Common Ground

Designing a Settlement Experience | Experiential Design | 2021-22

Over 2,000 Afghan refugees immigrated to Oklahoma in 2021. Common Ground is a campaign that works to inform and empower both citizens of Oklahoma and Afghan refugees as they begin to grow together as a community.

ChallengeOver 2,000 Afghan refugees immigrated to Oklahoma in 2021. Refugees are only given assistance by the U.S. government and community organizations for the first 90 days in the country. Americans are mostly in-favor of helping allied Afghan refugees but aren’t informed on meaningful ways to help them.

SolutionA campaign that empowers Afghan refugees with resources they need to thrive in a new community and informs Oklahoma citizens to help the refugees in useful ways. Common Ground connects with local United Way organizations, the State Department of Oklahoma, and local businesses to provide long-term comprehensive aid for refugees who are settling here. This campaign will take a step forward to reduce inequalities and promote empathy among the residents of Oklahoma. 


Campaign Seal

This seal is intended to be used by businesses who provide direct aid to refugees to increase exposure and support for the Common Ground campaign.

The Common Ground campaign will begin as a pilot program in Oklahoma but should easily be implemented by other states going forward.

The logo seal was designed using a tulip, the national flower of Afghanistan, and a rose,  the national flower of the United States to signify growth and collaboration, both coming from a common ground. 

Community Partners

Partnering with local businesses will spread awareness about the needs of Afghan refugees through merchandise touchpoints. This will create an opportunity for citizens to donate directly to Afghan refugees in their community.

These touchpoints could include deals on to-go coffee or ground beans that come in pairs, each with a matching half of the Common Ground seal. This would allow citizens to do good in their community by sharing coffee with a friend or loved one while financially supporting refugees.

Each cup will display a bit of information about Afghan language or culture with a comparison to an American equivalent practice or word.

Good Neighbor Guidebooks

Common Ground guidebooks are designed to educate Citizens of Oklahoma and Afghan refugees about one another. 

Citizens are presented with information about ways they can support Afghan refugees and introductory information about Afghan language and culture. 

Refugees are provided with call numbers for free community resources through United Way, an American cultural guide, and basic English translations. 

Next Steps

Common Ground's next steps would be to expand the outreach of current services. Once the test run of the campaign is completed, I would gather feedback from the Afghan refugee and Oklahoma citizen groups to improve the campaign going forward. I would revise the campaign strategy based on this feedback and begin working toward broadening the campaign to different states.

Common Ground would begin by partnering with the United Way organizations in each of the major U.S. cities who are bringing in Afghan refugees. The Common Ground campaign should eventually work at a national level as well as for refugee groups from different countries.