News: IMRC Policy Points Issue XIV Published

Read More Here: Welcoming Diversity: The Role of Local and Civil Society Initiatives in Integrating Newcomers

Feyzi Baban, Fuat Keyman, Hande Paker, and Kim Rygiel

News: Gunn Award Call for Papers 2018

2018 Gunn Award for Best Historical Essay on International Migration in Canada

In their effort to preserve the legacy of Canada’s immigration history and to support continued excellence in research in Canada on international migration, the International Migration Research Centre (IMRC) and the Canadian Immigration Historical Society (CIHS) are jointly offering a $1,000 award for a fourth-year undergraduate or graduate-level research paper on the historical evolution of Canadian immigration policy or a historical analysis of Canadian immigration related to specific places, events, or communities.

The Gunn Award for the best historical essay on international migration in Canada is an interdisciplinary award, and will therefore consider papers from any discipline in the social sciences and humanities (e.g. sociology, political science, global studies, history, communication studies, etc.) that address international migration in Canada from a historical perspective. The award is national and will accept applications from graduating fourth-year students and graduate students enrolled in Canadian universities, in either French or English, from across the country. Papers are reviewed by a committee consisting of IMRC and CIHS associates/members. The award will be conferred jointly by the IMRC and the CIHS and will be given out annually in the fall.

Submission Format

  • English or French
  • Between 15-20 pages in length
  • Cover page with name/contact information (name should not appear on subsequent pages) as well as the course, degree program and institution for which the paper was written as well as the current program status of the author
  • 1.5 line spacing, one-inch margins in a standard 12-point font such as Times New Roman
  • Thoroughly proofread
  • Citations in APA or MLA style

Please submit electronically to [email protected] by Friday, September 7, 2018.

By submitting their paper, the author consents to it being made public on the IMRC and CIHS websites, should their work be selected for the award.

Prix Gunn 2018 pour meilleur essai historique sur les migrations internationales au Canada

Dans leur effort de préserver l’héritage de l’histoire de l’immigration au Canada et pour soutenir l’excellence continue de la recherche sur les migrations internationales au Canada, le Centre de recherche sur les migrations internationales (CRMI) et la Société historique de l’immigration canadienne (SHIC) offrent conjointement un prix de 1000$ pour un article de recherche de quatrième année du baccalauréat ou d’un cycle supérieur portant sur l’évolution historique de la politique d’immigration canadienne ou faisant une analyse historique de l’immigration canadienne liée à certains endroits, évènements, ou communautés.

Le prix Gunn pour le meilleur essai historique sur les migrations internationales au Canada est un prix interdisciplinaire, et donc considère les travails de recherches de toutes les disciplines des sciences sociales et humaines (p. ex. sociologie, science politique, études mondiales, histoire, communication, etc.) qui abordent le sujet des migrations internationales au Canada avec une perspective historique. Le prix est national et acceptera les demandes d’étudiants de quatrième année universitaire ou d’un cycle supérieur inscrits dans une université canadienne, en français ou en anglais, provenant de partout au pays. Les dissertations sont évaluées par un comité formé des membres et associés du CRMI et de la SHIC. Le prix sera décerné conjointement par le CRMI et la SHIC et sera remis annuellement à l’automne.

Format de soumission

  • Anglais ou français
  • Entre 15 et 20 pages de longueur
  • Page de couverture avec nom et coordonnées (le nom ne doit pas apparaître sur les pages suivantes) ainsi que le cours, le programme d’études, l’institution pour laquelle le document a été rédigé et le statut de programme d’études actuel de l’auteur(e)
  • Interligne de 1,5, marges de 2,5 cm (1 po), avec une police standard (tel que Times New Roman) de taille 12
  • Soigneusement corrigé
  • Citations doivent suivre les styles APA ou MLA

Veuillez soumettre les demandes par courriel à [email protected] jusqu’au vendredi 7 septembre 2018 au plus tard.

En soumettant son document, l’auteur(e) accepte que celui-ci soit rendu publique sur les sites web du CRMI et de la SHIC si leur travail est sélectionné pour le prix.

