Skip to main content Skip to navigation
WSU Undergraduate Education WSU Common Reading

Common Reading Homepage

WSU-wide 2019-20 common reading
Refuge selected as common book for Pullman, Tri-Cities, Everett, Spokane, & Global campuses

13th annual Common Reading for WSU
Check the calendar for lectures and programming.

Recent News

Browse all of our news headlines.

Faculty: Want a Desk Copy to Consider?

If you’re considering Refuge for use in your classes in fall or spring, submit an online form to request a desk copy of the book.

About Our Program

What Is a Common Reading?

A common reading is one way to create community connections among students, and between students and their professors, residence hall staff, and others. Topics in a selected book are examined throughout the year by members of the university community. They spark discussions and intellectual conversations in and beyond classrooms, highlight WSU research and the diversity of ideas across disciplines, and introduce different ways to explore complex issues from a variety of perspectives.

Learn more about the Common Reading program >>

Refuge Introduces Students to Issues, Proposed Solutions

What are ethical, economic, sociological, and political aspects of refugee crises? Which, or how many, nations or public-private partnerships would it take to make a difference? Should refugees have opportunities to get jobs and make contributions to their host country?

Experts say that there are more than 65 million uprooted and displaced persons around the globe. Twenty million of them become refugees when they cross international borders, seeking safety and the chance to build new lives. Fifty-four percent have been in exile for at least five years; thousands are reported to spend decades living in makeshift housing camps.

Oxford University alumni and professors Alexander Betts, 39, a political scientist, and Sir Paul Collier, 70, a development economist, co-authored this year’s common reading book, Refuge. Their goal was to outline a “workable system that can sustainably offer sanctuary to the world’s refugees…while working within the constraints of the contemporary world.” They examine how the crises came to be, what are the current situations, and how might the issues be addressed.

“By presenting controversial proposals and challenging certain core premises of the refugee system, Refuge calls upon its readers to think creatively about how asylum can be re-envisioned as an activity that ensures protection and a path to autonomy for refugees while benefiting host states and incubating the post-conflict recovery of states of origin,” writes Anna Lisa Purkey in the Journal of Refugee Studies. “This objective, however it is achieved, is likely to be at the core of any positive reform of the international refugee system.”

Refuge is the thirteenth Common Reading book in as many years at WSU. The book will be used in dozens of first-year and other courses–including Roots of Contemporary Issues (ROOTS 105) classes throughout fall and spring semesters. Also, rich programming and lectures by dozens of faculty and guest experts will present facts from several fields to lend insight into aspects of the problem.

Be sure the check the calendar on this website to learn about upcoming events and lectures.