they themselves are part of the in-group. They might have more access to individuals that do hold prejudices themselves, and they at least have shared fundamental understanding (in language, culture, potential prior relations, etc…); this combination can make it not only more likely that potential “prejudice-reduction” interactions occur, but also that they are successful.


In many cases, academics are not the ones doing direct service, and in many cases, politicians are guided by theory grounded in academia.[28] With this disconnect between many politicians and grass-roots action, our research team finds it increasingly important to continue our studies of Super Volunteers and the ways that they are able to, and have for so long, engendered understanding and empathy among people of different backgrounds and experiences.


Work Cited

[1]                J. Edward Taylor et al., “Economic Impact of Refugees,” PNAS 113, no. 27 (July 5, 2016):.

[2]                See “Threat Hypothesis”: when members of the majority group perceive the relative size of and increases in the minority population as threatening and in turn take actions to reduce this perceived threat

Xia Wang and Natalie Todak, “Racial Threat Hypothesis,” Oxford Bibliographies Online Datasets, 2016, , doi:10.1093/obo/9780195396607-0204.

[3]                This mechanism describes the situation with Christina’s grandmother.

[4]                E.g., Bringing friends/family to also volunteer for a refugee organization, inviting friends/family to attend other informational events, etc…

[5] Thomas F. Pettigrew, “Intergroup Contact Theory,” Annual Review of Psychology 49, no. 1 (1998): , doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.49.1.65.

[6] B.ann Bettencourt et al., “Cooperation and the Reduction of Intergroup Bias: The Role of Reward Structure and Social Orientation,” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 28, no. 4 (1992):

[7] D. Eitle, S. J. Dalessio, and L. Stolzenberg, “Racial Threat and Social Control: A Test of The Political, Economic, and Threat of Black Crime Hypotheses,” Social Forces 81, no. 2 (2002): , doi:10.1353/sof.2003.0007

[8] United Nations, “UNHCR Statistical Yearbook 2016, 16th Edition,” UNHCR, , accessed March 22, 2018, http://www.unhcr.org/en-us/statistics/country/5a8ee0387/unhcr-statistical-yearbook-2016-16th-edition.html?query=2016 statistical yearbook.

[9] “World Report 2018: Rights Trends in Japan,” Human Rights Watch, January 18, 2018, , accessed March 22, 2018, https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2018/country-chapters/japan

[10] Sara Park, “Inventing Aliens: Immigration Control, ‘xenophobia’ and Racism in Japan,” Race & Class 58, no. 3 (2017): , doi:10.1177/0306396816657719.

[11] Yehuda Amir, “The Contact Hypothesis in Intergroup Relations,” in Psychology and Culture (Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon, Incorporated, 1994).

[12]“Immigrant Population Hits New High in Germany,” Reuters, August 01, 2017, , accessed August 05, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-immigration/immigrant-population-hits-new-high-in-germany-idUSKBN1AH3EP.

[13] Berry, Mike, Inaki Garcia-Blanco, and Kerry Moore. Press Coverage of the Refugee and Migrant Crisis in the EU: A Content Analysis of Five European Countries. PDF. UNHCR, December 2015.

[14] Catherine Taibi, “Hillary Clinton Group Warns Reporters Not To Use These Sexist Words In Their Coverage,” The Huffington Post, March 27, 2015, , accessed July 30, 2018, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/27/hillary-clinton-super-volunteers-sexism-media-coded-language_n_6956384.html

[15] Liz Kreutz, “Meet Hillary Clinton’s ‘Super Volunteers’ Her Campaign Didn’t Even Know About,” ABC News, June 15, 2015, , accessed July 30, 2018, https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/meet-hillary-clintons-super-volunteers-campaign/story?id=31765497

[16] Guy Chazan, “Rise of Refugee ‘fake News’ Rattles German Politics,” Financial Times, February 15, 2017, , accessed August 05, 2018, https://www.ft.com/content/11410abc-ef6e-11e6-ba01-119a44939bb6.

[17] Sarah S. Stroup and Amanda Murdie, “There’s No Place like Home: Explaining International NGO Advocacy,” The Review of International Organizations 7, no. 4 (2012): , doi:10.1007/s11558-012-9145-x.

[18] “Statistical Data on Refugees,” Refugees: Data of the Federal Statistical Office – Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), accessed March 22, 2018, https://www.destatis.de/EN/FactsFigures/_CrossSection/Refugees/Refugees.html.

[19] David Green, “As Its Population Ages, Japan Quietly Turns to Immigration,” Migrationpolicy.org, July 12, 2017, , accessed August 07, 2018, https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/its-population-ages-japan-quietly-turns-immigration.

[20] Veysel Oezcan, “Germany: Immigration in Transition,” Migrationpolicy.org, March 02, 2017, , accessed August 07, 2018, https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/germany-immigration-transition.

[21] The following situation is one that was brought up in over ¼ of the Germany interviews (sexual assaults on women on the night of New Year celebrations). Many cited this incident as a turning point in the increase of suspicion directed at refugees:

“Germany Shocked by Cologne New Year Gang Assaults on Women,” BBC News, January 05, 2016, , accessed August 05, 2018, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35231046.

[22] The fourth largest population in the world is Indonesia according to the U.S. Census Bureau. We think that she was referring to the temporary worker migrants situation in Japan operating as low-wage labor under the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe administration.

“U.S. Census Bureau Current Population,” U.S. Trade with Haiti, , accessed August 05, 2018, https://www.census.gov/popclock/print.php?component=counter.

“Japan Sees Foreign Workers Climb to Record 1.28 Million as Labor Crunch Continues,” The Japan Times, , accessed August 05, 2018, https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/01/27/national/japan-sees-foreign-workers-climb-record-1-28-million-labor-crunch-continues/#.W2b13v4zbOQ.

[23] Claire L. Adida, Adeline Lo, and Melina Platas, “Engendering Empathy, Begetting Backlash: American Attitudes toward Syrian Refugees,” SSRN Electronic Journal, 2017, , doi:10.2139/ssrn.2978183.

[24] One respondent in Japan said she joined “because it’s fun to come here. So it’s about our relationships to some extent. We have to pay transportation fees, so we would not come if it’s not fun.”

[25] One respondent in Germany said: “And I talk about my work and my experiences of course and if they are open to listen, then that’s fine – sometimes you can give some input and it’s important as well. It’s why I’m writing a newspaper, and I try to write about my experience in articles as well, and one day – I mean we made that little information form, but I’d like to make a documentary about my experiences and about other volunteers here and the people.”

[26] One respondent made it clear that staff built empathy with their stories: When people who had been abroad come back, [staff] show us videos… about what they were doing, what kind of events they did, or the current situation. And we discuss. I often say stupid things. For example, in Japan it’s a matter of fact that we can use electricity. We use electric sewing machines. But there, people have to use hand-powered ones, and even then there is a scarcity. Such stories make me think deeply.”

[27] One respondent stated: “I know I should not say this, but accepting more means that there is a possibility that religiously extreme people come. That is scary. I accept those who are in need come to Japan and work, but not an extremist.”

Another: “In my opinion, I agree with you if there really are actual refugees, but I think it is dangerous to relax conditions and recognize those who simply want to live in Japan as refugees. The government should examine at least several times. They should not recognize everyone.”

[28] Sophie Sutcliffe and Julius Court, Evidence-Based Policymaking: What Is It? How Does It Work? What Relevance for Developing Countries? PDF, Overseas Development Institute, November 2005.