Event: Canada as Safe Haven? The Migration of War Resisters from the United States

May 4th 7:00-9:00 pm May 5th 9:00-3:30 pm
Canada as Safe Haven? The Migration of War Resisters from the United States 
May 4th Evening Key Notes Speaker & Panel 
Followed by 1-Day Conference (registration link below)
Co-hosted by the Balsillie School of International Affairs and the International Migration Research Centre.On Friday, May 4th at 7:00pm, Dr. John Hagan, Professor of Sociology and Law at Northwestern University, Vietnam war resister, and renowned author of Northern Passage: American Vietnam War Resisters in Canada, will deliver a lecture titled “How American’s Have Remembered to Forget: Canada, Collective Memory and America’s Forever Wars.” The lecture will be followed a screening of a documentary film-in-progress: “Canada as safe haven?” and a live panel discussion with filmmaker Lisa Molomot, war resisters featured in the film, activists, and Dr. Hagan.

Register for the evening event here.

May 5th Conference

During the Vietnam War, Canadian government and society welcomed between 50,000 and 100,000 US war resisters, providing safe haven from militarism and a mandatory draft (Hagan 2001). A more recent cohort of some 300 resisters began entering Canada in 2004 to make refugee claims after service and tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. These are two historical periods in the shared, cross-border history between the two countries. While some were able to stay, most had refugee claims for protection rejected; some were deported and served time in military prison (War Resister Support Campaign 2014). Even if they did not find legal status in Canada, members of both cohorts found and forged spaces of safe haven in Canada. For some, these were paths to citizenship; for others they were temporary safe havens in urban and rural communities.

This one-day workshop will facilitate a dialogue amongst US war resisters and activists from both time periods, researchers, and community members. These conversations will enable us to learn from and appreciate specific histories of precarity, migration, and im/mobilities of war resisters, and to map, remember, and celebrate the impact of social support and resistance movements in Canada. These exchanges will also illustrate the broader cross-border socio-legal, cultural and geopolitical contexts in and between the US and Canada during these times. From these rich discussions, we can reflect on present day geopolitical relations between Canada and the United States and globally, and think through how lessons of social movements and resistance can potentially be, and are being, operationalised today.

The day will be organized as follows:
Session 1: War resisters share histories
Session 2: Activists share histories
Session 3: Researchers share findings and strategies to document war resister histories.

Come be part of these important conversations at the Basillie School of International Affairs, with a reception to follow.

Click here to register for the Saturday workshop

Event: Narratives of Central American Migrants Living in Mexican Limbo – March 26th 12:00-1:30

Narratives of Central American Migrants Living in Mexican Limbo: Student-Led Research in Mexico

Large-scale Central American migration to the United States is not new or unique. The Northern Triangle region of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras continues to suffer from poor political and socioeconomic conditions, including some of the world’s highest homicide rates and widespread gang violence, which drive ongoing migration toward the north. Men, women and children enter Mexico through its southern border with Guatemala and attempt to make the dangerous journey north to the United States. What is new about this phenomenon, however, is that Mexico is no longer a transit country for Central American migrants, but rather a receiving country where these people must exist in a state of precarious limbo. Deterred from crossing the northern border by the anti-immigration legislation of the current presidential administration in the United States and unwilling or unable to return to where they came from, many migrants are now staying in Mexico. This presentation will focus on the estimated thousands of Central American migrants who stay in Mexico and do not reach the coveted “north”. Informed by an anti-oppressive theoretical framework and the first-person narratives of migrants residing temporarily in shelters in central Mexico, the presentation will explore how Central American migrants from the Northern Triangle negotiate through the new environment in Mexico, including economic survival, violations of basic human rights, and the bureaucratic hurdles of making asylum claims. The presentation will be based on qualitative interview data collected by Laurier undergraduate students who participated in my HR361 Migration and Human Rights Field Course in 2017.

About the Speaker:

Stacey Wilson-Forsberg is an Associate Professor in the Human Rights & Human Diversity program at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford campus. Stacey’s research broadly focuses on Immigration and multiculturalism. She is especially interested in the experiences of immigrant youth in schools and smaller communities, migrants with precarious immigration status in Canada, the United States, and Mexico, and the development of intercultural competence in university students. Her ongoing research includes a SSHRC-funded study of the challenges and opportunities faced by male African immigrant youth when attempting to access the support they need to make informed decisions about post-secondary education in Ontario, and qualitative student-led interviews with Central American migrants transiting through Mexico. Recent publications include a textbook published by Oxford University Press edited with Laurier colleague Andrew M. Robinson called Immigrant Youth in Canada: Theoretical Approaches, Practical Issues, and Professional Perspectives. Along with human rights courses, Stacey teaches HR365 Immigrant Youth in Canada, HR261 Multiculturalism, and HR328 the United Nations in the 21st Century. Prior to joining Laurier University, Stacey worked for several years in the government and non-governmental sectors in a number of areas, including: Canada’s foreign policy toward Latin America and the Caribbean, North American integration, the inclusion of non-governmental actors in multilateral organizations and summits, social policy and poverty eradication, and more recently, foreign qualification recognition.

Free Event. Light lunch offered. RSVP by Sunday March 25th.

News: MOAS Podcast: Rohingya Migrants Prepare for Extreme Weather

How do you protect over one million Rohingya refugees during the monsoon season? It’s difficult. In a few short weeks, the cyclone and monsoon seasons will hit Bangladesh bringing with them wind speeds of up to 100 kilometres and almost two metres in rainfall in some places. That’s why we’re exploring what’s going on the ground, why this year could be deadly and how the aid agencies are preparing for a multitude of emergencies. Joining us to discuss this are Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, Dave Petley and WASH Officer for UNHCR, Emmett Kearney.

Dave Petley @davepetley
Emmett Kearney @emmettjk


Emergency Cyclone and Monsoon Appeal:

Emergency Cyclone and Monsoon Appeal 2018

Event: From Identity to Precarity: Asylum, State Violence, and Alternative Horizons for Queer Citizenship

A Talk with David K. Seitz

January 8th 12:30-2:00pm

BSIA Multipurpose Room 142

This talk puts queer theory’s “subjectless critique” of identity to work in challenging the state’s biopolitical use of essential, authentic identities in asylum law and practice. It both builds on and departs from existing scholarship that calls on state actors to recognize a wider range of forms of gender and sexual diversity that make people vulnerable to persecution. By contrast, I investigate how the practices of “destination” countries produce asylums-seekers as dispossessed, deportable, precarious queers — regardless of sexual identity or practice. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork with asylum-seekers and their supporters in Toronto, I highlight the waiting room as one type of material and metaphorical space that produces asylum-seekers as liminal queer subjects. I argue that approaching queerness as precarity, rather than lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender identity or even sexual and gender diversity, provides alternative and expansive ethical horizons for queer and migration politics.


David K. Seitz is a cultural geographer broadly interested in questions of desire, difference, and citizenship. He is assistant professor of cultural geography at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California, and contributes to the Intercollegiate Feminist Center and the American Studies program at the Claremont Colleges. His first book A House of Prayer for All People: Contesting Citizenship in a Queer Church was released in November by the University of Minnesota Press. An urban ethnography that centrally engages geographies of citizenship, queer of color critique, and psychoanalytic theory, the book examines the politics of urban, national and transnational solidarity at a large, predominantly LGBTQ church in Toronto.

“Illustration by Annie Mok, courtesy of Mask magazine.”

Free Event.    A light lunch will be offered.

Please RSVP to Eventbrite: Identity

Note: We will hold your registration until 12:20 PM. After 12:20 PM your spot will be released to the wait list. A reminder that free parking is available on the streets surrounding the CIGI Campus, in the museum lot across Erb St. and in the Uptown Waterloo Plaza parking lots. Please enter the School through the Erb Street doors.

For more information, please contact the organizer via email [email protected]. To receive email updates about future International Migration Research Centre Events please join our listserv by emailing us or visit our News and Events page at

Event: The Rohingyas: A Case of the ‘Sub-human’ in Myanmar and Bangladesh

Join IMRC for an informative talk about the state of life in the Rohingya diaspora.

December 5, 2017 3:00-5:00 PM
Balsillie School of International Affairs, 67 Erb St. W, Waterloo
Multipurpose Room 1-42

The Rohingyas, an ethno-linguistic and religious minority of Myanmar and known as the most persecuted people in the world, have recently experienced a horrible ‘genocide’ perpetrated by Myanmar security forces and vigilantes. The United Nations Human Rights Council has called this a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”. Under the pretext of an attack by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on August 25, 2017, Myanmar security forces killed thousands of civilian Rohingyas, burnt their houses down, and raped hundreds of girls and women. These attacks triggered an exodus of more than 600,000 Rohingyas to Bangladesh, and added to the existing 500,000 refugees in the area. Already resource-poor and overcrowded, the Southeastern part of Bangladesh is now hosting more than one million Rohingyas. The Rohingyas are now suffering from inadequate food, shelter, sanitation, and health care, as well as the minimum standard of living. Many international rights bodies and media outlets have called this ‘the biggest humanitarian catastrophe’ in the near past.

Local people are gradually becoming ‘unwelcoming’ since more than one million additional people have begun to share local resources, livelihood sources, scopes of occupation, and social utilities. Therefore, the Rohingyas are ‘struggling for existence’ and thinking of where to go, what to do, and how to survive. If we consider the intensity of brutality and the degree of atrocity committed by the state forces, the Rohingyas in Myanmar have been treated as though they are not human beings. In Bangladesh, the Rohingyas are now left in the state of an obscured past, critical present and an uncertain future. Why the Rohingyas are going through such a grave experience is the result of not belonging to any state – Myanmar stripped them of their citizenship four decades ago and Bangladesh does not even recognize them as refugees. The Rohingyas, therefore, do not exist in the world in a legal framework.

This talk argues that the empirically grounded evidence on the current state of Rohingyas in the borderland of Bangladesh and Myanmar shows a life that is less than human, what Uddin refers to as being treated as “sub-human”.

About the speaker

Nasir UddinNasir Uddin is a cultural anthropologist based in Bangladesh and a professor of anthropology at the University of Chittagong. His research interests include statelessness and refugee studies; human rights and non-citizens; indigeneity and identity politics; the state in everyday life; the politics of marginality and vulnerability; and borderlands and border people, particularly those of Bangladesh and Myanmar, the Chittagong Hill Tracts, and South Asia. His publications include To Host or To Hurt: Counter-narratives on the Rohingya (Refugees) in Bangladesh (2012); Life in Peace and Conflict: Indigeneity and State in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (2017) and Indigeneity on the Move: Varying Manifestation of a Contested Concept (2017). Currently he is working on a monograph, the Rohingyas: A Tale of Sub-Human (2018).

Please RSVP on Eventbrite:

Note: We will hold your registration until 2:55 PM. After 2:55 PM your spot will be released to the wait list. A reminder that free parking is available on the streets surrounding the CIGI Campus, in the museum lot across Erb St. and in the Uptown Waterloo Plaza parking lots. Please enter the School through the Erb Street doors.

For more information, please contact the organizer via email [email protected]. To receive email updates about future International Migration Research Centre Events please join our listserv by emailing us or visit our News and Events page at

Support IMRC’s Annual Dr. Kerry Preibisch Lecture Series

On November 16, 2017 IMRC hosted the 2nd Annual Kerry Preibisch Lecture Series – Film Screening of Migrant Dreams: A Film by Min Sook Lee and Lecture with Min Sook Lee and Q&A

Dr. Kerry Preibisch was a prolific scholar in the area of social justice and migration, who died of cancer in January, 2016, at the height of her career. The intention of this annual memorial lecture/event will be to add to the myriad ways that scholars and students can keep her research and vision of promoting migrants’ human rights alive into the future. Invited speakers must bring a global social justice perspective to their lecture pertaining to migration, and are encouraged to engage directly with Kerry’s work.

Please show your support by donating to the Kerry Preibisch Scholarship Fund

Welcome and Introduction
Lecture with Min Sook Lee
Film Screening – Migrant Dreams

A powerful feature documentary by multiple award-winning director Min Sook Lee (El Contrato, Hogtown, Tiger Spirit) and Emmy award-winning producer Lisa Valencia-Svensson (Herman’s House), tells the undertold story of migrant agricultural workers struggling against Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) that treats foreign workers as modern-day indentured labourers. Under the rules of Canada’s migrant labour program, low wage migrants are tied to one employer. …

Migrant Dreams exposes the underbelly of the Canadian government labour program that has built a system designed to empower brokers and growers to exploit, dehumanize and deceive migrant workers who have virtually no access to support or information in their own language. Workers willing to pay exorbitant fees to work at minimum wage jobs packing the fruits and vegetables we eat in our homes. Migrant workers who deserve basic labour and human rights. Canada it seems, has failed them.

Read more here:
Press Kit:

Q&A Period

IMRC Receives 2017 President’s Achievement Award!

Event: October 26, 2017 Rights, Essential Needs and the Politics of Protracted Refuge: A critique of refugee self-reliance in light of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework

Speaker: Dr. Anna Purkey

In 2016 the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants called upon states to conclude a new Global Compact on Refugees, and set out the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework. This Framework identified four core objectives for refugee assistance strategies including “enhancing refugee self-reliance.” Far from new, the concept of refugee self-reliance is often touted as being a key component of a sustainable refugee response strategy that ensures the well-being of refugees while addressing the concerns of both host and donor states. However, the current discourse surrounding refugee self-reliance focuses on a very narrow and predominantly economic understanding of well-being and appears to be largely detached from the legal context: that is, from human and refugee rights, and particularly from the state obligations contained in the 1951 Refugee Convention. While offering opportunities in certain situations, faced with competing pressures including the West’s desire for refugee containment, the overburdening of host states, and the lack of political will with regard to local integration, self-reliance strategies have often foundered. In response to renewed calls for refugee self-reliance, and drawing on lessons learned from previous initiatives, this project will review current understandings of self-reliance as proclaimed in international political forums and offer a critical analysis of recent discourse in light of existing state obligations under international law. In particular, this project will seek to examine how conservative understandings of self-reliance instrumentalize refugees and constitute a limiting framework. In response to these challenges, a rights-based understanding of self-reliance that draws on the capabilities approach and that specifically seeks to address the marginalization and exclusion that refugees face in states of asylum will be proposed. It is posited that adopting a holistic conception of self-reliance that is grounded in the rights and legal obligations set out in the 1951 Refugee Convention and in international human rights treaties will provide the foundation for moving beyond an essentially needs-based regime and offer opportunities for breaking down the barriers that have prevented refugee integration and that have trapped thousands of refugees in protracted situations of insecurity on the margins of society.

About the speaker:

Anna Purkey occupies the position of Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Legal Studies at St. Jerome’s University in the University of Waterloo. Anna was the 2015-2016 Gordon F. Henderson Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Human Rights Research and Education Centre at the University of Ottawa and completed her Doctorate of Civil Law at McGill University in 2015. She holds a B.C.L./LL.B. from McGill University as well as a Masters in Law from University of Toronto and is a member of the Quebec Bar Association. Previously, she taught in the Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University and held the position of legal counsel at the Department of Justice Canada. She is a member of the board of directors of Action Réfugiés Montréal, and has been involved with various civil society organizations including the Canadian Council for Refugees and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers. Anna was also awarded the 2016 Lisa Gilad Prize by the International Association for the Study of Forced Migration and was recently named to the Editorial Advisory Board of RefLaw an initiative of the Faculty of Law at the University of Michigan. A light lunch will be served. Please register via email to [email protected].